IFMAR Worlds Edit – Day 31

Even though it’s day 31 of the edit, with the exception of a bit of editing on the flight out to DNC I haven’t really touched the IFMAR edit. These past 10 days were purely about my 2nd sequel in the “Come Drive With Us” Series: DNC II.

The only work I did for the IFMAR movie this week was to do a couple interviews with Ryan Maifield and Ty Tessmann asking them a few questions about the Worlds Final; more specifically if there’s anything they would do differently. I also managed to get a critical story straight…and it’s going to be a bit of a bomb-shell 😉

20 Years of DNC

It’s truly amazing to me that “The Dirt” Nitro Challenge was run for the 20th time this year. It’s a real success story and show-cases the marketing genius that Joey Christensen really is. While the race started in Hemet California, for the past 10 years or so (I can’t remember exactly), the DNC has been synonymous with Phoenix Arizona.

My very first DNC was in 2013; I believe that was the 2nd year at Fear Farm; so that location is all I really knew, but I was introduced to a re-occurring DNC Theme…


The next year, I filmed my 2nd episode of “Come Drive With Us”. The weather that year was perfect so it made for an enjoyable filming experience. I returned (as a racer) for the 2015, 2016 & 2018 DNCs and even though some of these years were grueling, as a fan of this sport, I loved every minute of it. While qualifying at 2:45 am in 2016 wasn’t a highlight for me, I always understood the importance of this event and what it did for the industry as a whole.

“I don’t know why anyone who doesn’t have to be here would come to this race…”

– Anonymous pro-driver

While I completely understand this pro-drivers point of view, I do think there is a very simple answer to this statement:

Because it’s a chance to struggle along side the best drivers in the world for 5 days on an impossible track with equally impossible conditions and to see how fast the pro drivers really are.

It’s not all Unicorns & Rainbows

Philip Mortstedt shooting stills at the 2017 DNC

I absolutely love this race; it’s why I have referenced it over & over in my series. It is the “Anaheim 1” of R/C! So it makes me a bit sad to write this, but this 20th running of the DNC didn’t feel like a DNC to me. Don’t get me wrong, the race was well put together, and Joey and his crew did an absolutely stellar job; especially given all the challenges they were faced in putting on the Nitro Challenge. The Venue was also top-notch. While my feet HATED it, my Camera gear absolutely LOVED the asphalt pits.

Most importantly, this race (IMO) remains as Anaheim 1. There are just a few things that made this 20th running feel unlike any other DNC:

The Iconic Driver-Stand

Yes, this is a thing for me; and it’s most likely because I’m a photo nerd.

Granted, this structure was already gone last year and was replaced by a make-shift “Sea Can” style stand…so even last years DNC didn’t quite have the same feel to me…and maybe it’s the missing “Welcome to the DNC” banner…regardless, the loss of this structure takes just a little bit away for me.

Walking up the stairs of the old Fear Farm stand we were always greeted by the ceremonial “The Dirt” shovel; to our left was the staircase of broken dreams (drivers leaving the stand) and to our right were the hopeful few (drivers entering the stand).

Once on the stand, the track reveal made you realize that for the next 5-7 minutes…

…your life would be hell.

Media Coverage

In years past this race drew in every media outlet in the industry. In addition to LiveRC, the O’Brien brothers & Riccardo Acciari of RedRC would make the trip as would Phil with Arno in tow from Neobuggy. It seems that Phil has moved on to bigger and better things, but it just takes away the grandeur of this race without the full ensemble of media folk. RC Car Action was missing and RC Insider has shut-down but Chris from was there all the way from France for his very first DNC…but for me it’s just not the way it used to be.

Blown Out Track

“It’s the Nitro Challenge, not the Nitro Easy…”

– Everyone

While the track at every DNC I raced on was challenging, this one looked like the it was on an entirely different level of “challenge” than years past. It was beyond “Character” or “Personality”…I think it was even beyond “freaking rough” as Joe Bornhorst would say. I didn’t get to race at RCToLV when it got blown out; and while the 2016 Worlds looked horrific to drive on, the drivers of this years DNC said it was worse than that. It was so rough in-fact, that it drew more than a few comparisons to the Boulder Nevada Silver State Races of old!

