Affectionately known about the ‘Yeetmobile’, our 2019 Volkswagen Golf R camera car is the secret sauce behind many of the tracking shots you see in Ralle productions.
The setup itself is self-contained and can, bar the camera equipment, be packed away into a roof box that goes on top of the Golf R. This allows us to transport the rig easily while not sacrificing space within the car for other equipment.
The rig consists of scaffold-style aluminium tubes, clamps for the gimbal and mounting points for the front and rear bumpers. Once it’s set up, the camera can be clamped to the front or back of the car depending on what the shot calls for and is kept unnervingly steady by a 3-way dampener system. Hanging off the arm is a series of plates, springs and hydraulics that allow us to control how affected the camera can be to the vibrations that naturally occur when driving. You may think that we’d always want it to be smooth but sometimes, to capture that raw essence of speed, you need a bit of camera shake – a bit of imperfection that goes a long way to communicating the emotions and feeling of driving. Especially with the kinds of cars that we film.
The rig on the outside might snare everyone’s attention, but it’s inside where the magic truly happens. A monitor is mounted to the headrest of the passenger seat that allows the gimbal operator to see what movements need to be made in order to get the shot. This is done with a Playstation controller, and why wouldn’t it be – they’ve been perfecting the art of multi-axis controllers for decades now so why try to reinvent the wheel or buy overpriced kit that does the same. That’s working smarter not harder. Alongside the gimbal operator, the focus puller ensures that everything we record is crystal clear, while the driver is the unspoken hero of the operation. He’s the one that needs to control the Golf R and maneuver it where the director or gimbal operator needs it, all while maintaining a safe distance from the hero car at high speed.
It’s this combination of people & technology that makes the ‘Yeetmobile’ essential to what we do at Ralle and to the films that we create for our clients. The only question left to answer is what’s our next tracking car going to be…?