As I mentioned the other day, last year I had an idea to mount a camera on the front of the Ramblin Reck, an old Ford Model A that serves as one of Georgia Tech’s mascots. The car leads the players out onto the field before every home game, and sometimes away games. Earlier this season I met the driver of the Reck, Austin Berry, and we decided the Miami game would be the best chance since it was likely it’d be the biggest turnout of the year and I wanted the stands to be as full as possible in the background of the shot.
A few days before the game, we met up and practiced mounting the rig to a) make sure the apparatus wouldn’t damage the car in any way and b) to make sure it wouldn’t fall off. The first few attempts of mounting the “Magic Arms” failed as the camera’s weight proved to be too much for the super-clamps that were attached to the crossbeam and the rig started shifting down. After a few attempts and redistributing the weight, the camera stayed in its spot. The next test was to see how it would handle when acceleration and deceleration were involved. Another problem I ran into was that my remotes weren’t firing correctly, I resolved that issue however by borrowing some Pocket Wizard Multi Maxs from my friend Pouya Dianat.
We weren’t able to test it out on the field where the soft grass would have likely saved my camera from any damage, so we had to test it out behind the basketball arena in the parking lot, on cement. Luckily, the camera didn’t fall and shatter my new fish eye lens into thousands of pieces. Since the test worked, we were ready for gameday.
About 30 minutes before showtime the day of the game I brought my rig. In order to save time and not have a mess up, I didn’t loosen the magic arms at all. So all I had to do was tighten the super-clamps. This saved me some time since I didn’t have to make any adjustments and also gave me less of a reason to believe it wouldn’t work this time when it worked before.
Probably the most nerve wracking part of the experience was when I remembered that the car would drive through a banner when it took the field. I’d forgotten all about it until a few minutes beforehand. I wasn’t sure how it would affect the rig, or if it would knock something out of place but at this point I figured it was too late to do anything. I took my position on the field and just prepared myself. Thankfully everything worked out and I learned a few things that will help me improve the shot if I get the opportunity to do it again next year.
So in conclusion, a big thanks to Reck driver Austin Berry and Macon Telegraph writer Coley Harvey for helping make this happen.
Mounted and ready to go.
I used a small safety cable that we looped through the hood ornament in case all else failed and the rig lost its balance.
In retrospect, I wish I’d pointed the camera down a little bit more.
Waiting before the game.
At this point, with the car past the banner and the rig still in place I was quite relieved.
This was the closest of the shots to the vision I had. Cheerleaders out, Atlanta Skyline and a player running beside the car.
Ramblin Reck driver Austin Berry poses with the car.