- Friday, May. 22, 2015
Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon got back behind the wheel of his iconic No. 24 Chevrolet SS in a spot for Panasonic that first debuted during broadcasts of Daytona's Speedweeks events in February. The :30 spot demonstrating the Panasonic Toughbook 54's ruggedness will continue airing throughout the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season.
Directed by the team of Mortimer Jones through Wondersmith for advertising agency Sigma Group, the spot entitled "Celebratory Burnout" shows Gordon's No. 24 car taking the checkered flag at Daytona and then performing a signature burnout on the track. A Toughbook 54 is shown being put to use by the crewmembers in their work and in their victory celebration.
Sigma Group's project team was led by creative directors Tim Stapleton and Nikolay Nikolov, agency producer Alyson Watson and senior account executive Kelly Mastrojohn. "Together with executives from Sigma and Panasonic, we all worked hard to show the Toughbook in use in a race setting, where we could demonstrate its unique toughness," said Mortimer Jones. "The best ideas always seem to happen when the collaborative lines are open, and we all are very proud of how this turned out."
Shooting on location at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Wondersmith's crew led by Mortimer Jones, executive producer Joe Murray, director of photography Adam Stone and VFX lead Byron Nash put a lot of effort into planning the shoot. "It was a pretty large rigging job," Murray explained. "We had cameras hanging off the race car on both sides, cameras mounted inside and on a pursuit vehicle for one shot. For the final scene, we used a drone to capture footage from about 50 feet in the air."
ARRI Amiras were used for principal photography, with Blackmagic Cinema Cameras used for dashboard cams and a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 for the drone shots.
By all accounts, the major challenge during production was the limited amount of time the production team had with Gordon himself, but with diligent planning they were able to get everything they needed (including Gordon doing his own burnouts, of course) within just a few hours.
Wondersmith's Murray also talked about his colleagues' visual effects contributions that went into perfecting the spot. "Anyone who has visited a NASCAR track knows that logos are everywhere, so part of Byron's work was removing a lot of those," he explained. "We also added crowds in the stands, lit up the speedway's leaderboard tower and replaced flat gray skies with more dramatic ones. While we only shot three cars on the track, we multiplied those in some scenes to show a bigger finish to the race."
The complete post-production toolset consisted of Apple's Final Cut Pro for editing, and Adobe After Effects for VFX clean-up and compositing. Additional credits for Wondersmith include editor Chris Walldorf and post creative director Thom Blackburn. Final color was handled by Alex Bickel of Color Collective in New York, and the spot's music track was composed by Chris Walldorf and Patrick Boyd.
To learn more about the Panasonic Toughbook, please visit http://panasonic.com/toughbook.
Wondersmith is the Charlotte, North Carolina-based creative production company. Home to proven specialists creating breakthrough branded content for screens of all sizes, Wondersmith serves brands and their agencies that use smart storytelling, bold content and flawless execution to set themselves apart. From creative contributions to location productions anywhere in the world – and top-tier animation, visual effects, editing and finishing – tap the power of Wondersmith by calling 1.704.332.4040, or visiting http://wondersmith.tv.