American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 14

Short Takes

I

The Need for Speed
By Phil Rhodes

It's common practice for a commercial production to call for a
glossed and polished look suitable for the promotion of a major
brand. But when cinematographer Ed C. David and director Brennan
Stasiewicz set out to shoot Infiniti's Q50 Eau Rouge prototype car,
they were tasked with achieving their objectives in a single day of
documentary shooting. The promotional short Speed Is Not Enough,
shot at the storied Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, had no
script and no time for retakes - and thus, as David remembers, "no
chance to make mistakes."
David and Stasiewicz have been collaborators since 2007,
when the director was working at MTV. "We do documentary work
that has humanity and stylized visuals," explains David. Stasiewicz
adds, "He and I are like an old married couple. We have a shorthand.
I trust his eye more than anyone else. I knew I could step away and
trust what he was doing."
Such a critical day's shooting, though, was not without special
concerns. Not only was time short, but the night before, there had
been two fatalities at Le Mans - a sobering reminder of the hazards
that lay ahead. "Going to the track, the thought was: This is dangerous," the director says. "Some of the angles I decided not to take. I
didn't want to put any of my crew in harm's way."
The short film depicts a day of racing the Q50 Eau Rouge with
Formula One expert Sebastian Vettel, NASCAR driver Parker Kligerman and pool champion Xiaoting Pan. The first full-time Chinese
14

January 2015

player on the Women's Professional Billiard Association tour, Pan
had never raced before, which added another layer of contrast to
the project's onscreen participants. As Stasiewicz emphasizes, "I'm
not making a car commercial; I'm making a race film. There's a
moment in the [documentary] film Senna where [Formula One
driver Ayrton Senna] is talking about having an out-of-body experience. It was kind of shocking to me to think about the fact that
these drivers can have these transcendent, spiritual experiences
while they're in the middle of all that noise and anger and chaos.
Lofty as that is, I wanted there to be a sense of that. I think that's
what's truly beautiful about racing."
Another key inspiration was Ron Howard's film Rush, shot by
Anthony Dod Mantle, ASC, BSC, DFF (AC Oct. '13). "Rush had a
very saturated, archival look - this lush, almost Kodachrome-type
feel," comments David. Stasiewicz adds, "I wanted to get outside
of the normal color space that people associate with documentarystyle commercial work that's soft, textured, doesn't have the pedal
down on the contrast, and barely gets beyond the S-log look in
some cases."
Given they had just one day to capture all the necessary
material, David opted to use 11 cameras, with three Sony F55s as
his principal tools. "I knew the rigs had to be very small and
compact," the cinematographer notes, adding that he estimates
the F55's "usable dynamic range" to be approximately 14 stops.
"It's subjective, but that's where I rate it. And that was important;
we were shooting a racetrack that can go from bright sunlight to
➣
rain in minutes."

American Cinematographer

All images courtesy of the filmmakers.

A day of racing Infiniti's Q50 Eau Rouge prototype car is documented in the promotional short Speed Is Not Enough.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - January 2015

Contents
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - Intro
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 1
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 2
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - Contents
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 4
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 5
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 6
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 7
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 8
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 9
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American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 12
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American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 45
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 46
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 47
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 48
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K1
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K2
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K3
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K4
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K5
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K6
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K7
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K8
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K9
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K10
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K11
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K12
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American Cinematographer - January 2015 - Cover3
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