Hyperactive: How To Make Supercars Look Good On Camera
Nothing about this is normal. We’re standing inside a massive WWII-era blimp hanger watching pro drifter Dean “Karnage” Kearney spin donuts around director AJ Bleyer Gymkhana-style, except he’s doing it in a multi-million-dollar Koenigsegg Agera RS Valhall, not some Subaru or Ford. What’s more, the cameras aren’t even running, Karnage is just warming up for Bleyer, who wanted a cool social post.
We’re actually here to film “Hyperactive,” what’s being billed as the world’s wildest lens test. Fujinon, the division of Fujifilm that builds camera lenses, approached Bleyer and his production company, Advent Films, with a new do-it-all box lens (more on what that is and why it matters later) and an open invitation to film whatever he wanted with it as long as it showed off the lens’ capabilities.
Usually, when someone sets out to make a video of hyper cars, the cars are the point, but since the point here was actually the lens filming the cars, what better way to show what the latest and greatest equipment can do than capturing insanely expensive cars being driven like you’d always dreamed of?
Advent Films does all kinds of projects, but Bleyer’s passion is cars, so an opportunity like this had him thinking of all the favors he could call in to get some of the coolest, most exclusive cars on the planet. Thankfully, he knows the right people and managed to pull down the Koenigsegg, a Bugatti Chiron, an Apollo IE, and a Rimac Nevera that unfortunately had to back out last second.
Since this is really a lens demonstration, there’s no plot. No one’s trying to tell a story. It’s just a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do stunts with cars most people will never see in person. The Bugatti is up first, running a slalom course around stacks of tires and drifting the 180-degree turn arounds at either end. It’s dark in here, the head and taillights of the black Chiron flashing side to side as the car jukes, jives, and drifts in the moonlight effect of the massive lights set up outside the hanger windows. This shot is intended to show off the lens’ low light capabilities.
Next up is the Koenigsegg. This time, Karnage is doing donuts in the middle of the hanger between two rows of extras in black hoodies waving flashlights to the beat of techno music. We’re in the back row on the left. On screen, the car looks much, much closer to the crowd than it actually is. Long lenses compress the background and make it look closer than it is, and this lens is really, really long; 40x-zoom long.
Last up is the Apollo IE, the latest track-only hypercar from the company that made its name with the Gumpert Apollo. Karnage is doing donuts and drifts again, this time between rows of orange and red stick lights as the screams of the 6.3-liter Ferrari V-12 echo off the walls. We forget what this shot was demonstrating, the car was too distracting.
The long shoot day wraps up the way it started, with close ups. The Chiron was shot in the dark before it started its action sequence. Now, it’s the Agera’s turn in full stage lighting, along with some dry ice mist for good measure. Here, again, what’s eye-candy for car fans is really about showing professional cinematographers all the things this single lens can do.
What’s A Box Lens?
You’re here for the cars, but the impetus for this whole video is the Fujinon HZK25-1000mm box lens. Typically used in stadiums and arenas to film live events, box lenses have incredible zoom capabilities but don’t return the same image quality as a cinematic lens. The HKZ25-1000mm does both.
Spend any time around professional camera operators and photographers and you’ll hear a lot of lens talk. They go on and on about what length lens is appropriate for each shot, constantly throwing around numbers indicating the focal length of the lenses they’re considering. Shooting an entire video like this with one lens is unheard of at this level. That’s the point. The HKZ25-1000mm can do everything from close-ups to panoramic shots, even in low light.
You get a sense of what it can do in the first few seconds of the film. From the initial zoom out shot more than 100 feet from the car to the close-up detail shots and the drifting action, It’s all the same lens. It may not sound like anything special to anyone who’s not a photographer or camera operator, but to those folks, it’s like a car that can hit 60 mph in 2 seconds flat, get 50 mpg, pull 1.1 g in the corners, haul 3000-pounds of payload, and tow 20,000 pounds. Kind of a big deal.
Photography by Hannah Bennet and Taylor Stoffers of Advent Films; used with permission.
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