Monte Carlo Casino and Jaguar XF

Monte Carlo Casino and Jaguar XF

For today’s blog I thought I’d impart some interesting facts about Monaco:

– The principality is less than one mile square.

– Roman Abramovich’s new yacht Streets of Monaco will cost upwards of $1 billion and is a sort of floating Monaco – boasting miniature versions of the famed Monte Carlo Casino, Hotel de Paris, Cafe de Paris, La Rascasse, the Loews Hotel as well as swimming pools and tennis courts.

– Monaco’s GDP hovers around the $1 billion mark and is largely reliant on the Casino for its economic wellbeing.

– I closed the square outside Monte Carlo Casino as well as the famous Monaco Grand Prix tunnel.

All joking aside, shooting an ad in Monaco is never cheap. So when Jaguar asked me to shoot the press launch of the XF model, I had to do the job as slickly and as quickly as possible.

London-based Franey Publishing called me saying Jaguar were flying the press to Monaco; they needed pictures to go with press packs for the new model’s worldwide launch.

I’d recently shot the concept car prior to this and Franey now needed press ads for the journalists covering the event.

The brief was to make it typically Monaco and you don’t get more Monaco than outside the Casino. So we closed the square for the morning, but to keep the costs down we turned up for the job at 3am.

Jaguar XF Monaco

I already knew I wanted the job shot with kinoflo – sounds a bit tech but all it is a long strip light.

Firstly, we hosed down the square and the surrounding road. I love wet roads, the wetness gives ripples and reflections, like you’re getting two photos in one. If you take the shine off the road, it would just be a black road.

The Casino people were great and helped out with the hosing and the shoot generally. The cameras were then pinned up against rails and the kinoflo strobe lit the saturated scene. Overall, that shot took about 5-6 hours. The last of the shots outside the Casino were taken just before sunrise at about 7am.

The next shots – the tunnel entrance and hairpin – are classic views of Monaco. They were taken off the top of the Fairmont hotel. It’s at the entrance to the Monaco tunnel. They were just grab shots. We just looked over the edge and thought “that’ll be a good shot”.

Jaguar XF Monaco


Jaguar XF Monaco

With the rig shot in the Monaco tunnel we closed the road, which is quite a feat in Monaco. There’s only one way round Monaco and it’s that road, through that tunnel. But it was very early in the morning, so we got away with it.

We had a carbon fibre rig hanging off. Got the graphic composition, the light coming from the side in motion back and forth. A carbon fibre rig gives a sense that the viewer is moving at the same speed as the car. That’s been copied a lot since, which is flattering. I guess plagiarism is the best form of flattery.

Just as an aside when I first took delivery of my first carbon rig back in ’99 a client asked what is a rig and how does it work – I replied all it is, is a camera on a stick – albeit a big one.

The last shot was a rig shot over the harbour. Camera and car moving at the same rate, looking like they’re going at 50 mph – where you can’t travel 50 mph.

The shooting in Monaco took about 6-7 days and Jaguar used the pictures worldwide. Roman Abramovich then called… Actually I’m making that bit up. But it was great fun and I did get to go to the Casino – where I lost all the earnings for the job! (I’m making that bit up as well).

Jaguar XF Monaco

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