I’ve lensed a lot of things in my career, from charging bulls to billionaires to recreating the McCarthy hearings. But a $400,000 car? Definitely new. And while we couldn’t get Daniel Craig to sit in the driver’s seat, this was something everyone at Mercury could easily get excited about.
So how do you approach a shoot for a product so pristine, so meticulously crafted that it’s the stuff car legends are made of? In some ways, not much differently than other challenges we’ve faced – preparation, research and planning. But it’s also about pulling together the best production crew available. My usual gaffer was booked but instead of being too disappointed I picked up the phone and called a friend of a friend, Larry Wallace. Larry is a legendary gaffer with amazing credits to his name, such as Bugsy and Fearless. More importantly, he has a wealth of experience lighting cars.
Next was grabbing my go to 1st AC (Assistant Camera), Phil Bowen. Years ago, I directed an indie feature and hired an out-of-town DP. The first thing the DP insisted on was a quality experienced AC. At the time, with it being my first real foray into the realm of bigger projects, I didn’t understand his urgency. Now I know there is nothing that replaces a spot-on AC on set. It is Linus’ security blanket for DPs and in my years of shooting, Phil is my favorite.
Now with my key positions filled, it was time for my partner and co-collaborator Angie to work her magic. With a few well placed calls, RED was on board to help us execute this project with their gear. We’ve been a RED shop for five years now, so their involvement was as exciting as the overall project itself. A few days before the shoot, three large boxes arrived and we got to work building a couple of Epics to go with our RED One for the shoot.
Thus the geek out days began. For three days, I was surrounded by the best gear in the business, an A-list crew, a king’s ransom in cars and a mission to show off the best qualities of the car within the structure of a simple narrative. Definitely not a bad way to spend a few days. Take a look at the final product.
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