Our team specializes in filming moving subjects, and we’ve accumulated a treasure trove of gear to capture cinematic shots for our clients. We typically alternate between several different custom vehicles, including electric motorcycles, ATVs, and cars.
This automotive arsenal came in handy on our recent shoot with Watchonista Creative Studios for a German watch company — since we were shooting a vintage Porsche 911 on the racetrack at Lime Rock Race Park, our chase vehicle of choice was a custom Tesla setup with a Cinelift.
In part because they’re electric, Teslas make highly effective camera chase vehicles — their low noise output is great for capturing sound, they have plenty of torque for faster driving action, and they maintain smooth, steady movement whether you’re going 1 mph or 100.
A few days before the shoot, we did an on-site prep shoot to practice our gear setups and test a few unique camera movements the client requested — since the product in question was a luxury watch, we had to strike a balance between driving shots and up-close camerawork showcasing the watch. Our friend Darren even lent us his beautiful old Range Rover to simulate the car for the real shoot!
Practice makes perfect with complex setups like these, where coordination is vital. Our Cinelift allows us to move vertically with the camera gimbal setup as well as tilt it from left to right, and we have to operate the gimbal to get the perfect framing. As for the Tesla, setup takes a village: you need someone driving the Tesla, someone operating the Cinelift, someone operating the gimbal operator, and of course, someone directing.
Throughout the shoot, communication between the chase vehicle driver and the on-film car driver has to be impeccable to minimize the risk of a crash. High-risk, high-reward shoots like these are what make our production company unique, but safety always has to come first.
We spent the night before the shoot in a nearby hotel so our crew could be well-rested and avoid getting caught in heavy traffic out of New York City. We trailered the Tesla to the location and got started early setting everything up. Ben Tarlow provided his Porsche for this shoot, and he was also the talent of the day.
All in all, we had a blast! The weather was perfect, the track was awesome, and the team from Lime Rock Park was a pleasure to work with. We made some new friends, and we’ll definitely be coming back soon! At the end of the day, we captured all the footage we were aiming for, and the client was very happy with the results.
Big thank you to Josh and Kyle from Watchonista for bringing us on this project and trusting our work for a while now — as one of the smaller production companies in New York, our client relationships mean everything to us. Fast cars and high-tech cameras are great, but it’s the people who really make our jobs worth doing!
- pictures by Austin Schwichtenberg