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Matthew Kerins

Shooting Top Gear style promo! Tips???

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I'm shooting a Top Gear style promo in November and would love any tips anybody has on making it look as professional as possible.

Thanks in advance.


Matt Kerins


Tealeaf Productions.

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One thing that always stuck out to me is the use of Grad ND's in an extreme way. Although, they could just be doing a power window in Resolve.

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Bit of both, I think.


Shoot from the back of a range rover a lot.


The only direct intelligence I can offer came from someone who worked on it, which was "shoot the poop out of it, then shoot the poop out of it again."


It was a bit spray-and-pray, from what I gather.

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I used to work at the post house that did Top Gear and they shot a lot of material for the sequences. Some Grads and filters were used on the cameras and a very aggressive grade is applied in post - think additional grads, vignettes and crushed blacks.


A lot of the top gear look is in the editing, its very choppy and they like mixed frame rates.


As long as you get plenty of coverage and lots of dynamic moving shots - the rest of the look can be constructed in the edit/grade. Even back in the digi-beta days (of yore) it looked pretty good. Back then it was graded on Poggle - but Davinchi now will give you a similar toolset at a fraction of the cost.


In terms of coverage its worth watching a few episodes with notepad and looking at what shot sizes and coverage they are using - to give a starting point.

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I'm not sure what they are (were recently) doing for slow mo recently. If it were me, I'd be looking into an FS700, on a budget. Phantom if not, of course!


Be prepared for lengthy waits for downloading FS700 slowmo.



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Pretty sure they used to use Phantom, recently who knows.... The first HD episode was varicam, the old tape version shooting mixed frame rates (the avid conform was very painful)


Budget not really an issue on Top Gear


Slowmo on a budget - the Sony RX10 ii - is worth checking out. It looks great at 250fps and 500fps might work for some situations. Quite close to FS700 in quality and much cheeper. The only downside is the shorter 2 second record time and missing shots - but its workable and cuts out the lengthy FS700 download waits.


I used it on a shoot last month to save money vs FS700 - its nearly as good for 1/3 the rental price. I might break my "don't buy camera rule" and get one - as its a good little workhorse for experimental/budget/promos.

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