Have you ever seen a photo like the one above and wondered how in the world a shot like this works? I know I have! I wondered, is it all CGI, maybe it’s just a whole lot of fancy photoshopping, or perhaps even some ultra-expensive specialized chase car? Turns out, my guesses were all wrong!
Up until relatively recently, there were two ways to get shots of vehicles in motion – either with a stationary photographer, a quickly moving car, a panning shot, and a relatively low shutter speed (like many of our photos at the Rolex 24), or the second option is to use a chase vehicle, again with the vehicle at speed, where both cars match speed and direction. However, neither of these options provide a way to capture a photo like the one above. A chase photo like this would be all but impossible because of the tight turn and relative position of the vehicles. Likewise, a panning shot, if you’re lucky, may get the center of the car in focus, but the front and back of the car (traveling at different velocities in relation to the camera) would have a significant motion blur.
However, thanks to the good folks at Car Camera Rig out of the UK, shots like the one above are now possible. The technique is really rather simple and employs a set of super-heavy-duty suction cups, a series of clamps, and a modular carbon fiber boom. I would also highly recommend a ND filter to help you sufficiently slow your shutter speed. These tools provide the ability to cantilever your camera at a fixed location relative to the vehicle – essentially making the whole thing one with the car. However, there is a bit that is counter-intuitive. See me pushing the car in the pre-edited photo below? (BTW – whether you push the car from the front or the back, it still looks like it is going forward, so be sure to push the car from the the opposite side of the camera to minimize your post work – this image was just to illustrate my point) Yeah, well, that’s how you’re supposed to get these shots – at almost a snail’s-pace – with the car off, to minimize vibration, and a steady but smooth push. But that’s not quite what I did the first time… Having a traditional automotive photography background, I assumed speed was a key element of capturing such photos, and so my first test shoot I performed at speeds up to about 15 MPH – the result was almost acceptable, but certainly not ideal. As it turns out, I was risking the very structural integrity of the carbon boom segments, but thankfully the owner of Car Camera Rig (who is super-helpful – thanks Justin!) set me straight, shared a great tutorial video with me, and this second test shoot turned out great! Check out a few more of the finished shots below, as well as several behind the scenes images!
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Looking to have a car or collection photographed? Feel free to peruse the automotive section of our website: pro.deremerstudios.com/automotive_aviation.html
Fumbles and Foibles along the Road of Automotive Rig Photography
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