Road Trip

In these days of economic challenge, companies are looking for “eye-catching” ways to capture both employee and consumer attention. For Audi, taking a fleet of 26 vehicles on a road trip was a way not only to increase support for and understanding of clean-diesel technology, but also to educate consumers that its TDI lineup features a new kind of fuel-efficient SUV that’s also economical and offers enhanced performance—and an upscale lifestyle.

The plan was to take the road trip of all road trips with Audi clean-diesel vehicles: seven Q7 3.0 TDIs, seven Q5 3.0 TDI automatic cars, seven A4 3.0 TDIs and five A3 2.0 TDIs crossing the country from New York, through Washington, Memphis, Dallas, Amarillo, Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Monterey, Los Angeles and points in between—and, of course, to capture the ups and downs, curves and straightaways, as the drivers put this fleet through its paces.

To do this, Audi turned to shooter Thomas Rist and his business partner, René Jung, and their company, JuRiFilm Entertainment Inc., which had recently done several successful Volkswagen and Audi projects for the Berlin-based car commercial production company United Visions.

“What looked like a single job was actually comprised of four different projects for Audi,” explains Rist. “We needed to create a half-hour documentary, a daily Internet five-minute report for Audi’s web page, five short commercials for the Los Angeles Auto Show and four seven-minute television reports—and each required a different style.”

The challenge was that the complete shooting package had to fit into one Audi Q7, with three people including Rist, and still be able to capture everything on the move.

To meet their needs, Rist created a four-point camera setup—one camera to work on a tripod, one on the shoulder, the third out of the roof window and the fourth out of the trunk—with him sitting inside the trunk to operate. For the smaller spaces, Sony EX1s were mounted inside the car facing the driver and passenger positions. Rist shot with Sony F900R cameras carrying 6.3-200mm Fujinon HA16x6.3BERM lenses. The rest of the package included a Vocas MB-450 matte box, a Panasonic BT-LH80W monitor, three Litepanels MiniPlus units and audio equipment.

“I had a choice between a Miller or Sachtler tripod,” Rist explains. “I chose two Sachtler 100mm heads—one positioned on the high hat shooting out of the trunk and the other head on sticks. I chose the Video 18 system because the F900R has a light body. The great Audi suspension system combined with the Sachtler helped to keep the camera stable on some not-so-good road conditions.”