Directed by Mortimer Jones through Wondersmith for advertising agency Sigma Group, the spot entitled “Celebratory Burnout” shows Gordon’s No. 24 car taking the checkered flag at Daytona and then performing a signature burnout on the track. A Toughbook 54 is shown being used by the crewmembers in their work and in their victory celebration.
“Together with executives from Sigma and Panasonic, we all worked hard to show the Toughbook in use in a race setting, where we could demonstrate its unique toughness,” said Jones. “The best ideas always seem to happen when the collaborative lines are open, and we all are very proud of how this turned out.”
Shot on location at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Wondersmith’s crew was led by Jones, executive producer Joe Murray, director of photography Adam Stone and VFX lead Byron Nash. “It was a pretty large rigging job,” Murray explained. “We had cameras hanging off the race car on both sides, cameras mounted inside and on a pursuit vehicle for one shot. For the final scene, we used a drone to capture footage from about 50 feet in the air.”
The major challenge during production was the limited amount of time the production team had with Gordon himself, but with diligent planning they were able to get everything they needed (including Gordon doing his own burnouts) within just a few hours.
The visual effects were also challenging. “Anyone who has visited a NASCAR track knows that logos are everywhere, so part of Byron’s work was removing a lot of those,” Murray explained. “We also added crowds in the stands, lit up the speedway’s leaderboard tower and replaced flat gray skies with more dramatic ones. While we only shot three cars on the track, we multiplied those in some scenes to show a bigger finish to the race.”
The complete postproduction toolset consisted of Apple‘s Final Cut Pro for editing, and Adobe After Effects for VFX clean-up and compositing. Additional credits for Wondersmith include editor Chris Walldorf and post creative director Thom Blackburn. Final color was handled by Alex Bickel of Color Collective in New York, and the spot’s music track was composed by Chris Walldorf and Patrick Boyd.