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Cars Porsche Published by J. Doe

#GetCreativeWithPorsche: filming cars

Jeff Zwart – the Pikes Peak-winning, Porsche-loving film-directing legend – reveals some tips of his filmmaking trade in the latest instalment of Porsche Newsroom’s new series.

Jeff Zwart knows Porsche like few other filmmakers. After 30 years shooting commercials and short films for the brand, combined with a lifelong love of the cars and a successful career racing them, you’d be hard pressed to find another living person more intimately in tune with how to capture Porsche in motion.

Zwart began working in stills, however, shooting for Road and Track magazine straight out of college in the mid-1970s.

Getting started

“Filmmakers are living in a golden era of cameras – the price, the size, the versatility. Old film cameras weighed 45lbs and the body alone would cost $100,000. The age old saying that the best camera is the one you have with you applies more than ever.

In my world a camera should be the least intimidating part of your job because the process of creativity requires an open mind. It’s no good if you’re working with equipment that ties you down. A camera should feel like an extension of yourself so that the work is as fluid and spontaneous as possible.

Preparation is everything

“In the commercial world it’s my job to visually interpret a client’s concept, but even if you’re shooting for yourself, create a timeline. This allows you to understand the big picture and means that on shoot day, you can simply cross off each of those frames as they’re done.

So work out where the light is, and how it will flatter the car. We used to have to shoot whole light studies prior to going on location, but now there is technology out there that can do it all for you instantly. People think you always want a perfect sunny day, but in my experience bad weather has brought me more opportunities than it’s taken away.

The shoot itself

“I always want an immersive, participatory feeling to what I shoot, so you have a sense of what it was like to be there. Determine what your influences are, work out what you like and then figure out how you do that.

“Ask yourself what makes this particular car look good. Height is so important, depending on what story you want to tell. So put the car in the middle of an open space and walk around it. And think of cars as mirrors. They are mirrored surfaces that don’t look great in every light, so pick sun position and shade carefully.

Time to edit

“Leave your ego behind in the editing process. It sounds obvious, but if you’re making a film for other people to see, you have to take them into account. Establish who your audience is and what will make them engage. Make it shorter if you can.

You can learn so much from the editing process, about what does and doesn’t work, how two shots can often tell a story better than one. It’s tricky at first, but eventually you’ll see ahead of time what you can do to make life easier in post.

Info Get involved by sharing clips you’ve filmed, either before social distancing restrictions were imposed or while adhering to the rules that apply in your area. Use the #GetCreativeWithPorsche hashtag and we’ll share our favourites.

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May 29, 2020 at 03:35

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