No pressure then… The 100th edition of the excellent Octane Magazine was always going to be a significant occasion. In the first of a new series showcasing great car related videos, here’s how Tim Andrew dealt with the prestigious cover shoot and also managed to shoot a Behind The Scenes video at the same time. Don’t forget to hit the vote button below, we’ll be generating a top car video league each month.
1968 Lamborghini Miura P400
Junction 11 studios, Banbury, UK
25th July 2011
Stills: Nikon D3x, Nikon 24-70 F2.8 AFS lens, Nikon 14-24 F2.8 AFS lens
Video: Nikon D5100, Nikon D7000, Nikon 12-24 F4 AFS lens, Nikon 60mm Macro F2.8 lens
Glidecam HD-2000 stabiliser, Glidetrack slider, Sennheiser MKE400 mic, IDC follow focus
Software for Edit & Finishing
Final Cut Pro X on Apple MacBookPro
When Octane magazine offered me the job of photographing a Lamborghini Muira, It only took a moment’s thought and a diary check before accepting. Not only was this to be a cover shoot, but their milestone 100th issue! I had shot a Muira many years ago out in the wilds of the Pennines. Weather and time constraints had made it a rushed affair. This time I’d drool, study, then light it’s gorgeous lines. At least that’s what I imagined, until the reality of getting a full studio shoot done in a day arrived.
Unlike shooting outside with daylight, a studio shot needs careful creative use of lighting, or you end up with nothing but a lifeless car on a grey background. I love using a strong overhead spot to create a pool of light around the car. You get a great shadow, and importantly, the reflected light on the bodywork fades as it rises up the car. Combine that with some crafted lighting on the studio walls, and maybe some car headlights, and the shot comes alive. Octane Magazine’s art editor Mark Sommer, had a clear vision of having some purple light in the background, so we setup a halo on the back wall behind the car and added a strip of purple to give an “horizon”. We used all tungsten lights with coloured gels, most of which were hidden behind the car. Back in my office I built up the final shots from several images, stacked in layers in Photoshop. I could have lit the car all in one go, but having all the lighting on at once waters down the effect of each light too much.
Once you have the lighting setup, it’s just a matter of being meticulous with the exposures and shooting enough lighting variations to build up in Photoshop. A quick test on the laptop is great for reassurance. Junction 11 is one of the few, fully coved studios that you can shoot directly overhead (once you have signed a disclaimer!). Great care was taken not to drop any equipment on the Muira’s roof!
Not long before the job I’d bought a Glidecam HD2000 video stabiliser and was keen to try it on a car, so whipped it out, used it upside-down with the screen of the D5100 rotated up, to catch the unloading of the car and its movement around the studio from a low angle. To add some footage to the mix, I grabbed a few slider shots on my Glidetrack but couldn’t cut into my stills time too much. I would like to have got some behind the scenes clips of the cameras and lighting setup, but I ran into studio overtime as it was, just coping with the stills shot list.
I decided to include the stills and magazine spreads in the video edit to give some context to the car walkaroud, and hit on the idea of making the footage in the studio black & white to make a clear distinction between the stills and video. It also gave the rather noisy unlit footage a nice feel. All the same, I can’t wait to get a Nikon with full frame 1080HD video for those available light moments.
Hoping to make this the first of a series on car videos.
I’m primarily a stills photographer, but there’s something very compelling about learning new techniques and processes. I very much enjoy the process of filming and editing, and plan to add more car videos when time, conditions and budgets permit.
Tim Andrew, 2011 http://www.timandrew.co.uk