When I shoot a full episode, I don’t race; and quite often I really wish I could have competed. Especially with tracks like the 2016 Southern Nationals track, the 2015 ROAR Nationals track or the Neo Race. I did not get even an inkling of desire to drive this year’s DNC track.

Still an Iconic Event

The weather sucked. The driver stand didn’t have the “Titanic-ish” grand staircase. The track was blown out…

…but the 2019 Nitro Challenge was still an iconic event. This is a race that I will always say every enthusiast of this sport absolutely has to race once in their life. This track, more than any other DNC Track from recent memory, really separated the top drivers from the rest of the pack.

While my first DNC “Come Drive With Us” featured Ty Tessmann winning both Nitro Classes, DNC II will show how Ryan Maifield accomplished this same feat. Of all the Veteran racers, at 32 Ryan continues to impress me the most. He quite literally gave a pants-down spanking to everyone in the Truggy main; in Buggy it wasn’t quite so painful for his competitors, it was still a decisive victory however. Even though he wasn’t the fastest driver on the track (Phend, Ongaro & Tessmann to name a few were all faster), his 94% consistency on this cratered track was unmatched and helped give him the win with a 1 lap cushion. Considering the field that he was competing against this was an amazing accomplishment. Adam’s closing thoughts on this topic are absolutely epic…but y’all are going to have to wait for the episode to see who he called out!!! #Sorry #NotSorry

While Maifield’s wins were impressive, the highlight for me was the 18 burnouts I did with my Hemi powered Dodge Challenger Rental Car! I currently have a C7 reserved for Silver State…but we’ll see if Budget will rent me another car…ever again…

Reno…next year we drag-race ’em!!!

*Photo Credits: Rugspin Graphix & Neobuggy.Net

IFMAR Worlds Edit – Day 19

Given that I’m leaving for the 20th running of “The Dirt” Nitro Challenge tomorrow, I’m not sure how much I’ll be working on the IFMAR edit over the next week or so.

I started editing the first of the footage though.

Like the Vegas worlds, I’m starting this Episode with a recap of the past two years. This episode basically starts immediately after the 2016 IFMAR Worlds ended.

There were some cool shots that just didn’t fit into the end of the Vegas Worlds Movie, so like the 2016 episode, this one will have a significant “Cold Open”. Because the 2016 Worlds were domestic, I certainly was a lot more active at shooting B-Roll for those worlds at various events. I believe I did B-Roll shoots at DNC, Silver State, the Pro-Line Gas Champs and the Worlds Warm Up race. I don’t have nearly as much footage for this one so the lead-up to the episode likely won’t be 20 minutes like it was for the last Nitro Worlds.

It’s still got some great stories though!

  • CJ Jelin’s first race as a Pro
  • Jared Tebo on his future (Closing off theme initiated at the Xiamen Worlds)
  • Ryan Maifield pulling off a trifecta of Pro-Class wins at DNC’17
  • Ty’s streak of bad-luck in 2017
  • First foreign driver winning the DNC’18
  • But wait…there’s MORE!

So I end this week with the “Cold Open” completed. Now I’m starting on the Opening Credit Sequence. I haven’t quite decided on what this will look like yet; sometimes I get ambitious/inspired and do a full-on After Effects motion graphics intro; other times I keep it pretty simple. Since I did a cool intro sequence for Silver State II, and have a really awesome one planned for JBRL, for the sake of consistency I think I have to do something for the Perth Worlds movie too.

Now to send a whack of e-mails to a few music providers to get the licensing process initiated. Going for an Ozzie (thanks Ben hehe) theme with the opening credits music, but I have to deal with Warner Chappell for the first time. I wish I had a PA for this part of the job…hate it!!!

New B-Camera!

