Donington Park | WorldSBK 2017

The challenge

Donington Park held its first motorcycle race in 1931 along the narrow lanes of the Donington Hall Estate, with the track widened and made permanent two years later. Over decades the circuit has cemented itself as a centre for motorcycle racing.

We were approached by the media team at Donington Park at the start of May 2017. The request was to film and time lapse the build up to one of the major highlights in the racing calendar; Round 6 of the Motul FIM Superbike World Championship. Specifically the task was to showcase the lesser-seen side of a motorsport race weekend by revealing the work that goes into transforming the paddock into a fully functioning race village.

While the footage would be captured during the week leading up to WorldSBK race day, in addition to advertising the same race meeting in 2018, it needed to also be appropriate for wider promotion of the racing venue.

our approach

When discussing our approach and deliverables with the client, Donington Park, the first thing to understand was the audience for the film. While the product would be used for general promotion, the key demographic would still be a typical motorsport fanbase. Given the high profile of the event with a big international audience, we suggested that the video should be lead by the visual content with little to no text graphics added. This would allow the ‘language’ of motorsport to ‘speak’ to fans.

image capture

To meet the needs of the video, the focus would be on capturing the transformation of the paddock area. After a site visit we recommended using two ‘long term’ time lapse cameras. The pair of cameras were installed and commenced shooting from the central vantage point of the race control tower. These cameras were powered locally and monitored by us remotely and as such would provide a solid core to the video. As their purpose was to capture images for the week-long transformation, the decision to face them toward the paddock and infield areas was a no-brainer.

Our static time lapse angles would be combined with daily on-the-ground video and time lapse footage. This option we were able to give at a relative cost reduction due to our proximity, in this case, to Donington. By having a one person film crew arrive each morning of the build-up week to set up ‘short-term’ time lapse cameras and record video, we could ensure a diverse spread of footage would be captured. In practice, by having the same crew member present on site at the circuit every day, when it came to race weekend not only were they a recognisable figure to the race teams and support staff, but they were approached and welcomed too. The upshot being some of the video footage was made that much more intimate.

the bigger picture

We understood that showcasing the behind-the-scenes aspect was to be the centre-piece of this video. Even so, we thought that this would be best contextualised by punctuating the video with at least a handful of shots from race day. Motor racing, after all, was to be the climax of the preparation and hard work over the week. This brought in a new range of concerns and challenges to overcome however. All image rights for the Motul FIM Superbike World Championship belong to the tour organisers, Dorna Sports. As such, we did not have permission to include footage of race bikes in motion on track or in the pit-lane. Ultimately we were able to film such a good spread of shots that together with sound in the edit, the implication of entering race weekend is more than apparent.

The result

We worked closely with Donington Park’s media team through every stage of the process, right from agreeing practical solutions on site to creative editorial choices.

We delivered a video that matched the brief; appealing to the identified audience of motorsport fans and accessible to an international audience. The runtime was kept to around two minutes to allow for a punchier editing style.

While we are always eager and open to new projects it is worth mentioning that a few of our team are motorcycle riders and motor racing fans. This additional passion really added value to our final product, Donington Park Delivers WorldSBK | 2017.

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