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Lighting for VFX | Portal 3 | Ferrari 458

Updated: Apr 30, 2023

Creating a Dream Arcade Video Game with a Ferrari 458

Brent, a gaming and automotive enthusiast, contacted us through our YouTube channel with an exciting idea for a video project. We were immediately drawn to the challenge it presented, from lighting for visual effects (VFX) to storytelling and creating dynamic scenes. After weeks of preparation, we embarked on a thrilling adventure to bring Brent's dream of owning a tricked-out Ferrari 458 in a video game to life. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at how we made it happen.

Pre-production Challenges and On-the-Fly Ideas

During the pre-production phase, we faced several challenges, including developing a cohesive storyline, figuring out locations, and planning shots with Brent's Ferrari. One of the main challenges was maintaining continuity in the story while incorporating different ideas on the fly. However, we were thrilled to discover that some of the funniest moments of the shoot came from the bloopers we created while interjecting new scenes or ideas into the script. As a team, we pride ourselves on our ability to think creatively and come up with ideas on the spot.

Behind the scenes video Part 1:

Collaborative Filming Across Locations

Sam and Nick, our lead videographers, captured most of the video in San Diego, with outdoor scenes filmed in Los Angeles. The video depicted the story of a gamer who owns a Ferrari 458 and dreams of making it look like an arcade video game. Sam worked closely with Brent on the script and the ideas that could be translated into reality. The shoot spanned multiple trips to the West Coast, with significant effort put into making the script come alive through realistic and achievable shots.

"One large part of making an impactful short, is to choose which scenes will sell an idea or make the production be most impactful."

Creative VFX on a Budget

One of the key elements of the video was the use of visual effects (VFX) to create the arcade video game aesthetic. We utilized a combination of the video game Portal gun and Apurture MC11 tube lights, known for their affordable yet vibrant colors, to achieve cool VFX effects on a limited budget. For the dream scene, we rented an airplane hangar and used Astera tube lights and a haze machine to create a stunning visual transformation. Real lighting was used in combination with VFX post-production to add portals, creating a surreal and immersive experience. The shoot felt like living in a real-life GTA5 video game, and we were thrilled with the results.

Gear and Filming Techniques

For this shoot, we made the strategic decision to use Sony mirrorless cameras instead of the RED due to budget constraints, the size of the production crew, and flight costs. We primarily used Sony A7SII and Sony A7III cameras, along with a DJI Ronin M gimbal for stabilizing shots. Suction cups were used to rig the Sony A7SII for car scenes, while Nick captured a significant portion of the audio. Nanlite Pavotubes were also used as lighting equipment to create visually stunning scenes.

Behind the scenes video Part 2:

"We were very excited to win the Best Cinematography award at the 2023 Hudson Film Festival."

Best Cinematography Award at the Hudson Film Fest

We were thrilled to win the Best Cinematography award at the 2023 Hudson Film Festival for our work on this video project. It was a recognition of our team's dedication to capturing breathtaking visuals and creating a unique and immersive storytelling experience. We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Brent and his wife Sarah on this project and for the recognition we received for our efforts.

Watch the short film:


In conclusion, creating a dream arcade video game with a Ferrari 458 was a challenging but incredibly rewarding experience. From pre-production challenges to on-the-fly ideas, collaborative filming across locations, creative VFX on a budget, and the use of innovative gear and filming techniques, our team poured their heart and soul into bringing Brent's vision to life


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