Shooting a Mini Cooper at Night Using Giant Bags of Light

This advertising photograph for the new Mini John Cooper Works GP looks like a piece of CGI artwork, but it’s a lot more photo than render. It also looks like it was shot at high speeds, but it was actually photographed at a crawl. Shot during a top-secret nighttime photo shoot at the Circuit Paul Ricard in France, the photo required long exposure photography, fake smoke, gigantic lights, and a fancy moving camera rig.

Here’s a short behind-the-scenes video showing how it was created:

By using giant Bag-o-Light Turn units by Licht-Technik for continuous lighting, the team was able to shoot the image with long exposure shots and slow movements. In case you’re wondering, the camera used was a Contax 645 with Hasselblad back, mounted to a rig that was physically attached to the car.

(via Strobist)

  • Sharpie

    Impressive use of lighting. Shame about it being really over retouched. It almost looks CGI. If someone had created the same thing just using a computer; a lot of expense would have been saved.
    I’m sick of seeing these types of car shots which are over-retouched causing them to be so far removed from reality. I much prefer a car to be in a simple location, with minimal retouching, looking like you could just walk up to it and get in.

  • Andrew

    I agree with Sharpie. The technical process is interesting, but the end result looks rather like a video game screenshot.

  • madmax

    Agreed. Too much time and money spent in a so-so pic!

  • tim

    I do printscreen from my need for speed carbon and have 100 shot better than this…

  • killermotion

    Awesome work. Great photo. It looks exactly the way they wanted it to look. Thats why this guy did the photo, and the rest of you did not.

  • Charles Unitas

    Instead of the negative comments, why can’t you focus on the good stuff? How does one come up the idea of using bags as a light source? Brilliant! Amazing how once you understand how exposure works you can create one effect (speed) by doing just the opposite. Then there is going the extra distance to put together a shoot of this technical quality together. Give credit where credit is due, people.

  • Theranthrope

    How about: no.
    This is a lot of work just to make a shot that looks almost exactly like a mediocre screencap from any number of current-gen driving or racing videogames. It’s like carefully arranging the lighting to emulate an instragram filter, in-scene rather than in-post, but many times worse because of the mind-boggling cost, labor, and skill that must have been needed to construct the shot.
    Such foolish waste should NOT be encouraged, since the end result is just plain boring.