After forgetting my Electronic View-Finder for my A-Camera and having to spend $184 to have it shipped to me in Australia, I am glad that I packed my B-Camera. However, it is another full-size production camera
(SONY FS700R); so it made my Carry-On really freaking big. I started doing this for the 2017 season and it hasn’t been an issue until Qantas Airways. They’re real dicks sticklers on the size & weight of Carry-On and made me check one of my carry-on bags which made me more than a little nervous. So I kept my A & B cameras, Laptop & Lenses and let them take my drone and clothes. Worst case scenario, no aerial footage and I’d be filming in my underwear. Fortunately there were no issues with any of my luggage but I had everything with me to successfully complete the production.

At the worlds I noticed that Mat McCallum was filming a video for the all new RCGP series on a Sony A7III. I believe that David Ronnefalk’s official Videographer was using the same camera (could be wrong on the model, but it was definitely a SONY alpha). So when I got home I rented an A7R III to do testing to see if it would work for the Cinematography I do for my series. I ended up doing an internal team video for Ledcor with this camera exclusively and it worked out great!

So I bought one.

SONY A7R III Mounted atop a DJI RONIN-S Gimbal

In keeping with my light-weight theme, I also picked up a DJI Ronin-S Gimbal. When compared with my Ronin 1 setup (below), it’s a huge savings in both size and weight. My DNC trip will be the first time out with this new B-Camera setup.

The FS700R Mounted on my DJI RONIN 1 weighs in at just under 20 lbs.

I still might bring my Ronin 1 along to DNC for use with my A-Camera but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if it just stayed in the case for the entire 5 days.

If you’re coming to the Nitro Challenge be sure to stop by the Pro-Line Truck and say “Hi”.

IFMAR Worlds Edit – Day 14

Hard to believe I’ve been working on this Movie for two weeks now! Some of you may not know this, but I actually have a day-job completely unrelated to Video Production (for now). I am a manager of an I.T. Team at a 3 Billion Dollar / Year construction company called Ledcor. So all the productions I create are in addition to my day-job. Never the less, as much of my free time that I can spare has been dedicated to this Episode.

I was actually on one of my many business trips for Ledcor, sitting at YVR waiting for my flight home when I finished watching & tagging the last of the footage. Final count is 2,599 shots; I’ve never actually counted, but I think that I typically use approximately 300-600 shots in the final cut.

The Footage

Given the pressure at a worlds and the aforementioned “Challenges” I had on this shoot (I stand by my words), I’m really happy with the footage. The story lines are really good and will make for a compelling episode. I ran across a few shots that I would like to talk a bit about.

Father & Son

The first one is a beautiful moment shared by a Father and Son. This isn’t a new theme for “Come Drive With Us” as I touched on it at Surf City, but I found a new perspective on the Father/Son dynamic. Finishing in the 183rd spot was a youngster named Mica Thompson; he was quite disappointed with his performance; he just couldn’t quite figure out the critical double-triple combination. His Dad, unlike a lot of other RC Dads I’ve come across over my 25 years in this sport, was there supporting him all the way. This shot really says it all:

Statler & Waldorf: Famous Hecklers

Granted the sport of RC is still a “Hobby” for the Thompsons and the stakes aren’t as high for them as other Father/Son teams in the industry. Mica’s dad really did show what the role of an RC Parent should be. Supporter…not the angry heckler. Hopefully as Mica starts to take the sport of RC more seriously, he and his father keep focus and always remember that this is how it should be. The last thing we need in this sport are more Muppets (insert laugh track).

The Incumbent

I saw this shot upon my first walk of the track. I knew the angle I had everything planned out and was ready for the shot. You would think it would have been as simple as waiting for the required Buggy and hitting Record, but I literally tried taking this shot for 7 days! Each time I thought the moment was right, either the driver would take the jump in the wrong spot, or I had the wrong buggy, or the wind wasn’t behaving, or, or or…

I have all but given up on this shot. Until the even Semi-Final, when I noticed that the wind was finally blowing in the right direction. I set my focus and waited for David Ronnefalk to take the Step-Up Jump. Nailed it on the first take; it’s a wonderful Slow-Motion Shot. I did two more takes on subsequent laps, but the first one was the best one.

