Miami Production Day One: Audi R8

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The CarNecks crew left Charlotte, NC in April 2012 in a SUV packed full of equipment and a five man crew on a 12 hour journey down to Miami, FL. The CarNecks team and crew spent weeks preparing, organizing, planning and finally leaving for one of our biggest productions ever. We were on our way to Miami, Florida to film three super-cars valued at a combined MSRP of over half a million US dollars. In an attempt to provide our fellow CarNecks with some insight on the production process, I'll be posting a three part blog to cover the production day of each car and as a result, the Audi R8 was our first shoot.
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We left Charlotte Friday evening with the intent to drive through the night and arrive in Miami early Saturday morning. It initially didn't seem like such a bad idea until you factor in that everyone was tired from a week of work and that no one wanted to drive, but on the bright side -- we had 5 people stuffed into an already stuffed SUV which allowed for multiple driver rotations. After many arguments and near fist-fighting over the shotgun seat we finally arrived in Miami as exhausted as we could be. We made sure to promptly find the nearest bed and get at least a few hours of sleep.
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After our brief naps we spent Saturday afternoon prepping for the coming week of filming. We had to buy groceries, snacks, and water to keep the crew alive. We had to scout previously identified locations (courtesy of Google Maps) and validate whether or not we would be able to still film there. We had to prep and test the equipment. Cameras, batteries, memory, hard drives, lenses, tri-pods, mounts, and dozens of other items had to be checked. Even the tiniest elements like a USB cord or a screwdriver had to be accounted for. The last thing we wanted is to be out in the field and not be able to get a great shot because we were inadequately prepared.
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We spent Sunday primarily relaxing and taking a short break before a very busy week. Andrey and I were able to visit where the cars were stored and take a sneak peek at what we would be driving. The last thing that we had to do was to prepare ourselves. Due to the nature of our production schedule we actually did not know what car we would be filming Monday morning. We knew that it would be one of several options but had no guarantee until we showed up in the morning. As a result, both Andrey and I had to prepare our scripts and commentary for every possibility that we were considering.
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When we arrived on scene Monday morning I was surprised to find out that only the Audi R8 was ready for the day. I was honestly anticipating that we would be filming one of the other cars (that Andrey would be driving), but we had to be flexible and we were ready to adapt. I would be the on-screen talent for the R8 and the crew would be managed by Andrey.
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Filming the Audi R8 was my first experience ever on camera for CarNecks. I am usually behind the scenes coordinating the production effort and really had no idea what I would have to deal with on Monday. It was much harder than I thought it would be and trust me, it is much harder than it looks. For instance, when driving inside the car and filming myself, I had to keep track of the following items: What do I need to film myself saying? Where are we driving? Is the video recording? Is the audio recording? Are the audio levels good? Did I sync everything? What did I already say about the car? What else am I supposed to cover? How do I avoid the traffic? How do I keep up with the lead car (car that crew films from)? How do I maintain focus when the traffic is so heavy? How do I keep up with the lead car when traffic is heavy? How do I avoid being distracted when there is so much going on? How do I regain my train of thought when I’m interrupted (via walkie talkie)? Where are we driving? How long do I have before we get there to keep filming myself? Are the batteries low? Is there enough memory left?
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It is truly a frustrating experience because at the end of the day, all that I want to do (or anyone reviewing a car and being filmed), is provide some great commentary without having to worry about all of the nuances. Nonetheless, we were able to get out, work hard and despite the challenges, film for over 12 hours on our first day. Add a tiny bit of hot Florida heat, lots of moving around, and many bathroom breaks and you get an extremely tired crew. After we dropped the car off, we still had to head back to our base camp and recharge batteries, download footage and prep for the next day. I’ll share about the production of the second day (Read about the second day) in the near future. In the meantime, enjoy the short promotional video of the Audi R8:
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