Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hot Pursuit Goes to Italy

High up on the swirling roads of the majestic Italian Alps, 10 miles from Cortina D’Ampezzo, in a mountain pass known as Passo di Falzarego, were possibly the only two vehicles on the planet able to rival the surrounding scenery in a beauty contest – the Pagani Zonda Cinque and a police Lamborghini Murcielago LP640.
So what were they doing there? Trying to create a real-life, full-motion video recreation of the Need for Speed Hot Pursuit box art. And why Italy? Three simple reasons: 1) It is close to some of our closest automotive partners (in fact, this region is known as the “capital of engines”, near the headquarters of Pagani, Lamborghini, Maserati and more); 2) the hair-raising mountain scenery has a striking resemblance to Hot Pursuit’s beautiful Seacrest County; and 3) great espresso!
With only five examples of the Pagani Zonda Cinque in existence, getting one of the owners to give up their car was an unlikely proposition, so an alternative was proposed. For the filming, the good folks at Pagani built a Zonda Cinque prototype out of their workhorse development Zonda – a process supervised entirely by Horacio Pagani himself, who was involved in the project from start to finish.
Creating the Zonda’s chiseled exterior was only half the challenge. Replicating its trademark banshee wail – one of the most unique and remarkable engine notes in the automotive world – was done meticulously and appears in the video as well as inHot Pursuit. In fact, a separate audio recording session was done with the Cinque.
The Murcielago, originally painted slate gray, was affixed with cop lights provided by a film studio in Vancouver and sent to Lamborghini’s official body shop in Modena, Italy to be wrapped in black-and-white Seacrest County PD livery.
With about two million dollars in sexy Italian supercars roaring around the Dolomites, we had a helicopter to film the chase, with a $500,000 Cineflex camera – frequently used by news, police, military, and high-end film crews – strapped to its nose. And since we had so much fun wrapping the Lambo in SCPD colors, we figured we’d give the chopper the same treatment.
Of course, no live-action representation of the breakneck, high-impact action racing of Hot Pursuit would be complete without professional stunt drivers – don’t try this stuff at home, folks – and we had two of the best. Behind the wheel of the Murcielago was Marc Hennerici, and piloting the Zonda was Marc Basseng. They are known as two world-class stunt drivers, and when they’re not defying death at high speeds for Need for Speed, they’re doing the same on a popular German TV show.
Now that we had the cars, equipment, and drivers, we needed someone to shoot the film. For this project, we got one of the few production houses on the planet with hands-on Zonda experience, Runimation Studios, and director Robert Eder, who shot theofficial ad for the Zonda R earlier this year. And having seen his work, we knew he was the perfect guy to capture a true Need for Speed project.
No effort was spared to make this unique shoot come together. We can’t wait for you to see the video once it’s finished. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, check out the Need for Speed Hot Pursuit demo to get a sense of what we were trying to capture on film.

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