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Formula Drift to Formula 1, We Talk to Oregon Professional Who's Shot Them All
The automotive industry is a very complex and vast domain. It may revolve around cars and motorcycles, but ultimately, it would mean nothing without the people involved in it. You have those who build cars, those who drive them, those who repair them, and those to market them, one way or another, just to sum it up briefly.

Formula Drift to Formula 1, We Talk to Oregon Professional Who's Shot Them All

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And today, I wanted to give you a glimpse from behind the scenes. Behind the scenes and, at the same time, behind the lens. Because without photographers or videographers, we wouldn't have such good quality content of our favorite cars to enjoy while we're sitting at home, either in lockdown or just enjoying our morning coffee. And one of the people I've looked up to over the past decade is a man about my age, who resides in Portland, Oregon.From small beginnings come great things
His name is Loren Haleston, and even if you might not have heard about him until now, you have likely seen his work at least once in this lifetime. I met Loren over social media almost 10 years ago, when I was still heavily involved in drifting, and Loren was itching to have a go at a Formula Drift event himself. Back in the day, no one expected to see such amazing quality content coming out of his camera.

From the get-go, he pushed everyone in the game to up their level a notch just for them to keep up. But I wanted to have you know a bit about what drove him to choose this line of work, some of the ups and downs he's had to face over the years, and even some tips and tricks for those of you thinking about following down in his footsteps.

Naturally, I was curious about the first time he had ever come in contact with a camera. "The first time I ever touched a camera was on a school trip to France when I was 11 years old," he mentioned. This means you could say he's had almost 20 years of fiddling around with the idea. He got hooked by the idea of being able to create his memories with his friends, and the anticipation of having everything developed as soon as he got home started to grow. Curiosity is the engine of achievement
But for everyone who's experienced the early 2000s, you will know that technology was far from the level it is at today, so Loren ran into the difficulties of having to buy and develop the films. Luckily for him, his father was working in the industry, and it wasn't long until they got a hold of some digital cameras, which he was most excited to play with.

I've met a lot of photographers and videographers over the years, working at various motorsport events. Even though most of them started out shooting pictures, at some moment, a split occurs. And then, some feel more drawn towards videography, while others dedicate their lives to the art of stills. For Loren, that moment came when he was 14 years old when he got his hands on a—now ancient—Sony Handy Cam.

"My friends and I quickly abused the privilege, making "Jackass" style videos all summer, jumping our bikes as high as we could and recording whatever vulgar humor that came to mind". Talking to Loren about this topic, I can't help but recall the days I was using my family's Panasonic Handy Cam to shoot skateboarding tricks, ultimately leading to my interest in automotive videography years later. Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible
Loren didn't think his hobby would turn into a career at that age, but some of the basic elements he learned using the camera at a young age have stuck and developed over the years. The progression from filming bike tricks to filming cars came as natural, as Loren always had an interest in cars. He remembers that among all the posters in his room stood the legendary Ferrari F40, which is still his favorite today.

But it would take a few more years until the Portland whizz-kid would start shooting cars. He made his first few big steps filming concerts with his father, who was a freelance filmmaker at the time. Loren was still in high school back then, and going to film at a heavy metal concert was no easy feat. As he recalls, "It was a crazy experience. I witnessed a fair share of drug and alcohol use and plenty of female nudity".

The first automotive event he filmed at was WaterWorks in 2010, and he instantly acknowledged that he was way more comfortable shooting at automotive events instead. He dealt with mixed feelings after that event, as he reminisces about the whole thing. "I drove and entered my '81 Rabbit in the show, and borrowed my Dad's HD Mini DV camera and fisheye lens. My car scored a 35 out of 100, it won the worst car of the show, but the video was dope".There is no success without hardship
As he progressed towards Formula Drift, he started bumping into all of the hardships that come with being a newcomer in a new environment. Small budgets, difficult filming conditions, and a minimal level of experience meant he had to work harder than ever before to prove his worth. "I'd fly across the country and sleep on the floor of a hotel room, sometimes staying up for 2 days straight filming whatever was happening with the team".

But those early days' hardships also made for some long-lasting memories, even though at times he'd find himself sharing a hotel room with eight other people. "Some of those days were the most fun time in my career, because of the camaraderie and the lack of expectation, we were just out there doing the best we could and if something cool happened it was so much fun to put it in the video."

I still feel to this day that some of the most thrilling videos to come out of Formula Drift bear his name, but you can decide on that four yourselves; you don't have to listen to me. Even though Loren has progressed as far up as Formula 1, shooting the pinnacle of global motorsports, he still feels some of his coolest projects are those where he gets to work with his friends, where they can take the time to make a creative video, while working with a good budget and good equipment.If you develop a passion for learning, you will never cease to grow
Going through a typical weekend of shooting, he pointed out the complexity of his job, which requires him to continue working even after everyone has taken a break. While the drivers get to relax after the race is over, a videographer has to keep on grinding for several more days to deliver the edit for his client. Talking about his gear, Loren noted that he likes to stay away from autonomous systems and mainly relies on his intuition and hands-on ability to control the camera for things like focus, aperture, color temperature, and framing.

Being an automotive videographer and petrolhead at the same time can't be easy for him, as he gets to spend similar amounts of cash for both of these. While he started with several VWs as a kid, he transitioned to an E30 and a 7 Series later on, and now he's the proud owner of three different cars: a convertible E30, a Nissan S14, and an Audi S4. At the same time, he's had to spend some serious money on camera gear as well.

Right now, he's using two Red cameras, a Helium and the new Komodo designed to be used in conjunction with a gimbal, plus several GoPro Hero 7 action cameras. Of course, no videographer could ever stay away from using a drone, and so he's got a few DJI ones in his suitcase just for good safety. "The only equipment I don't have, but also don't need, is another $40,000 Red Monster camera or a $30,000 pair of anamorphic lenses," he added jokingly.

On an end note, I couldn't leave Loren without asking him what his favorite car movie of all time is. And I was happy to hear that he too is a big fan of "2 Fast 2 Furious;" let's face it, the best Fast and Furious movies ever made were the first three ones. Talking about the coolest automotive commercials out there, I already imagined he'd refer to the Pennzoil ones, and it seems that "The Last Viper" was the one that appealed to him the most.

I imagine that if you clicked on this story, it's because you have some kind of interest in automotive videography as well, so I asked the man to share some of his wisdom with us in the hope that we may learn something useful. Here what he had to add: "Find something that you are interested in and genuinely enjoy filming. Beyond this, I’ve found that networking, dedication to the art, and being easy to work with to be the most important things. I’d also recommend making friends within the industry, being dependable, and being easy to work with."



 
 
 
 
 

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