Thursday, December 24, 2009

Evo 9 image buildup - JDMST 2010 Calendar

Seasons Greetings! Recently I did a shoot for George who owns this immaculate and fast EvoIX. This car is well known in Australia as a very extensively modified vehicle, from Suspension, engine, interior and exterior modifications. George wanted a photoshoot of his pride and Joy and this image would also be used in the 2010 calendar run by Justin Fox.

Here is how I put together this image.

The location was a small quiet alley in the southern suburbs of Sydney. I liked the building in the background, it was angular and modern just like the evo and in a moving shot the blur of the background would look good. Lighting was a 200W fluoro tube ballast lightbank I have been experimenting with powered by a 2 stroke 700W Generator.

Several images were taken to form the composite, the rig was mounted to the car and the angle chosen that I liked, been a calendar the car needed to be the main focus so a narrower crop needed to be used. Ideally I would have liked to have used a wider crop.

I got my assistant to do several sweeps of the car only using 1/2 power of the ballast. The nice strip lighting effect given by the fluoro looks great along the lines of the angular Mitsubishi.

Once I was happy with the lighting I did several shots with the car rolling until I was happy with the motion blur and exposure.

The rest is just choosing the best bits of each car and merging together in post processing. For some reason removing the rig from this image was extremely difficult as there was many tones that graduated oddly. But after an hour or so I managed to convincingly remove the boom.

Here are the images I used: (Click for larger image)

And the final Image.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Motorkhana and Bathurst Evo X

I’ve been very busy lately but a new post. Recently I got to do a couple of cool features with Motor Magazine and AutoAction that got me involved with a bit of motorsport.
First was the Australian Motorkhana championships held in Western Sydney, the story involved me following Team Motor/AutoAction Dylan Campbell in a Renault ClioSport R27 F1 edition as he gave it his best go up against some of the best in the country. For those not familiar with Motorkhana events it basically involves a short 30 second sprint around numerous flags in a designated order, the goal is simple, do the course as fast as possible without hitting a flag or risk a time penalty, the driver with the lowest time after all the courses is declared the winner. It’s a simple but incredibly challenging form of motorsport where anyone with any car can have a go.
The feature required a opener image that would portray what motorkhana’s are all about, speed, aggressive driving and fun. With a bit of discussion with the art director we collaborated to put together a rig shot with the rear wheel leaving the ground under immense cornering load, the Renault Clio is well known for this trait so it seemed suitable.
Actually putting the ideas into practice was relatively simple, I have rig shots down to a bit of a recipe now so the guess work of getting a keeper image is always quite high. I start with a few statics of the car using the polarizing filter at different angles to keep reflections to a minimum, then I’ll expose for the front of the car, side and headlights/grill/plates. The statics ensure I have a failsafe sharp image in case the road we use is a bit rough which can cause vibration during the longer exposures, I can then mix and match the good parts of each image and add them to my main car layer later down the track.
Once that’s out of the way I’ll do an exposure for the background, generally it’s one or more stops underexposed to preserve shadows and I can manipulate that file better than a overexposed one I find. My style generally revolves around a grungy/dark theme so this is what I have become accustomed to. Once I’m happy with the look from the background plate (which Is probably the most important in my opinion to portray the sense of motion) I move onto the car exposures.
I start usually with a base exposure which the meter tells me is correct, 99/100 times it’s way off with all the ND filters and polarizers I run so a bit of trial and error is required to get a starting exposure time. Once that is found I’ll go a stop over and under just to be sure I have all bases covered. Take note all shots are done in raw for further manipulation of the files whilst post processing.
To show the rear wheel in the air we used the small jack that is stored in the clios boot. Jacked the car up and spun the wheel by hand.
Then it’s just a matter of combining all the good parts from each image into the final composite, I won’t go to far into that because It would be one ultra long post. Maybe soon.
In the end the result is quite dramatic, Ideally I would have the sky a few more stops underexposed but the opener required a blown out sky in order to extend for the title text.

The second shoot was for the Mitsubishi Evo X TMR Bathurst edition, this limited edition Evo pays homage to one of the great race circuits or Australia and in fact the world, Mt Panorama which is in Bathurst.
Mt Panorama circuit is steep, fast, technical and intimidating all wrapped into a 6km lap. TMR (Team Mitsubishi Ralliart) wanted to show that it’s fettled with Evo X could handle every part of the track with aplomb and invited Motors Damion Smy to see for himself when he was let loose for 20mins to give it everything he could throw at it.
The TMR Evo X features upgraded suspension, exhaust, engine tune and black painted rims to create a tough looking car that is both at home on the racetrack and can be used on the daily commute for work. The special Bathurst badges and TMR livery sets it apart from other run of the mill evo’s.

Again my goal for the shoot was to emphasise the car at the track, but also have a homage to the Mt Panorama circuit. There is not much more that says “Bathurst” than the famous entrance to the dipper so I utilised the ripplestrips and wall sponsors into a rig shot to show what this Evo does best, and that is go fast!
As with a lot of Press cars, time was limited, and with the circuit also a private road we had to work fast to keep things rolling. I decided on a low perspective that gave a different composition to the shot but also allowed the designer of the page to crop or use the empty space for the title text which is always important to take into consideration when shooting editorial work.
There wasn’t too many difficulties run into with this shot, only the black car and black rims are hard to light correctly but eventually I started to get something I liked. In the end the shoot turned out pretty good.