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Capturing An Amazing Story - Dreaming Gamer Turns Pro Racer!

Matthew Simmons, winner of the Nissan GT Academy 2015

Background story

Over the past few months we’ve been lucky enough to be involved in a remarkable story that has seen the dreams of one Australian postman, Matt Simmons, turned into reality. Matt took part in a global competition that turns gamers into real racing drivers through the PlayStation game Gran Turismo - he dreamed of becoming a racing driver and had his dream delivered! As the winner of the Nissan 2015 International GT Academy Matt’s previous occupation of postman and part-time gamer has been transformed into full-time racing driver with a $1M contract. Read the incredible full story here.


The process

To give you an idea of the information we had to work to going into the shoot and how we overcame inevitable problems along the way, dealing with such a unique shoot. We’ve been working closely with a creative agency in getting visuals signed-off for this particular commission. It’s a collaboration of many people working towards getting a visual signed-off by the client that’s as close to the desired result as possible before any imagery being taken.

At point of producing the actual imagery we had the following signed-off:

- Positioning of the driver and the car within the frame
- Perspective between driver (foreground) and racing car (background)
- Focus drop off from front to back
- Background colour (white/grey/dark)
- Lighting style - usually ascertained via mood boards and test shots prior to shoot
- Driver attire - racing leathers/gloves/boots etc
- Hair and make-up signed off for driver look and feel
- Any props required (chair and playstation in our case)

We needed the car delivered to the studio, which on this occasion we had nothing to do with, but from what I understand its was not as straight forward as first thought. An embargo was required on the vehicle, and on delivery we realised it had no electrics enabled and the fairing of the race car itself meant we couldn’t load the car onto the wheel trolleys. It took a bit of work but we got over the initial problems. Being a racing car the turning circle was not great so after about a 25 point turn we managed to get it into position in the studio!

Once we had the car in position we set about lighting the beast. We tried some different options on lighting the car itself. We used daylight lamps reflected off the surfaces to create shape and form over the vehicle and also painted the light over car during a long exposure of around 10 seconds to cover ourselves for using the shot on light or dark backgrounds. This involved my assistant dressing in a black cloak to avoid any light bouncing off their clothing creating light trails. We shot many files lighting different areas of the car and focusing on particular sections that would then later be used in Photoshop to merge various layers. This would all be carried out by one of our expert retouchers to produce the perfect composite image. As always with composite imagery it was paramount that the camera remain stationery to aid the retoucher and also importantly to keep the costs down to a minimum. 




In the end, the project came together really well and we managed to create various versions of the final image of the car on slightly adjusted angles. We also shot a large range of images of the racing driver, Matt Simmons, for the client to go through and pick their favourite image.




For this particular job we were shooting on the Phase One XF with the IQ3 digital back. We used this to ensure that maximum quality was achieved in all imagery as the images were sectioned for web, print and potential bill board scale. All lighting was a mix of continuous lights and Profoto strobes and lots of reflectors and flags.



Matt’s story is hard not to get excited about, and working on the shoot was thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding. Shoots like this involve a huge amount of research and organisation but once it’s finished and everyone has done there job the results are brilliant. A real team effort and looking forward to working with these guys much more in the future. Good luck Matt!



If you want to enquire about any of our services then please don't hesitate to get in touch. We would love to work with you in creating imagery that represents your brand in the best possible way.





Hair and Makeup was done by Aimee Garner MUA, who ensured the driver was looking his best throughout the shoot.

Photographic assistant was Frasershot Studios’ very own Jo Cameron.



Nissan GT Academy