Car vs Drones

July 2015 ––
When Munkowitz read the initial concept brief from Vice Australia, it was one of those moments of pure delight - the idea of racing a stunt driver in a nimble Holden Astra vs a fleet of drones and creating an art film from the dueling machines to be featured on The Creator’s Project was what could be coined 'the Perfect Brief' and an opportunity to throw down massive.

AIRBAG, Munko’s new Australian reps brought the pitch through and immediately they started thinking about how they could make this film special - something unique using experimental techniques and methods.. Long-Exposure Motion Trails using light and deft movement was the craft of choice and gave the film both a car commercial appeal while satisfying the objective to be a beautiful art film.

The Film

–– 01

The Approach

–– Streak Machines
The Car vs Drones film is focused on visualizing the concept of Speed and Agility set within a cinematic battle of superiority between two nimble machines, a Holden Astra and a fleet of custom-designed Quadcopter Drones. Working with Vice and The Creator’s Project from the inception definitely influenced the treatment, lending the aesthetic more to a transparent lab experiment than a hyper-polished film.

From the initial brief, they wanted all the components of the exercise revealed, from the Drone Pilots to the various Technologies on set, exposing the Lighting setups, the Camera rigs and Computer Monitors displaying each machine’s trajectory during the film. They wanted the film to be an entirely honest rendition of the experience the team went through during the filming process; and to the naked eye if a person entered the studio stage everything they would see was captured in the final film.

From a stylistic standpoint, it was a natural choice to infuse Munko’s favorite medium into the equation, the element of Illumination. Light can be interpreted over time as a lateral, striking way to show speed when captured as a long-exposure - it’s the equivalent to a motion path in an animation program, it’s how we can quantify speed and maneuverability in an easily digestible visual representation. So they outfitted every machine in the film with addressable LEDs which allowed them to play with this exciting ingredient of light painting and the ability to manipulate their motion constructs, fully exploring form and composition which paved the way to an array of seductive visuals.

These various techniques of light manipulation positioned this entire exercise more towards an art film than anything else, allowing the dramatic, abstract competition between the drones and the Astra to create a beautiful dance of light, form, color, performance and technology.
–– 02

The Process

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Munko had never shot a car or drones before in a large scale production like this, but approached it like any other shoot and spent a great deal of time in pre-production to make sure they were laced up. Collaborating with Airbag, the newly minted Australian Reps but also a full-fledged Visual Effects studio, granted the luxury of a fully developed pre-visualization of the entire film, which allowed them to dial the camera position and lensing for every shot, and made it much easier to get their game plan together moving forward to the shoot days.

Once the shoot started and the camera started rolling it all felt familiar. Munky was anticipating a bunch of false takes due to the drone pilots fucking up, or the stunt driver not being able to hit his marks etc - but to be honest neither really slowed them down.

We had a very smooth, collaborative effort from all parties - especially the super DP Edward Goldner and AD Eddie ‘Machida’ Thorne during the shoot and were able to execute about 45 setups in 2x 12 hour shoot days, which is a very satisfying pace.. There’s so much inspiration to be taken by shooting in different cities - being exposed to different cultures and workflows, and this experience was no different.

The Australian slang was particularly fun; sometimes Munko had no idea wtf anyone was saying but it never got in the way of productivity.. Australians in general are a very positive, happy culture are never back down from a challenge - and those are great characteristics to have on set when you’re hustling against the clock to capture as much as possible in the short time they had.


–– 05
Munky is very excited about the partnership with AIRBAG. There’s a ton of talent and inspiration in that studio, collaborators with a very similar mindset to his own - people who don’t look at it as work as much as it is Creating and Learning - the two most important ingredients to cherish in this business and the keys to the longevity we all desire.

Munko thrived with the collaborative spirit at Airbag; with each member of the studio adding so much to the film. Extra special thanks goes out to The Goldner, Nick, Travis, Stephen, Dr. Roberto the Stock and Graeme the Vegan superCutter - sending out heaps of gratitude for all the hustle and dedication to making this beautiful piece of work.

Car vs Drones Credit List

Agency: Vice
Editorial & Creative Director: Royce Akers
Account Director: Georgia Field
Producer: Ramona Telecican
Producer: Katy Roberts
Head Of Account Service: Damien Miller
Managing Director: Myki Slonim
Agency: AJF
Creative Director: Glenn Dalton
Creative Director: George Freckleton
Production Company: Airbag
Director: GMUNK
Executive Producer: Robert Stock
Line Producer: Kate Merrin
Creative Technologist: Steven Nicholson
Tech Chreographer: Nick Wright
VFX Supervisor: Travis Hogg
Prod. Manager: Justine Pitcher
DP: Ed Goldner
1st AD: Eddie Thorne
Camera Operator: Chris Child
1st AC: Jesse Minter
2nd AC: Michelle Marchant
Data Wrangler: Ellery Ryan Jr
VTR Operator: Michael Gibbs
2nd Unit Dp: Travis Hogg
Gaffer: Con Mancuso
Best Boy: Antonio Argiro
Elex: Gene Van Dam
Grip: Robbie Hansford
Grip Asst: Jason Hansford
Grip Asst: Jacko Panagiotou
SFX Haze: Tim O'brien
Safety Officer: Adrian Kortus
Work Experience: Georgia Conheady
Work Experience: Darcy Newton
Precision Driver: Davin Taylor
BTS Director: Alex Watkins
BTS Assistant: Ben Helweg
Aerial Camera Op: Chris Lansell
Drone Pilot: Sean "Radar" Kane
Drone Asst: Josh Gray
BTS Photographer: Mia Mcdonals
Unit Mgr: Richie Young
Catering: Fringe Benefit
Production Asst: Rob La Terra
Production Runner: Dyllan Corbett
Production Runner: Annelise Hickey
Production Runner: Bridie Connolly
Post Facility: Airbag
Editor: Graeme Pereira
Colorist: CJ Dobson
Music / Sound Design: Rohan Rebeiro

Drone Team

Drone Captain: Nick Jaffe
Drone Pilot: Paul Paws
Drone Pilot: Gavin Nash
Drone Pilot: Alex Benn
Drone Pilot: Tony Matulic
Drone Pilot: Alex Doucas
Drone Pilot: Dale Pearce
Drone Pilot: Justin Power
Drone Pilot: Ben Van Deventer