Water tower take-down like 'peeling a banana'

For Radio-Canada video journalists Naël Shiab and Yvon Theriault, documenting the deconstruction of one of Sudburys water towers was an exercise in patience and learning not to worry too much.
The water tower located near Ash and Pine Streets was deconstructed during the month of November. (Yvon Theriault/CBC)
CBC/Radio-Canada videographers Yvon Theriault and Naël Shiab. ((Wendy Bird/CBC))

For Radio-Canada video journalists Naël Shiab and Yvon Theriault, documenting the deconstruction of one of Sudbury’s water towers was an exercise in patience and learning not to worry too much.

"Once we started filming, we couldn’t touch the camera," said Theriault of the project, which got underway Nov. 7 and concluded on Nov. 25.

"We were constantly worried about the project. It was a challenge but we couldn’t do anything about it."

The duo set up their equipment on the sixth floor of a building owned by the Catholic Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, located in downtown Sudbury on Ste. Anne’s Road.

They had to find a room in the aging building that had a window clear enough through which to film. Because the windows were older, some were fogged by humidity. The room also couldn’t be exposed to too much vibration.

"We put up black curtains all over the other windows to avoid reflection," Shiab explained.

Once the camera was in place, the pair only came back to check on it sporadically.

Filming was done using two cameras. One — a Sony XDCam3 — was tasked with the time-lapse sequences. This camera captured one image every 30 seconds over the course of three weeks — the time it took for Aurora-based Priestly Demolition to bring the 50-year-old structure down from its perch through rain, wind and, sometimes, snow.

The video made the whole process look organic,—Yvon Theriault, Radio-Canada videographer

"The video made the whole process look organic," Theriault said. "It was like watching a banana being peeled."

It took Shiab about a day and a half to edit down the video in a software program called Avid to its current length of just over two minutes.

The rolling clouds, speed along the skyline as telescoping platforms move workers up and down the structure to weld, cut and hammer through the water tower demolition.

The video was set to a strings-heavy orchestral music piece called Time and Motion, composed by Troy Banarzi and Alexander Balanescu.

Priestly Demolition of Aurora was contracted by the city of Sudbury to demolish the tower for $191,000. City officials said the contractor will also get to sell the metal for scrap. ((Yvon Theriault/CBC))