So we recently had the opportunity to work with SapientNitro on a great job for Traveler's Insurance. The job required shooting a guy from "the other team" pulling into a parking lot full of a sea of "home team" cars. Being the only person from "the other team" can be somewhat disconcerting to say the least. This tied in perfectly with Traveler's tag line which is "Travelers takes the scary out of Life".
Logistically this job was very complex. How do you get control and ability to prop an entire parking lot full of cars, fill it with fans and shoot a generic large stadium?
We started with an empty parking lot and added 16 crew and client cars, rented 10 more cars, one Airstream trailer, our RV, and added in 40 or so employee cars sprinkled about the background, then filled in all the gaps by rotating and reshooting for the HUGE composite. We shot all morning with cloudy flat light, moving all our crew and rented cars all over the background to turn an empty lot into a lot with well over 1000 cars. Then in the afternoon the good weather finally arrived and we reversed the process and shot it all again with good light. In the end we opted for the nice side light as it seems more realistic to a Saturday afternoon light.
The original idea was to have not only cars, but a ton of people tailgating as well. However because of budget restraints it looked as though we were only going to be able to produce the parking lot devoid of any people other than the "other team" guy pulling into the one remaining empty spot. Still nice but so much better if we could have all the people.
I gave this a great deal of thought as the concept was so much stronger with many home team tailgaters. The solution I ended up coming up with was to use my crew of 12 as tailgate talent... shoot then rotate and re-wardrobe to create a large crowd and also populate the background. Given the budget restraints I think (and the client agreed) that this was a great solution and really made the shot. For minimal extra money we were able to really spice up the image. If you look really closely there are people everywhere, even in the stadium way in the background and the parking lots surrounding the stadium as well.
The stadium also posed challenges of it's own. It had to look like a large stadium but could not look like any specific stadium. We shot a local pro football stadium here in Miami and then shot many other smaller local stadiums for parts so we could make a composite generic "Frankenstadium" In the end we altered the structure of the stadium, added windows removed trees and added a hand illustrated dome.
On the prop and wardrobe side, the team themes for the prop and wardrobe styling had to be generic college football team fans. We opted for "State" as the home team and "Tech" as the lone away team guy.
Special thanks go out to my amazing crew for putting in 110% and also going above and beyond even ending up in the shot as my sea of "Go State" minions. Also props go out to my production team Margaret Alonso and the folks at HG Producers www.hgproducers.com and of coarse Scott Dorman from Smalldog imageworks www.smalldoggin.com for spending many, many long hours teaming up with me on the composite and retouching.
The final composite ended up using 127 different images and took 5 days to complete, winding up at around 5 gigs in it's final layered state. The image hit the newstands on Dec. 17th in ESPN the Magazine. Check it out!
To see more work go to www.petebarrett.com
Click the image below to see it larger to see the detail of the composite. Go State!