Friday, February 9, 2024

The Making of "The GTR Run Tokyo" by HartnettMedia (and my role in it!)

 A few months ago, my friend Dino contacted me - "hey you want your 33 to become the most famous 33 in the world?" with "Pennzoil wants to do a little something, so I am working on a project"

Of course, I had no idea what he was talking about. But the end result was this:

Ok so here is some background information.

First, Dino and Alec had me show up VERY early to the Hakone Turnpike. That is where Dino introduced me to Ben Hartnett and Chris Hofstaetter.  The guys drove a Nissan Serena minivan that Nissan had lent them, and Dino of course came in his 34.  A few minutes after I arrived, Sudo-san pulls up, NOT in his 32, but driving a flatbed truck that carried his 32! 

Then our first challenge of the day - it turned out that the original section where Dino and Ben wanted to film was closed to the public - apparently Ferrari Japan was renting it out for their own video shoot! Undeterred, we took some side roads and found some other good places.

Then, we had to also find a place for Sudo-san to park his truck where he could unload the 32. But after that, the magic happened.  

Here are some photos I took while waiting to be told what to do and how to drive.

Closer up, but without Mt Fuji in the background.

After a few back and forth scenes, we parked. This is where we tried to choreograph getting into our cars at the same time. Clearly, we are neither actors nor coordinated.

Same shot, I was experimenting with the exposure setting. Was hard to balance getting the background to show while keeping the foreground coloring accurate. 

Trying another angle...

Around noontime, I actually had to go back into Yokohama as I had meetings at work. Lucky for me, the cars were running out of gas and so we headed into Atami to get gas.  It was then when I decided to not bother driving back but have Chris take over - turns out he is a 33 fan so was THRILLED at being able to  drive my car.  All the evening shots of the cars on these roads, that is him driving, not me!

And of course, having been dropped off at Atami station as they went to look for a gas station, I  took this train back into Yokohama:

But of course, this was only part of the plan.  The next day, Friday night, I found myself driving my car at night, meeting up with Dino and crew at a Parking Area outside Tokyo.  Somehow, several random Japanese Skyline GT-R owners were also there, so we invited them to tag along and include them in the night filming.

All I will say is, it was FREEZING cold... which made for great turbo boost of course. But the Japanese guys were super excited about their luck, and one youung guy just happaned to be an avid Ben Hartnett fan and was literally gushing with joy at being able to shake Ben's hand and take a photo with him.

Ben and Alec plotting

Yep, we have seen this 33 before... original LM paint, too!

Lots of waiting. It reminded me of the one time I was an extra in a movie.  Many retakes, from various angles, with most of my time spent waiting.

Staying inside the car to stay warm!

Obviously no shots of me actually driving at night since of course I was boring and followed all the speed limits, driving in a safe, controlled and mature manner, as befitting my job and position in society. Right...

Anyway, we called it quits at about 0500 just as the sun was about to come up. I can see from the finished project that a lot of what we did not make it into the final cut, but that is to be expected in the editing process.  Still, I had fun and it really is nice to be memorialized in this way by a real professional cinematographer.

Thank you Ben, Dino, Alec and Chris!! Hope to meet up with you guys again soon!


Anonymous said...

This was an epic video. I was so excited when I saw your car pop up at the beginning! Couldn’t get enough of your exhaust sound 😎

Aki said...

Thanks buddy!