There’s another side to all the cars that are featured on Speedhunters. In fact, it exists at just about every single meet or event and throughout every build. Any time you see a photograph or video of a car, something is happening on the other side of the lens.
What is happening varies widely based on many things; the medium, the purpose, the budget, and the desired outcome, to name a few. While I’ve taken countless photos on my phone and dabbled in film photography, one medium that’s eluded me almost entirely is video.
Lately, that’s where Mark Vasilyuk has been filling the gaps for me, so to speak. You’ve probably seen his short films here in a few of my recent features from the Portland, Oregon area, and his work has progressed an amazing amount in the few years I’ve known him. This is doubly true when you consider the kit he’s working with and, after recently turning 16, I’m sure he’ll only continue his ascent once he gets his hands on a drivers license and a car.
When I first met Mark he was 12 years old and dancing around the apexes of drift courses in Oregon with a video camera. And as much as things change, sometimes they stay just the same.
While I was honeymooning in Hawaii, Mark was shooting at SuperD Matsuri, an incredible event put on by Drift Team Animal Style in Southern California. The original plan was to have Mark’s video, one of his longer-length projects, posted alongside Brandon Hallmark’s IATS submission but, as it often does, disaster struck.
Goodnight, sweet prince; Mark’s beloved laptop was catastrophically destroyed on his way home from California.
An honest mistake, Mark left the device on top of a car as he was rushing around the airport trying to catch his flight. It could have happened to anyone, and it’s one of those setbacks that can make or break someone when they’re starting out.
But Mark has far too much momentum to let a destroyed computer get in his way.
Onward & Upward
While the laptop incident did slow him down a bit, causing him to miss the SuperD deadline, as well as losing some footage and edit work that hadn’t yet been backed up, Mark hasn’t been letting up.
Perhaps not the most flattering of images (sorry, Mark), but it just shows you how hardworking this guy is. With a simple Glidecam and a skateboard Mark is able to create videos that I honestly enjoy watching much more than many from teams with a budget at least 10 times as big.
You can see his video from the Speedhunters private drift day at Pat’s Acres in chapter two here.
Of course, after the hard work of shooting is done you’re only maybe 20% of the way to a proper video. Hours and hours go into the post work to turn a smattering of clips into a film worth watching.
When I asked Mark where he finds the time to do all this he laughed, as much of his editing gets done during school. While not all of his teachers (or even his parents for that matter) approve, most have agreed to look the other way when he’s staring into the depths of his screen in the back of class.
That’s just as well because, again, editing video is an incredible time suck. Mark says can easily spend 10 hours doodling around on his laptop to make a video just a few minutes long. Usually this is carried over to multiple days (or nights, his favorite time to edit) and many scrapped video files.
Shooting The Shite
Mark has been shooting for four years now and he likes to really push himself on each new project. If you missed it, you can see his work RC350 F Sport at the end of this story.
When taking on a new project, Mark says that the videos he shoots with friends, rather than clients, carry a lot more meaning for him. Depending on the style of the car – or the owner for that matter – he’ll choose his music, compositions, cuts, and so forth based on this.
As with photography, there are lots of different techniques required to get the content you’re after. But from rolling shots to audio recordings, everything is just that little bit more difficult and time consuming.
The next time I ran into Mark he was at Thunderhill Raceway Park shooting a promotional video for my friends at OnGrid Track who are running a for-charity track day and car show event the first weekend of September. It’s slated to take place at the Auto Club Speedway Roval, so I suppose another trip to Los Angeles is in my future.
Hanging out in the back of a van with Mark it became painfully obvious how similar the two things that he and I do. Shooting a video is about all the same things as taking a photo: light, composition, timing, and so on. But, of course, the dimension of time plays a very different part in a video compared to a photo.
Namely, you have much less control over all of the variables when shooting a video in the wild. Your light can change in the blink of an eye if a cloud moves in front of the sun or if you do something as simple as going around a turn on a race track. Conditions were absolutely awful from this angle but the most exciting clip — which wasn’t exactly intentional and can be seen at around the 0:47 mark below — was picked up in the harshest of light, so Mark had to make it work.
And then there’s the matter of sound. While audio recording shares more than you might think with photography, the similarities are less obvious. A good friend of mind, Mathias, sat down one evening to explain. When you get into decent microphones you’ll have two channels, one for directly in front of you and one for the left and right component (expressed as either a negative or positive value depending on the direction).
Much like a RAW photo, these dimensions of sound can be separated and adjusted after the fact until you’re happy with what you’ve got. What really makes the difference, though, is how you capture this in the first place to ensure that you end up with what you want.
I didn’t need to worry about such things as sound and simply waited for the conditions to be in my favor to snap this particular rolling shot. So, while similar, the act of capturing a simple photography is relatively easy in comparison to what Mark’s up to.
Both mediums require you to be out and about in all manner of conditions, and the hours can be strenuous. To keep him going, Mark’s power food combo of choice is Cheetos and Red Bull, but I’m sure this will change as he gets a bit older.
Whatever’s in those Cheetos must be working, though, because after the long hot day at the track we made a couple more stops after getting to Fremont. I’ll have the story on this Spoon S2000 from Inspire USA wrapped up shortly, and expect to find a video from Mark in there.
In the meantime, enjoy a handful of my favorite videos Mark Vasilyuk’s made in the extra chapter below.
Trevor Yale Ryan