Filmwerks Powers Grand Canyon Site For Nik Wallenda’s Historic Stunt
For Filmwerks project manager David Fioravanti, it was an event unlike anything he had ever worked in his career.
When aerialist Nik Wallenda dramatically crossed a 2.5-inch cable stretched above the Little Colorado River Gorge near the Grand Canyon, NBC-owned Peacock Productions and Discovery Channel captured it all for television and Fioravanti’s company helped make the whole broadcast possible.
“It was a 10,” he says. “It’s history. Just to be a part of it and in such unique circumstances, it was a 10. In uniqueness, in excitement, in challenge of logistics. It was awesome.”
Filmwerks, a provider of broadcast power and equipment, had five equipment trucks on site spanning an area that stretched as far as eight miles away from the walk site. Electricity was pumped in, climate control set up, and structures were built at the main television compound found back on mainland. Filmwerks also built out studio sets for both NBC and Discovery Channel.
To truly capture the event, Filmwerks aided the broadcasters in establishing shooting points from various areas sounding the wire, including down at the base of the gorge shooting up at the wire.
“You really get a different perspective down there,” says Fioravanti. “Standing on the edge of the cliff and looking down is one perspective but when you’re down below and looking up, you really see the height that he was dealing with.”
Filmwerks also built the towers and supports for the aerial camera and established the infrastructure at Shadow Mountain, a Navajo Nation location five miles away where spectators watched on a large video screen with outdoor audio. Across all of the zones, a total of six Filmwerks full-time staff members were on-site working alongside eight local freelancers.
According to Fioravanti though, all of the worries of the logistical work surrounding the event seemed to come to a halt when Wallenda stepped out to perform his stunt.
“I was right at the landing zone where he was going to complete his walk, standing about 20-30 feet away from the wire,” he recalls. “Once he got onto the wire and began his walk, you could hear a pin drop. It was total silence. We were just absolutely mesmerized by what he was doing.
“The only thing you could hear was people whispering to themselves praying that he makes it across,” he continues. “Everyone on the crew was definitely on pins and needles when he was walking.”