Motion Control Shoot for the New Nissan Altima

I recently wrapped a very rewarding, albeit technically-challenging shoot for the new Nissan Altima. Critical Mass out of Calgary asked me to shoot a 360-degree flyaround at 6th & Hope in downtown Los Angeles and a matching interior panorama. For the flyaround they wanted 72 frames. Shooting 72 frames in a short period of time (before light changes too much) while dealing with downtown LA ITC (intermittent traffic control) and pedestrians was no easy feat. I think I got two bites of my working lunch. Oh well. Some days are like that. The results were well worth it!

It was a different shoot than usual right from the start. The agency had pre-selected their location and had done extensive previz for the shoot. While it was refreshing to have this level of detail and input from ¬†the agency before the shoot, it also meant I was going to be held to their exacting standards. Oh well. That’s what I do and I suppose that’s why I got the call.

It was also a bit different since the job was being run through local ad agency¬†Chiat Day and Ridley Scott’s production company RSA Films. That meant more layers of communication, approval, etc. but as it turned out all the people involved were very professional, and a pleasure to work with.

To get the shot on location I teamed up with previous collaborator Tom Barron of ImageG. Tom is a motion control wizard and customized a rig to make the shoot a possibility. He modified his Bulldog rig to get the reach and moves that were required.

ImageG team setting up the Bulldog crane on location.

Anja and Bill, part of my crew, setting up the Canon 5DMk2 and running camera cables on the MoCo rig.

Helder, resident MoCo genius from ImageG, checking movement of the crane from the command post.

There were quite a lot of computers, electronics and cabling on this shoot. The shot above shows the digital “command post” where we fired the camera from and could review takes. We maxed out USB 2.0 shooting with three repeaters connecting four 15′ cables.

Before the hero car can be set in place, the crane must be rigged and tested. All hands on deck.

Here I and my crew are checking camera function on the MoCo rig.

How many photographers does it take to operate a camera?

Photo and MoCo crew checking on crane/camera alignment.

A view of the rigged camera in one of it's camera positions.

Here is a final from from the above camera POV.

In between takes, my crew and I went out and grabbed background plates for use in post production.

I can't thank my crew enough for their support. They rock!

Another view of the fully-rigged Bulldog with 5DMk2.

Yep we pretty much blocked the entire street!

Grabbing some more details and backplates on B camera. White tape marks were the camera angles we used.

You can see the finished product on here on the Nissan USA website. Critical Mass did a very nice interactive piece with CGI and other assets combined with the assets I provided.

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