When film director Ryan McManus was tasked by BMW Motorrad’s international advertising agency Serviceplan with bringing to life an epic racetrack battle between the S 1000 RR motorcycle and M3 performance car tuned by Akrapovic development partner a-workx, he was incredibly excited by the challenge. Ryan used his creative talents to capture the power and drama of the race in The Chase, a movie which is part viral, part advert, part film trailer – and all action.
As a car enthusiast with a passion for unusual old models, the project was the first time Ryan had been involved with high-performance vehicles like the two BMW dream machines. But having scored a series of awards with his independent film company, Seven Lines and a Dot, he was enthused by the idea of doing something different.
With a 45-strong crew and just two days to get the crucial shots, Ryan was keen to project the high-octane trackside atmosphere in the final film. “It was very exciting, you could hear and feel the engines and I wanted to get a sense of that intensity and for the power of the car and the bike. It had to be real,” he says.
Part of retaining that sense of reality was to hold and record a genuine head-to-head race between the two contenders, rather than setting up an artificial, staged situation. “We didn’t know ahead of the race who would win. Most people were saying that it would be the bike and I certainly thought that – the bike did start off really well and had a great lead, but then the rain came and it really slowed it down, so we were all wondering: will the car do it now, because the driver was pushing really hard. But the bike had gained too much ground.” Ryan says he put the motorcycle’s win down to its incredible acceleration and the advantage of a long straight on a track which was dry to start off with.
While some additional footage was shot after the showdown, most of what appears in The Chase was caught live on film during the race. “It was so important to keep it authentic. I feel like it’s something anyone can enjoy – obviously people with an interest in the car or motorcycle may enjoy it more, but it isn’t exclusively for them,” says Ryan. “I feel like it’s a subtle new channel of media – it’s not a viral trying to get people to guess if it’s real, it’s not an advert, it’s specially made for the web and people wanting to view content online. It was great, because I got to be very creative with it – I wasn’t constrained by only having 30 seconds to fill, as you would with a television advert.”
A number of different techniques were used by the film crew to make sure that no moment of rivalry was missed. The RR and the M3 were positioned at opposite ends of the track and then raced toward each other, with the winner being the one to cover the greatest distance before they passed. The car was fitted with a rig to capture the on-track action, and a small type of wearable camera called a GoPro was used. “The GoPros were great to use, they give a really good effect which make it look like the car is still and the background is moving very, very fast,” Ryan explains. “To get 360 degree shots of the vehicles, a small circular camera track was built. With the car or bike in the middle, it was easy to film all the way around them in one smooth motion.”
With the movie now complete, Ryan is looking forward to getting feedback. “I had a great time making the film, it was a very cool thing to be involved in. Now I just hope audiences will like it as much as I do.”
Release date: 2 May
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