This is the story of two teams, [five] two similar yet very different disciplines, [four] built on the passion and drive of the WRX STI platform. [three] This is everything it takes to win. [two] This is everything that gets in the way of victory. [one] This is Launch Control. [GO, GO, GO!]
– Launch Control narration, Episode 1, mid-April 2013
With these words, Subaru kicked off the first episode of its brilliant documentary Web series Launch Control. The concept: a video series for the Internet that would not only follow the Subaru team’s rally and rallycross cars in events, but bring out the human element of racing as well. According to the series’ producer, Warwick Patterson, “We want to show the personalities, not just action all the time. We want these shows to have a human interest story so you don’t have to be a car person to enjoy them.”
How did this groundbreaking series come to be, and who brings it to life?
Meet Warwick Patterson, creative director for Formula Photographic Inc. His job is high-profile – some would say enviable – although you might never notice him at work. That is, unless he plants his tripod immediately in front of you as you stand and wait for the cars at a stage rally spectator area. (Don’t worry. He won’t be there very long.)
Formula Photographic follows Subaru Motorsports and other race teams to venues around the world, providing coverage by way of everything from highlight videos to promotions and television productions.
The work is demanding but rewarding. The days can be long, starting as the sun rises and finishing well into the night, especially if the team needs to send out a same-day edit. In each location, the car to be filmed passes by the camera only once. The assignment: Set up and prepare to film a race car traveling at speed, framing it in a steady shot that screams excitement. Then it’s off to the next location to do the same. It’s also usually raining, snowing, a heat wave, incredibly dusty, or all of the above. That’s a far cry from studio production work. “We buy camera gear knowing there probably won’t be any resale value at the end of its life,” laughed Patterson.
Patterson and his production company assemble fast-paced, energetic, action-filled projects. If you’ve viewed the Subaru Rally Team USA (SRT USA) or Subaru PUMA RallyCross Team (SPRT) videos on subaru.com/rally during the last four years, you’ve seen some of their work. (Look them up. They’ll start your blood pumping!)
Launch Control will be released online on a biweekly schedule through the 2013 season. “It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time – sort of a television-style, documentary-style thing,” said Patterson. “I think people are really going to get a kick out of seeing what really happens behind the doors of a team like this. It’s eye-opening, even for me. Plus, the drivers and crew have a lot of fun.”
Watch the series on the Subaru YouTube page under the Launch Control tab.