Sleek, smooth, sexy; few things embody luxury like the glistening finish of a polished car. For automotive photographers like Timothy Baur, it’s all about capturing something elegant, glamourous and dramatic.
Tim has 36 years of experience as a professional photographer and director under his belt. His passion for photography was ignited when he was just a teenager in Minnesota with a 35mm Vivitar camera. A few years after graduating from Arizona State University, Tim moved to Los Angeles where he apprenticed as an assistant for photographer, Robert Grigg, and 5 years later took the leap and went solo.
Originally named Baur Photography, Tim later rebranded to Baur Films due to their increasing involvement in video work and commercials. Fast forward to the present day, Baur Films is a full film, photography and production company equipped with a comprehensive lighting, grip, film and photo crew.
As a seasoned drone pilot and camera operator, Tim has an extensive list of credits including BAFTA-winning Hunger Games, and Golden Globe-winning drama, Grey’s Anatomy, as well as collaborating with brands like Uber and Pepsi. Tim’s speciality is in automotive photography, with a keen interest in creating 360-degree imagery.
“I have always been interested in experimenting with 3D space and interactivity, and I love seeing traditional photography utilised in new and modern ways,” Tim says. “I saw my first Cubic QuickTime Virtual Reality image many years ago and knew that was something I wanted to create. However, I wanted to do it beautifully and elegantly, so I began testing with car interiors and presented them to a few of my clients such as Toyota, Nissan, Suzuki and Lexus. They were a hit!”
What is the process of capturing a 360-degree image where there is literally nowhere to hide? Much of the initial process is client driven with Tim taking to the streets to find a setting for a background plate that will reflect their creative vision. “The first thing I do is head out with my camera mounted on a VR head and shoot as many background options as possible,” Tim says. “The client usually has a specific theme or environment in mind, so once I’ve shot them and stitched them together, they’re submitted to them for approval.”
This is where the technical challenges arise. The final shots of the car interior are produced in-studio, far away where the background plates were shot, so Tim uses the Rotolight Anova PRO 2s to mimic the exact daylight conditions in the background plate for a natural and accurate result. “The ‘winning’ background plate guides the lighting for the final shot,” adds Tim. “Undiffused, the Anova PRO 2 creates the effect of directional sunlight, and with diffusion the light provides a lovely soft fill. The objective is to make the seats, dash and door panels look as curvy and inviting.” Able to fully adjust the colour temperature from 3150-6300K, the Rotolight Anova PRO 2 can be finely tuned to match the lighting conditions in the background environment. After the shots of the interior are taken, they’re stitched together into a 360-degree view and combined with the background plates in post-production to form the final image.
Introduced to the Anova PRO 2s by friend and Rotolight Master of Light, Wes Kroninger, the dual continuous LED and High Speed Sync flash functionality is ideal for Tim’s team of hybrid shooters.
“I keep coming up with more and more ways to use the Anova PRO 2; setting them up to strobe for our stills and using the continuous light to shoot video all without changing setup,” Tim continues. “I come from a world of tungsten lighting, and since I’ve been using the Anova PRO 2s, my energy bill has been cut in half because the lighting isn’t as power hungry and the AC doesn’t need to work nearly as hard to keep the space cool. It’s a much more pleasant shooting environment for everyone”
“They’re rugged, versatile, and look great on set – which is surprisingly important,” Tim concludes. “the Anova PRO 2s have changed the way I think about lighting. Each day I go into the studio wondering what cool new thing I can do with them.”