‘Gran Turismo’ DP Details How He Filmed “Aggressive” Racing Scenes: “We Wanted To Make It Look Real”
Cinematographer Jacques Jouffret aimed to give audiences the thrill of auto racing Gran Turismo, Neill Blomkamp’s upcoming feature adaptation of the best-selling racing video game. “They’re going to see a race car like they’ve never seen it before,” he asserted during a presentation hosted by Sony at the 2023 NAB Show in Las Vegas.
From Sony Pictures and PlayStation Productions, the Aug. 11 release is based on the story of Jann Mardenborough, a teenage Gran Turismo player whose gaming skills won a series of Nissan competitions to become an actual professional race car driver. “This is the true story of this young man. Some very tragic and happy experiences happened to him. Neil really wanted to recreate those moments,” says Jouffret.
The DP describes the look as a sort of stylized documentary. “We wanted to make it look real, you don’t want it to feel like it’s a computer game,” Jouffret says, adding though that it also had to offer a hint of the game. “We needed to increase some angles that the people who play the game could recognize right off the bat.”
In capturing the realism, he adds, “those cars are brutal, they are aggressive. They look beautiful on the outside, but the inside experience is quite something and they wanted to give the audience that experience.”
For filming, Jouffret chose Sony’s Venice 2 cameras using its Rialto extension system that effectively detaches the sensor from the camera body. This allowed the filmmakers to put cameras in the very tight spaces inside the cars, just as the filmmakers on Top Gun: Maverick used this system to put these camera devices inside fighter jets.
“I knew I needed to put at least three cameras inside the cockpit,” the DP says of why he chose this camera system for Gran Turismo, adding that he also applied its remote capabilities to control exposure while filming on the tracks. “There was no other way we could have made the movie.”
Jouffret and his team used as many as 20 cameras on the tracks, shooting long takes of the cars in action. “Those cars are very fragile,” he explains. “They can break at any time because they’re running at such a high speed. So we knew that every time we send those cars on the track we must catch as much footage as possible. Then the other aspect of that was, just keeping things somewhat loose.”
PlayStation Productions’ head producer Carter Swan adds that they filmed on tracks around the world. “Racing is very international. We wanted to give everybody their kind of moment on screen and honor styles of racing around the world. As a gamer and a race fan, it was great to see these different looks, these different places. It keeps it exciting.”
Gran Turismo stars Archie Madekwe as Mardenborough and David Harbour, Orlando Bloom, Djimon Hounsou, Darren Barnett, Daniel Puig, Josha Stradowski, Thomas Kretschmann and Geri Halliwell-Horner.
Series based on PlayStation properties such as Twisted Metal (Peacock), God of War (Amazon) and Horizon Zero Dawn (Netflix) are also on the way. “Obviously a lot of other stuff is in development that we haven’t announced yet, but I’m really excited about all of them,” notes Swan. “I think that we’ve brought in creators that are on another level.”
The NAB Show runs through Wednesday.
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