Rigging for TV

Some of the most challenging work SAR engages in is reality tv rigging; one high profile show that recently went to air was no exception. We had the privilege of constructing and running an ‘Indiana Jones’ style swing bridge for The Amazing Race Australia at a location near Blackheath. The bridge needed to span a gap of around forty metres & would be more than forty five metres off the ground. With four seventy metre ropes threaded through some sixty timber slats, with plastic tube spacers to give the bridge its shape, we had our bridge ready to pull across the void. It was then a matter of using mechanical advantage rigs to pull the bridge across the gap, anchor and tension it up.

The contestant safety system consisted of twin overhead 12.5mm HTP ropes pulled to tension & levelled to match the relative heights of either end of the bridge. The contestants were connected to the overhead system via a twin lanyard rig (one adjustable and one fixed length) which was set for length so they could genuinely fall off the bridge… which a couple of contestants did much to the dismay of their teammates. The whole build & test of the rig was accomplished in a day with the very successful shoot happening the following day. All involved agreed the red and yellow bridge looked surreal & was a real highlight of the series.

If you’d like to see the bridge in action, Channel 10 still has the episode on-line – go to The Amazing Race Australia, Season 2, Episode 20.

Written by William Proctor
14 April 2021

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