Shattering the Glass in Hollywood

Shattering the Glass in Hollywood

Have you ever seen a movie and watched an actor walk or fall through glass and remain uninjured? Don’t get any ideas! The glass they use for stunts in the movies either isn’t the same as the glass in your windows or glass shower panels. Special effects specialists and stunt coordinators have a few tricks up their sleeves to create movie magic with glass. 

Breaking Into the Movies 

Old-time Hollywood tricks and new technology make it safe for actors to break through glass barriers. Here’s how they do it:

  • Sugar Glass has been used in movies since Hollywood’s early days. It looks like glass but tastes like candy! It’s also not dangerous for actors and actresses to work with. It’s made by dissolving sugar in water and heating it. Adding corn syrup prevents the sugar from recrystallizing. Cream of tartar is part of the mix, too. It helps by turning the sugar into glucose and fructose. Unfortunately, it will become soft and lose its breakable quality if not used soon after preparation. The reason it’s used less often nowadays is because more stable materials were created.
  • Tempered or Toughened Glass, as Jason Hilton, a stunt coordinator, explains on quora.com is a good choice when a director wants a window to shatter into tiny pieces or pebbles, like when a gun is fired into it. Instead of a bullet, Hilton says, on the set they will use a glass popper to shatter the glass. ”A glass popper ( Glass Breakers / Poppers ) is basically a nail in a tube that is forced into the glass, shattering it, and can be powered pneumatically or with a squib,” Hilton says. 
  • Breakaway Glass is the way to go if the director wants the glass to break into shards instead of pebbles. “Breakaway glass ( Film Production Equipment | Breakaway Glass | Thomas FX) is an alternative material that is designed to break and shatter to produce shards that, while pointy, have a much lower chance of causing injury than real glass,” Hilton says.

 

But the material used is only part of the way moviemakers ensure safety when using glass. “Regardless of the method and material employed, significant planning and safety considerations go into the execution of stunts and effects that involve glass breaking,” Hilton says.

Sugar glass and breakaway glass are found pretty exclusively on movie sets, but tempered glass is used in many applications. Because of the way it breaks, tempered glass is less likely to injure a person, which makes it an excellent choice for car windows as well as frameless glass shower doors, bathtub enclosures, sliding doors, windows, skylights, glass facades, frameless glass balconies and many more. Even the glass panels around hockey rinks in some sports arenas are made of tempered glass. In other words, it’s tough, strong and stable. 

If you would like to install frameless balcony glass railing, frameless shower doors, glass frameless shower doors, glass shower panels, or shower enclosure glass using the safest glass possible, call us at (561) 997-6990 or contact us online.