Yep, In one of my stupider moments, I conducted a full scale shoot out the front of a city methadone clinic… Why? I'll never really be able to answer that one. Maybe because it was a cool location, maybe because it was close to my car…. Maybe I wanted to live dangerously and have all my gear stolen, in Hindsight it was not the best place to be.
Pak's car is just plain awesome, Cwest widebody, Black Volk TE37's, Perfect Yellow paint and a healthy 240rwkw SR20DET. I knew a night shoot would be the perfect way to make this car stand out, but I wanted to try some new techniques that night, so it was a trial and error affair. It had been some time (almost a year) since I had done my last night shoot, using a tripod again was a shock to the system. The time it takes to do a shoot was also greatly increased, 4 hours in total in the end, 30 second exposure times mean a long time between shots, luckily I had company.
Gear for this shoot was a bit different to the normal, As usual the Canon 1Dsmk2 and G9 for backup/video usage, but no multiple flashes this time around. With long exposures I had the ability to just handhold a single Nikon SB800 and use it to "paint" the car with light, this worked rather well at low power not giving off any hotspots or nasty reflections. Lens for the whole shoot was the Canon 24-70 2.8L with circular polariser. Also used for the shoot was a camera rig setup for rolling shots.
My system for shooting was to pick an angle and stick with it, been night time with such long exposures the ability to light each part of the car completely was a bonus. Using a very small aperture as well to obtain total clarity from corners to the centre of the image. But all the shots were done as one exposure rather than a tricky composite later on. Finding the right mix of light painting and not keeping in the frame was tricky. As this was a very dark location, Finding focus was also difficult. My assistant shined a torch on the car to make finding focusing easier.
After completing the front and rear shots, we moved onto the rolling shots, this involved placing a large boom onto the vehicle and moving the camera in total unison with the vehicle to create a unique movement effect. The use of Suction cups, poles and clamps is used to hold the rig onto the vehicle. The car is then rolled very slowly with a long shutter speed to give the impression of movement. When done correctly it can have very striking results. The rig is then cloned out of the image later in post processing, this is a very long and dangerous task that can take hours, so it is imperative that as possible is done to minimize this work by making sure the background and lighting is going to be suitable later in post production to fix.
After packing all the equipment back into the truck and driving home I was tired, hungry and it was by Then Monday morning. 4 hours was long for a shoot but I think it was worth it. At least the junkies didn’t steal my gear.
Big Thanks to my Assistant for the night Matt Mead - http://www.matthewmead.net/ and the Cars awesome owner Pak for been just a nice guy and providing such a hot S15.