Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pak's S15 Nightshoot

It's nearing midnight… a suspicious skeletal framed man staggers down the alleyway. Ahead he sees a wide body Yellow S15 blocking his path… he speeds up. "Here we go!" I think to myself as I grab a rig pole ready to lay some junkie smackdown, he see's us… pauses. The look of on his face is a mixture of fear and confusion, 3 guys standing in a dark Surry Hills Laneway with metal poles, cameras and a car blocking the road. I would have been scared too. Then ever so carefully, he tip toes around the car like a toddler. I look at my assistant Matt, he smiles, I laugh out loud, it was hilarious.

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 - and the Cars awesome owner Pak for been just a nice guy and providing such a hot S15.


Tom Janz said...

AMAZING!!!, This S15 looks amazing at this location. Well done! Painting with lights is alot of fun and beats having to setup multiple strobes!!

Cant wait to see what you come up with next!

Sassani Photography said...

Pics look great!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Chris, thought i would leave a comment here aswell. Great shoot once again, the city location looks great and the editing suits it well. Goin to have to meet up and do a shoot of my new car soon.



milkman (jdm-st) said...


Thanks for the insight into "trade secrets"!

Love your work, love the pics.

Devin said...

Awesome post. Thanks for sharing.

Doug Holcomb said...

Hey! great photos! Ive been trying to do some motion shots as well and am right now using a very long 2x4 haha, just wondering what brand of boom and attachments your using?



Mark J. Rebilas said...

Very nice blog dude. I like how you go into detail explaining how you accomplished the shots. I am a sports/racing photographer who is in the process of learning more about studio style lighting for outdoor shoots. Check out my blog and let me know what you think.

Anonymous said...

You're awsome dude! I really appreciate that you're showing all those "behind scene" pictures too. And not just the amazing final result! Thanks alot! Cheers from Sweden!