Behind The Lens – The Rare Porsche Turbos Photo Shoot at Total 911

Total 911 Magazine is the world’s premier monthly magazine dedicated to just one car. The Porsche 911. Edited by Lee Sibley of That 911 Guy YouTube fame, the magazine produces a series of features of the diverse facets and history of the Porsche 911 each month. In my freelance writer role, I regularly work with Lee and very often photographer Chris Wallbank to create some of the features you’ll see if you’re a subscriber to Total 911 each month. We’re often asked what it’s like to work on these features, so here’s an explanation of what went into this cover story and how it was done.

This feature was created with the cooperation of Phil Hindley of Tech 9 who kindly made available the 1977 930 Turbo 3.0, plus Howard and Chas of CHC Partnership who generously supplied the 991 Turbo S Exclusive.

The location was North Wales at the top end of the Evo Triangle. It’s a section of road made famous by the magazine and one we’ve used previously on photo shoots. The reason these locations work isn’t simply due to the fact that it’s a good driving road. In fact, there are many roads just like this section all over the UK if you venture out to find them. However, this area seems to me miraculously blessed with very light traffic. Unlike some Yorkshire locations we love to use, several minutes can pass in between cars. Add in the Welsh landscape and good visibility for oncoming traffic and it’s a great place to get the work done in a fast, efficient way.

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I will write some other time about the cars, if you want to know more about the massive advancement in technology over the forty years that spans the this pair of turbos, then read Total 911, in print or online here.

Rare Turbos – Behind the Scenes with Total 911 from Winward Media on Vimeo.

About The Photo Shoot

Editor Lee’s brief expanded from simply featuring the 991 Turbo S Exclusive when we discovered that the 930 Turbo was available. As soon as we found out that the cars were both respective shades of gold and that Phil at Tech 9 could supply the 930, Lee had his cover idea for the issue.

Two-car photo shoots require a corresponding increase in manpower, as drivers for both cars are needed, plus a driver for the camera car tracking shots. Sorting the logistics of the production can be like herding cats. The ingredients of cars, drivers, photographer’s availability, thinking up a location that works both photographically and also logistically, while keeping everyone safe, is something that can be time consuming.

Car photo shoots may appear to be exciting and glamorous events, though in fact, they can be far from that if you’re a spectator. I’ve lost count of the number of times that someone has said, “Can we come along?”

I do my best to deter anyone, even a hardened car enthusiast and explain that the majority of the shoot will involve cleaning the car, then cleaning the car some more. Then positioning the car. Then positioning the car some more. Then turning the front wheels just a little more so that it’s exactly how the photographer wants it. Then positioning the lighting, setting the flash head power packs.

And in the UK, we have the randomness of the British weather to deal with too. So around thirty minutes in, most people are glancing at watches, checking phones, asking “How much longer? Where’s the nearest toilet” etc etc.

To their eternal credit, Howard of CHC and his technician were patient and happy to wait around as Chris set up the Elinchrom lights and we cleaned the cars after driving through heavy rain that was totally not part of the forecast. Several hours of shooting later, the static shots were all done and we were tracking up and down a lovely section of road for the car to car and panning shots.

991 Turbo Exclusive, behind the wheel.

I distinctly recall driving the 930 for those sequences, glancing across at Howard driving the vivid Gold 991 Turbo Exclusive, with the forest of pine trees as a back drop and thinking, “Yep, that’s going to look pretty cool”. Sometimes you just know when the feature is going to work. This was one of those times.

The behind the scenes film was shot by Historic Racer’s DoP Adam Watson, using our trusty Sony A6300, with a few drone sequences added for good measure. BTS films can be hard to pull off, as Chris cannot stop shooting the stills for the magazine, the prime reason for us being there. So the lightweight Sony makes a great, agile little camera for that type of work. We’ve written before about or preferred kit for road trip stories, Sony mirrorless cameras are our go-to cameras.

And if the music sounds familiar, you’ve probably seen Baby Driver….

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Author: Neill Watson

If you love the sound of the Cosworth V8 as much as the V12 Merlin, the smell of Jet A1 as much as Castrol R and admire the late Ray Hanna as much as Sir Stirling, you’ll find you’re both on the same page. Neill's love of art deco buildings means that his ideal home would be a brilliant white, 1930′s control tower in Southern France, with crisply mown grass, biplane parked on the driveway and a Ferrari 288GTO in the garage. This is something that those around him tolerate, though it does concern them from time to time.

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