David Ronnefalk over the Step-Up

I’m not going to Lie; I do wish that there was a Canadian Flag here, and I was tempted to do a midnight swap…but this shot is definitely a keeper. With David being the incumbent IFMAR World Champion, this shot will have a place of prominence in the final cut. It has to! I WAITED 7 DAYS TO GET IT!!!

Detailed Synopsis

I’m sure there are more than a few shots I will come across over the next few weeks that might be blog-worthy, but for now it’s onto the next step. While tagging all the footage, I’ve also been working on a fairly detailed synopsis.

The synopsis for this episode is the most detailed one I’ve created; in point of fact, for Silver State II I dove right into the edit and that one worked out not too badly. I’m curious to see what affect (if any) this will have on the Perth Worlds edit. Today I am still making a couple decisions, like what the opening scene will be, then I’m going to go through the Synopsis again visualizing what this movie might look like. Finally, it will be time for my favorite part of the project…


IFMAR Worlds Edit – Day 7

I pretty much finished reviewing the media coverage of the worlds last weekend. Found some really good stuff that I TOTALLY forgot happened! My pal Daniel “Coogs” Cuglietta also pointed me to a VLOG by Lee Martin & Chris James that shared some really good insights also. Check it out; it’s a pretty good:

…although…I don’t think its name is applicable…

Lee Martin Sending it at the Xiamen Worlds…pretty sure this one needed a marshal…

Since last Monday, I’ve been watching the footage I shot at MORBC. There are definitely some gems here.

5150’s new DJI Mavic II Pro at Pinnacles Park in Western Australia

For many CDWU shoots, I walk away from it disappointed with my Aerial shots. I think that just might have been because of the budget drone I was using (Free isn’t always better). Just prior to the Auzzie Worlds, I purchased a DJI Mavic II Pro and am super happy with the shots! Especially the Hyper-lapse shots I took of the track.

2,944 SHOTS!!!

Over the years I’ve developed a nice clean folder structure that works for me; it makes it easy to find clips when I need them; even if I’m outside of my editing suite (Adobe Premiere). Given the volume of shots that I tend to take whilst on a CDWU shoot; having a clean folder structure is crucial.

This part really sucks…

While my A & B Camera’s both have the ability to manipulate the naming of clips slightly, they’re still not overly descriptive.

This is an example of the file names coming off of my SONY Cameras. While this naming convention helps me during the cagaloging process, the only thing I really know for sure is that this clip is from the 5th practice round. I have no clue whatsoever what the contents of this clip is. So before the edit can start, I need to give this clip a good name. This way, if I need a shot of various drivers wrenching, all I will need to do in Premiere is filter for ‘Wrenching’ and every single shot of this type will come up.

Saturday P5 – Tanner Stees Wrenching

Turns out this was a shot of Tanner Stees wrenching on his XRAY Buggy.

1 Down…2943 to go…

No Pain…No Shot!

As I’ve been going through, and calaloging all my footage I’ve come across a few shots with some stories behind them. I suppose I’m known as being a bit crazy when it comes to getting the perfect shot. My fellow media pals have often said

“You’re Insane!”

And they just might be onto something.

At most IFMAR Worlds I tend to get in-field shots during all practice rounds as well as the all warm-up sessions in the qualifiers. This would not be allowed at these worlds; which I’m fine with. What this did mean however, was that I would be getting shots of the top drivers that I would be covering, who were on the track with…shall we say…lesser drivers.

I really wanted to get a shot on the opposite side of the Step-Up as it had a perfect angle on the jump as well as the Driver Stand. The catch was…my back would be to a double jump on a corner. I hunched over so that if I did get hit, my Camera would be fine.

The good news; I got my shot!!!

The bad news…it took two Buggies (one in the shoulder and one to the ribs) to get the shots I needed of all the top drivers from this angle…

Anyways…I’m about halfway through Cataloging; next up will be creating a synopsis of sorts and then the edit really starts…

*Feature photo credit: NeoBuggy.Net