Home » The Stig Teaches You How To Shoot A Car Chase

The Stig Teaches You How To Shoot A Car Chase

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The Stig, more legally known as Ben Collins, is quite the driver in demand. He got his mainstream notoriety from serving as the test driver for the golden era of the BBC’s Top Gear. However, his main career as a stunt driver to Hollywood is colossal in its own right. His credits include everything from Fast & Furious films to James Bond movies and even Star Wars. Thus, it’s compelling viewing to watch just what it’s like to shoot a car chase with the talented man himself.

Yes, the gang from Drivetribe were able to tap Collins’ services for a YouTube video of high-octane action. Rather than just showing us some swoopy driving moves and some top-flite editing, instead, we’re treated to a full-on look behind the curtain. As it turns out, a lot goes into filming a high-speed chase when you’re not just grabbing videos from police cruisers for World’s Wildest Police Videos.

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The chase sequence decided upon centers around Collins himself, and Nick Woodman, the CEO of GoPro. With GoPro acting as the sponsor of the video, the whole thing was shot on the company’s cameras. As with so many good chases, there’s also a fancy silver briefcase acting as a McGuffin of some very great importance. It bears noting too that Collins isn’t just acting as a driver here, but serving as the shoot’s director, as well.

Collins explains that typically, a good movie chase will take place in a city, which serves as a flexible and attractive set for such action. In this case, the shooting location is a race track, which is rather sparse and empty by comparison. What the setting lacks in aesthetic appeal, though, Collins hopes to make up for in storyline.

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Automotively-speaking, the star cars are a 911 Turbo S and a Ram TRX. Both powerful vehicles, to be sure, but realistically quite poorly matched in terms of on-track performance. As Collins notes, you have to suspend disbelief to a degree, as so many Hollywood movies demand (don’t get me started on Jennifer Lawrence’s No Hard Feelings). The trick is to play their strengths and weaknesses off against each other, with the Ram’s off-road ability a useful tool in this respect.

Early shots establish the storyline, showing Collins exiting a building with that utterly precious briefcase before speeding away in the 911 Turbo. Further shots are then planned with camera and vehicle placements to capture the Ram’s entrance into the fray and the action between the two. A Ford van also serves as a camera car for grabbing rolling shots of the individual cars. There’s even a great shot where the team is able to make it appear that the Ram driver PIT maneuvers the 911 Turbo without actually trashing either vehicle.

The compact GoPros enable plenty of neat shots like the cars driving right over the cameras themselves, though it bears noting a real Hollywood production would use more hardcore camera gear outside of some of the shots that demand action cams. This is a sponsored video though, so that’s what’s going on, but it does have some ancillary benefits. “The whole idea with these car chases is to make them look really dangerous, and sketchy, full of energy, but to do them completely safely,” explains Collins. “The great thing with these little cameras is we can put them in places where you can get it really really close but without actually risking the cars.”

The finished product is more goofy than serious, the color grading is completely over the top, and not everything quite works in the final edit. The seatbelt shot in particular is really something. Overall though, it’s interesting to see how a professional driver goes about running a chase shoot. We don’t really get to see Collins at full-tilt, either, but that’s no big deal; there’s a rich library of Hollywood films to call on if that’s what you’re looking for.

Ultimately, it leaves us wanting more. We need Collins to get signed up with a visionary director who can recreate something like the epic 40-minute car chase from the original Gone in Sixty Seconds. A car film, after all, should be mostly car, and Collins would be the perfect guy to drive in it.

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Image credits: Drivetribe via YouTube screenshot

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Col Lingus
Col Lingus
3 months ago

The best chases are always filmed from a Police helicopter. OJ Simpson

Last edited 3 months ago by Col Lingus
JKcycletramp
JKcycletramp
3 months ago

My brother and I want to make a film centered around racing 911s vs Raptors up Mont Ventoux. Looks like we’ve found our stunt coordinator. Now we just need a script, money, and film school.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
3 months ago

Recently enjoyed seeing an interview with Ben Collins. I didn’t know he also directed stunts. Pretty damn cool.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
3 months ago

Just get the Ram someplace that needs some tight turns. A 3 point in a 911 is probably a 27 point in the Ram.

Fordlover1983
Fordlover1983
3 months ago

I read the title over and over as “shoot a chase car”. I was expecting some kind of extreme defensive driving tutorial!

10001010
10001010
3 months ago

Some say that if he doesn’t get at least 23 hours of sleep per day that he will turn invisible, also that he can lift 50 times his own body weight and will work together in small groups to lift even heavier objects. All we know is, he will always be THE STIG.

Ncbrit
Ncbrit
3 months ago

Nick Woodman seems like a pretty humble guy. In what is obviously a Go Pro commercial, his attitude is what ultimately makes me want to buy one more than anything else.

JDE
JDE
3 months ago

Technically it is easier to first shoot out your back window, but then you have to replace the window.

Goof
Goof
3 months ago
Reply to  JDE

Nah, the 90s NAMCO buddy cop arcade game, “Lucky & Wild” had the idea right: two submachine guns hardmounted right on the dashboard.

Man, that game was great for a bench-seating co-op arcade rail shooter. You’re either driving with one of the guns with your friend on the other, or sometimes you just have your friend go akimbo while you concentrate on steering the car around obstacles.

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