Racing games are known for the magical follow cam that effortlessly keeps up with cars doing hundreds of miles an hour. It's never been practical in real life to achieve this view, but Modern camera tech and some ingenuity can go a long way to emulating the classic video game look, as one new video reveals.
The clip in question was posted on Facebook by the American Rally Association. It shows us a Subaru WRX rally car hot dogging it through a dusty dirt and gravel stage at the Oregon Trail Rally. There's a regular onboard camera, but that's not where the magic is happening. The car was also fitted with an Insta360 action camera capable of a 360-degree view. The camera was mounted on a long selfie stick hanging off the back window, creating a video game-like follow-cam that captured the car from behind and above.
It's a joy to watch the Subaru slip and slide, throwing up clouds of dust as it goes. It's an amazing shot. By virtue of being directly attached to the car, it has a sense of speed and furiosity that drone follow shots simply don't achieve.
The camera is attached to the rear window by a serious rig known as a LexiMount, which uses four suction cups for maximum grip. The rig is still in its early days, but it's available for rent or pre-order for motorsport use. Originally developed for filming drift events, it allows the 360-degree camera to swing in the opposite direction to the car, capturing a full shot of the vehicle as it corners. It's purely mechanical in operation, with its motion tuned via dampers and counterweights to get the best results.
Running the rig required special permission from the ARA due to safety concerns regarding a large extended camera mount hanging off the back of the car. Reports are that the rig was tethered to the car's roll cage to avoid issues if the suction cup mounting failed.
Other nice touches on the video include the data overlay showing the car's speed and RPM, just like a real video game. Incidentally, if the engine note is raising questions in your mind, it should be. The car in question is Sam Albert's Ferrari-powered Subaru WRX, built by the rally driver himself. The Italian V8 offers plenty of grunt and a glorious soundtrack for belting through the gravel.
It's great to see continuing innovation in motorsport cinematography. We've seen F1 introduce tiny helmet cams while drones have revolutionized drift videos. It all adds up to a better show, and at the end of the day, that's more fun for everyone involved.
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