No Budget Porsche Spec Ad BTS

Just the Cut

Checking the shots. Photo by Nick Walker

So I was recently asked to build out my commercial portfolio. I was also in the process of selling my car. Seemed like the perfect solution would be to shoot a spec ad and take care of both problems. Now I’m not one to do things the easy way. I wasn’t about to just get some shots of the car driving by with a tripod and call it a day. For awhile now I’ve been really wanting to get a jib and put it in the back of a truck for some almost helicopter like moving jib shots. Those types of shots are usually reserved for folks with a budget so I felt that if we could accomplish these shots with no money it would appear as if we were a little more well funded. Trouble was I don’t own a jib and I had no time or budget. Solution? Twitter contacts. I’ve always felt that Twitter has been instrumental in getting me to where I am today but never has it felt as tangible as when this project fell together. I had never worked with or met Rod Guajardo (@Rod_Guajardo) but I was aware of him through Twitter. Being back in San Antonio, Texas for the Holidays I went ahead and contacted him and sure enough, he knew just the person to contact who could provide the necessary equipment. Huge shout out to Richard Jemal (@RJemal) for coming out and having the audacity to run a 12′ jib out of the back of a moving truck! Check out his website here: http://rjemal.com/ On top of getting the necessary equipment for the shoot, tweeting informed several friends of mine that I would be in town and a crew formed quickly. Thanks to Nico Wachter (@nicowphoto) and Carlos Medina (@carmed11). Thanks to Stephen Villela for providing the monitor.

We found a secluded location and shot numerous angles of the car using a Tokina 11-16 on my Canon 7D with a Lightcraft 8 stop ND fader and a Pola. Keeping the Tokina on the extreme end of the wide minimized any rolling shutter problems we would have had with the car moving at speed. Shot using the Cinema Picture profile. I edited the spot natively using Avid Media Composer 6. Once that was complete I sent each shot individually to After Effects using Automatic Duck. Now it is possible to send an entire sequence to After Effects however I had already placed a couple film fades into the timeline and those would not have been honored had I sent the whole sequence. On top of that, the hard cuts with out the fades would not contain enough information to go back and put the fades back in. I had to manually extend the fades out, grade those, then cut them back into their original length and re-apply the fades. I graded using Magic Bullet Colorista II and I applied Warp Stabilizer to each of the moving shots. You can definitely see it to a degree but I think it did an absolutely amazing job of taking out the jib’s lateral movements. I applied subtle power windows on the the headlights to really make them standout. If you want to do any sort of tracking work you’ll have to apply it in a pre-comp to the Warp stabilizer. To take the shots back to Avid for sound and final output I exported the shots from After Effects using the new Avid DNxHD444.

With all that said, have a look at the finished spec ad and then have a look at the behind the scenes video shot and edited by Phillip James (@swatdojo). He does some killer stuff so check out his vimeo here: Vimeo. BTS photos by my bro, Nick Walker.

Jared Abrams
Jared Abrams is a cinematographer based in Hollywood, California. After many years as a professional camera assistant he switched over to still photography. About two years ago a new Canon camera changed the way the world sees both motion and still photography. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time.