Neiman Marcus Limited Edition Ford Mustang

A Horse of a Different Color

A day spent at Texas Motor Speedway can usually be counted on to be a fun day.
When you get to spend it down on the track, shooting a sports car, then it’s a great day. We had the pleasure of working with Stewart Cohen Pictures and Neiman Marcus creative director Tim Flannery, shooting and retouching a beautiful pony – a Limited Edition Ford Mustang offered by Neiman Marcus in the Holiday Fantasy Gift Catalog.

This was Texas in July, and the temperature on the tarmac had to be over 110°F. I had an air conditioning unit running in the capture tent to cool the computers. We were shooting on our Phase One cameras with IQ180 backs. We tried to keep them shaded with flags, but even so they would occasionally overheat and give us trouble. Since we have two of these cameras and backs, we could swap them out if they started to hesitate. A few minutes in front of the AC unit and they were ready for another turn on the track. We use Firewire Cables from Granite Digital but even those began to suffer. I left one laying on the tarmac too long and it became so soft it felt like it was filled with liquid and has never worked again.

The task we were given was to create an image of two cars speeding across the finish line together. The pair needed to look like they were being shot from a car rolling with them.
However, we only had one car, and it needed to be shot standing still.
Oh, and the empty grandstand had to be filled with spectators in post production.
We wanted to capture the motion with the still camera, so we shot still and motion backplate options. Then the car was placed in each of two positions. Again, we shot it still and with motion, shooting separate motion plates for the wheels.

All this was handed off to Mary Brandt, our Creative Director. She and her team handled the labor and artistically intensive process of building the final image. I was really excited about the project, and it was hard to keep it under wraps until the image was released in the catalog.

It’s a very fun and challenging process to partner with photographers for this kind of Photo Illustration. We can provide everything from cameras to workstations at the shoot. We work with photographers on different locations, with props and talent, creating the assets that make this post production workflow possible. In a day when the creation of challenging images is often handed off to CGI, it is always satisfying to work with a photographer who has the talent to visualize the final image in parts and the trust in us to assist building a library of photographically created elements. The final image takes Mary’s artistic talent, but creating the components for her to work with is always part of the team experience. We work very closely with photographers and art directors throughout the entire process from capture through post production.

We appreciate Stewart Cohen Pictures and Neiman Marcus making us part of the team and taking us along on this ride.