DownTown L.A. Rooftop MINI Ad Shoot - October 26, 2006

The image we received via email from our friend Hugh.


Judy and I had a little MINI-related adventure on Thursday afternoon, thanks to an email from a friend who runs an acoustics consulting firm from a fifth-floor office in a building in downtown Los Angeles. Hugh knows of our interest in all things MINI, and thought we'd be interested to know that a production crew was working on an adjacent rooftop, filming a MINI commercial, and that he had a great view from his office window. He included the image at the top of this page, and suggested that if we could manage it, we'd be welcome to visit his office and observe the shoot! It seemed like a very unique opportunity, so we rearranged our schedules, and headed up the 110 by mid-afternoon.

When we arrived downtown, we could hear the sounds of tires squealing, bouncing between the closely spaced buildings. We parked in a nearby structure, and noted the many signs for production activities in the area. (We were later informed that filming was underway for not only the MINI commercial, but also one of the CSI TV series, as well as location shooting for the next Bruce Willis Die Hard film. Busy place!) We arrived at our frind's office, and were mesmerized by the rooftop activities visible through the window.

I'll post more info about the shoot, and hopefully some of the little video clips I got, but in the meantime, here's the slideshow Judy put together. The basic scenario is that the MINI is a Matador, doing battle with the bull-like SUV. The stunt drivers did a great job, and scared the crap out of us with their precision near-misses. Between runs, a person would carefully re-apply a consistent layer of sand or dust to the pavement by means of a pressurized spraying device. The SUV was also rigged with pneumatic suspension components, so that it could wobble, careen, and generally give the impression of a huge, out of control beast.

Judy did a nice job compositing three photos of the MINI driving victory circles around the defeated SUV to capture the dynamic effect. Otherwise, all images are pretty much as we saw things. The last few were taken from the top corner of the parking garage where a couple of extras chatted with us and gave us more info about the shoot while the pyro guys were trying to wrangle a smoke effect out of the SUV before they lost daylight.

More later... (Thanks again, Hugh!)


Quicktime 7 Video clip (Right-click to save locally; Approx 1 minute in duration, ~55MB file)

UPDATE 11/17/06: MotoringFile has a feature on the Finished Version of the Commercial!
Watch the 1-minute video here!

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(Created 09:45 PST - October 28, 2006; Updated 07:30PST 11/17/06)