Stop Motion Video: 1933 Bugatti

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Staff at the end of Shoot

So much of commercial photography is engineering.  Clients usually supply you with who or what, maybe when, but solving the problems of where & how are your responsibility.  Confronted with taking a photograph of a priceless 1933 Bugatti automobile on display in a museum exhibition meant we could not have it delivered to our studio.  The museum had plenty of room to work in but shooting cars is one of the most difficult lighting tasks.  The light source has to be larger than the object.  When we shoot shiny, metallic vehicles outside, soft overcast morning or evening sunlight makes the entire sky the light source.  But inside we have to assemble huge, complicated light banks.  For this job the added complication was to construct, transport, then reassemble the light on location.

The clock was ticking.  So I designed all the pieces to be inexpensive, lightweight & simple.  I also employed several assistants & interns split into three crews, each assigned separate tasks to speed up the action.  One crew prepped the car, one built the wooden frame & white Foamcore flat & another group handled the cameras & computers.  We had to run long extension cords to various parts of the museum so as not to overload the ancient electrical system.  We brought in four Profoto powerpacks hooked up seven light heads for the final image.  Pocket Wizards triggered the assemblage.  Large white reflectors on the sides created the highlights on the fenders.  The whole crew raised a canvas background handpainted years ago for shooting cars & trucks.
We had a videographer & two cameras for the stop action multimedia part.  Stationary cameras were set up on ground level & in the balcony overlooking the set. All post-production was done later in house.  Four & a half hours was reduced to less than two minutes in the final video.
Final Image
1933 Bugatti from Lou Jones on Vimeo.


Anonymous,  July 23, 2010 at 8:06 PM  


pat wj,  July 26, 2010 at 12:43 AM  

very cool. admire your knowledge, creativity, and skill . . . and the thought and execution of the video!

Dick Taffe,  July 26, 2010 at 1:48 PM  

This is terrific, Lou. It takes a behind-the-scene look to really appreciate the absolute hard work such a shoot entails. Let's see more, please !!

A. Cemal Ekin November 10, 2012 at 11:54 AM  

Lighting reflective surfaces, like this gorgeous Bugatti, requires knowledge, skill, and attention to detail. The result show that your team benefited from your having all of the above, and they came through with flying colors.


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blog (blŏg, bläg) n. 1. short for Weblog 2. online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer 3. diary that is posted on the Internet 4. an experiment to verbalize my observations about the status of photography. It will be eclectic & deal with philosophy & practice of this universal art form. It will strive for periodic commentary about issues many photographers face, like ownership and the economy. It will also talk about pictures and what makes good ones and how to get them. No hardware. No software. No recycled clichés. No whining.