PHOTO CREDIT:© Thomas Hoeffgen/212 Artists

How I Got That Shot: Thomas Hoeffgen

NOVEMBER 09, 2010

Client: New York Red Bulls soccer club
Agency: Red Bull Creative, Austria
Art director: Christoph Hofbauer

Commercial, fashion and lifestyle photographer Thomas Hoeffgen was assigned to shoot marketing materials for the New York Red Bulls soccer club to help promote their new stadium, Red Bull Arena, in New Jersey. For this shot, Hoeffgen photographed individual players in the studio running towards him on Astroturf. The players were later digitally combined into one shot with the team’s mascot, a 3D animated red bull, interspersed throughout. The image is, appropriately, entitled “Stampede.”

“The idea was to show the power of the players running directly at you with digitally created bulls on the field,” Hoeffgen says. “It was a tricky thing because when we did the shoot we didn’t have the bulls and didn’t have the surroundings since it was shot in the studio. So you have to get the players in the right mood so it doesn't look lame. We needed it to look powerful.”

Camera: Hasselblad H1 with a Phase One P30+ back and HC 100mm f/2.2 lens. Shot at f/11, 1/500th of a second at ISO 100.

Lights: Six Profoto lights with grids and a 9-foot Octabank and a softbox.

Logistics: “I only had 10-15 minutes with the players to complete all the action shots so you have to make sure everything is set up correctly. Before the shoot, I tested everything with assistants until the lighting was perfect so it would go smooth. I worked on this shoot for two days and the players were actually running into the camera. We gave them about a 10-15 foot run-up so they could get their speed. If you try to fake it, it doesn’t really work and it looks unnatural.”
Though most of the players in the Stampede image were photographed before Red Bull Arena opened last April, other players who joined the team during the season were added in later such as French superstar Thierry Henry who is at the center of the shot.

Post Production: “Red Bull Creative did the post-production work. I worked with them closely to pull all the pieces together and then I handed off the images to them and they added in the digital bull. It’s a lot of work to put together, especially the animated 3D bull. Whoever did that, did a great job.”

(Click here to see behind-the-scenes video of Hoeffgen photographing Red Bulls player Rafa Marquez.)

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