Il Draggo Ruggenti

Now here’s a challenge – a shoot at Brooklands (no track left) and a car that won’t run. And we need action shots…

The day started well when the car, John Simister and I all arrived at the same time and in one piece, and the weather looked perfect. The car “Il Draggo Ruggenti” is effectively a home-built special with a WWI aero engine and parts from various vintage cars. It’s insane. A fire-spitting monster, louder than the apocalypse but much funnier. Everyone who saw it loved it, with the Brooklands offices emptying to see what was up.

We managed to get it running on the very small part of the original Brooklands banking preserved as part of the museum and got a couple of panning shots in the bag.

I thought I do some statics on the banking too, and with astonishing (and unusual) foresight I asked John to sit in the car, just in case I could do something with them afterwards.

The we took the insanity down to the Mercedes-Benz track as they’d kindly offered us some running over lunch. Whereupon it refused to start, much to the disappointment of everyone who’d turned out to watch the spectacle. We tried to half and hour and then gave up.

So, the upshot of all this is creating a dynamic shot from static images, which is where the amazing Virtual Rig Studio software comes into play. It’s extremely expensive but gets you out of trouble when you really need it, along with offering amazing creative potential if you shoot with it in mind from the off.

It creates curved blurs, at varying intensities, through an image. Also accepting alpha channels, you can layer an image up to a really convincing rig shot, given the time.

The devil is definitely in the details though, as in this case the wheels weren’t turning, so you have to cut them out and blur them individually and then comp them back in. Previously I’ve jacked a car up and spun the wheel by hand with a long exposure to get the effect in-camera. Much easier!