AUDI R8 SPIN TV Commercial by Director Mark Jenkinson
Usually in my profession, I’m presented with fleshed out scripts from advertising agencies that I then then develop and film. On rare occasions however, I get to help concept and write the ideas myself.
This Audi R8 commercial Evolution - Revolution I made over 3 years ago helped start my commercials directing career, so when BBH (Audi’s advertising agency) asked if I wanted to make a follow up film I got very excited. It was important that the new film be just as impressive but in no way the same. It had to stand alone and wow viewers with something never seen before. Not an easy brief!
First Audi R8 Evolution - Revolution Spot
The agency wanted to create one of the classic Audi rings with an R8 doughnut tyre mark. With this idea I developed a way to shoot the car in super slow motion whilst travelling around it 360 degrees as it performed a doughnut. When I described the shot to the agency they looked at me and said “Wow! But How?”. I didn’t fully know how at that stage, but i had a good idea of a way it might be possible to achieve.
The idea came from the Selfie Stick, a novel invention used to film oneself on the move. The automobile version of this is a large robotic arm that is mounted to a cars roof and controlled from inside the car. Usually it films another car driving along side but i was sure it could be used to film back on itself. We built a custom rig to carry the robotic arm on the R8’s roof and engine bay. Next I needed a driver that was able to push the R8 as hard a possible to over ride its on board computer systems. The problem was that they could detect when the car was going into a spin and then it would cut power to help the car regain control. We obviously needed the car to be in a perfect spin for the idea to work. To make matters worse, the added weight of the arm on the roof meant the R8 had even more grip preventing it spinning. Ronnie, our amazing driver pushed the car to its limits to get it to spin and then carefully rode the throttle to keep the power going to the wheels and the spin going round.
While this was happening, another team controlled the rotation of the arm, the pan of the camera and the focus of the lens on the car flying past it. The whole shot took about 4 seconds in real time but when played back in slow motion, it lasted 60!
Personally, I love how this very powerful car can look so graceful whilst going performing full speed doughnut. Here’s a behind the scenes film