Giving Cars Some Stick Since the Nineties

One piece of kit has helped a UK based photographer capture exactly what clients such as Bently, Peugeot and Subaru need since the nineties.
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Worcester, United Kingdom ( March 31, 2013 - One piece of kit has helped a UK based photographer capture exactly what clients such as Bently, Peugeot and Subaru need since the nineties. To the passer by, this kit looks like an extendable thick stick, something fire-fighter might use to rescue a cat from a tree, but to him, it's a trusty sword.

People might be surprised that these 'sticks' or carbon fibre automotive rigs to be more accurate can cost tens of thousands of pounds. Though on the outside they look pretty simple and easy to replicate, in reality they keep expensive camera equipment safe and take human error out of creating the perfect motion shot.

Automotive rigs have evolved since the late eighties. Now users can also extend the show with virtual rig/CGI, but without sounding big headed, this only enhances a shot if they have a deep understanding of how a car moves in the real world.

For the images here, he wanted to give a clear, sharp, and in focus shots of the car with the illusion of speed, so the vehicle being moved independently of the background. The rig is his first choice for this. It provides the most organic and realistic motion effect with the added bonus of the effect of light painting - perfect for sheet metal. As it cuts out wobble and vibration (unlike a tracking shot), while the car is moved ever so slowly at just centimetres per second, it focuses directly on the car giving a sharp image with an aptly blurred background - in essence mirroring movement how it looks in reality. Exposures can be 8 seconds for one frame, but that's enough info for now!

See how it's done here, with him and his carbon fibre rig extending to 25ft! The pictures below show Jaguar XF in Monaco, Lexus IS in South of France and the Volvo in Scotland - his rig travels far and wide!

Users can create movement after the shoot, whether they use a real or CG car and it can look extremely realistic. 'Virtual' rig movement works best with CG cars and HDR domes (see a tutorial on how to create HDRs for CGI at

To do this though; it helps if users have experience of shooting with a rig or of observing the contrast between movement and background on a delayed scale. 'Virtual' rig can be very good, but only in the right hands, so he is letting people in on some post-production secrets and on how to do it well. - this video shows how movement is created in post in the latter part of the film - 2 minutes onwards.

To learn more about Harniman Photographer, head over to his official website, where readers can view his current portfolio, past clients and get in contact with him directly. Interested visitors should head over to


Tag Words: pictures of cars, photography sites, uk photographer, professional pictures, advertising photographers, product photograph
Categories: Photography

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