Paddock Hacks

David White from White Balance Pictures recently produced a TV Special called Paddock Hacks. I was lucky enough to be asked to DP the show for him.

We shot for five days in the Hawkes Bay. The countryside was beautiful, and in a way the cars were beautiful too! We decided that we wanted the show to be as cinematic as possible. I did not want to make the show in the edit, I wanted the cars to be graceful and look their best, which I know is odd for beat up Paddock Hack, but I think that by treating them with respect and filming them as I would a car commercial the look is really interesting and respectful to the sport.


To achieve this I decided to shoot on the Sony EX3 with my Letus lens adaptor. I used mainly Zeiss primes with a few telephoto Nikon primes as well. This gave me the shallow depth of field that I needed to separate the cars from the background. To help with the action we shot most of the car scenes at 50 fps. This gave us the slow motion look that we needed, and we could of course edit back to 25 fps or speed ramp in shot as required.


The promo does not show it, but a large part of the show is made up of interviews with the various drivers. We went to their work places and filmed them there, and also interviewed them. David White was the presenter and we decided early on that he would be very involved in the story. We put him in the action - literally in the case of driving the cars, but also in terms of the interaction with our guests. To fully capture this we decided that two cameras would be the best way to proceed. We sourced a second EX3 and Letus from Wellington and we were fortunate enough to have Paul Wedel to operate. Paul is the editor of the show and it was great having him on B Camera as not only did he film great coverage, but he also shot all the cut-aways that he knew he would need later on!


Wherever possible I placed Minicams in or on the cars. I used both the Contour HD and the GoPro HD Hero. The cameras were subjected to extreme knocks and so I supplemented the standard rigs by borrowing a mini rig kit from Josh Dunn and using that to securely lockdown the cameras. They did not miss a beat and the pictures were very impressive.


We also used the Canon 5D2 for some of the low light filming in sheds. I also shot a bit of tracking with it off the back of a Quad Bike with David driving in front of the Paddock Hacks. It cut in nicely with the main cameras and really added to the overall look.


The reaction to the promo has been huge! We have had over 70,000 views on YouTube. David has given radio interviews and even a piece on Campbell Live. Really looking forward to getting the green light and filming the show!
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