William CseteMicrosite Dev
Julie Ann Thomazin2nd Location Camera
Jake Odening2nd Studio Camera
Justin JangAutomotive Expert
“Can you create a motion blur in a panorama?”
There was a pause before Eric answered. “No…” was his first response, followed slightly later by “maybe… I could try… Why?" I explained further, taking the idea of a car chase, and pushing it, shooting the whole thing as a panorama. Eric got really excited, but his excitement was tempered by that question. Was what we wanted to do even possible? We were bound and determined to try. Not only had this shoot never been done before, as far as we knew, but it sounded like it would be a fun and challenging shoot.
Eric did a test, taking a panorama he had shot of a golf course, and adding in the motion blur effect. It looked ridiculous, but promising.
The next step was another test. Figuring out if the cars could be positioned so that the distortion of the panorama didn’t make them look too weird. We met up at a community college parking garage and shot the whole scene with a Ford Escape and a Nissan Altima. We stitched the panorama as we shot, adjusting and measuring the positioning of the cars. This test was also kind of ridiculous looking, but it looked like it was possible.
The next order of business was to figure out who was going to be in the shoot, what kind of cars, and eat delicious cheesesteaks. Eating cheesesteaks was the easy part. It took us a really long time to cast, both the cars and the people. We had a pretty low budget, so we knew we'd be asking friends to help us out. My friend Justin had just recently bought a Lotus Elise. Perfect! We decided that we wanted to shoot with a Chevy Camaro, but we couldn't find one, so we decided to rent it.
Kian was the first person we asked to be in the shot. He agreed, but it couldn't be too close to his wedding day. We figured out that there was only one day that worked for all three of us. We started calling people up to see if that day would work for them. Justin was willing to drive up, but only if he could combine the trip with his race in Laguna Seca. It just so happened to coincide. Ryan couldn't shoot with us that day, so my coworker Billy agreed to step in. I called up Austin to see if he would be willing to drive up from Irvine to shoot a behind the scenes video. To my surprise he agreed.
We finally came to the day of the shoot. Austin and Julie Ann drove up, arriving at nine in the morning. Eric and I went and rented the Camaro. Minor problem, they didn't have a black one, it was red. Eric informed me that it would be okay, he would just change the color to black in post.
We met up with Justin, Austin, Julie Ann, and Billy in Cupertino, and started figuring out last minute details. After, we headed up to the location, excited and nervous.
When we got up to our location, we started test shooting, and setting up equipment. Our original plan was to shoot everything a couple of times, three if we had time. Pretty soon after we started setting up, we realized that with the fog rolling in, we were going to be lucky to get through the whole thing once.
Kian met us at the site, and then we really got going. Austin set up mics, and we started rolling. We quickly found a balance between shooting the panorama, and shooting video of Eric explaining what he was doing. I ran around with a five foot umbrella, trying desperately to give Eric the light he needed, while also not being blown over by the wind.
We started with Kian in the Camaro, then went on to Austin in the lotus, and then moved to Billy in the "second" Camaro. For the next couple of hours we moved cars, adjusted lights, changed angles, and raced to finish before the light ran out.
The last panorama we shot was with none of the cars present, to provide the base that would get motion blurred. Then Eric got in the Camaro, and he and Billy drove down the street, next to Justin in the Lotus, so Eric could take pictures of the moving tires. Then Eric switched to the Lotus. Eric had already decided it was going to be too hard to fake the blur of the tires moving, so he shot a variety of angles of both cars tires so that they could be placed over the static tires.
We finally finished as the light ran out. We took a couple of shots of us, victorious (we hoped) and crossed our fingers that all of the shots we took turned out. There wouldn't be a chance to reshoot.
After wrapping the shoot, we went and celebrated with a feast of Mexican food (and a pitcher of margaritas).
BTS Video Music
For the entire time that we were planning the behind the scenes video, the question of music was always at the forefront of our minds. Given our limited budget, we couldn't just go out and buy the rights to an awesome song, but at the same time we didn't want to just find some stock song that we were semi-okay with. Eric took a long shot and emailed Zack Hemsey, to see if we could use his music, which was perfect for the video. We were surprised and shocked, not only did he get back to us (and quickly!) but he said that we could use his music. We're incredibly thankful and excited!
Over the last couple of months since the shoot, we've put in a lot of hours on retouching (no small feat, with the file approaching 8 gigs at times), video editing, and website design and development. We're really pleased with the final result. Thanks to everyone that helped out, supported us, and expressed interest in our project. It's been so fun to be a part of this, and we're proud to present you with the final piece.