Above: ‘Drive’ featuring the McLaren 650s, directed by Garen Barsegian
The new 2015 McLaren 650s is a stylish beast of a sports car. Faster than a bat out of hell, built of the latest innovations in material science, designed to hug the drivers body in a way that thrills and feels luxurious even at its top speed of 204 miles per hour—it boasts 500 foot pounds of of torque and 641 horsepower thanks to a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 and can hit 62 miles per hour in 3 second flat.
To celebrate the car’s launch, McLaren commissioned a film by director Garen Barsegian that would convey the intangible, subjective experience that is the 650s. Here we speak to Barsegian about his film, which we are premiering exclusively here on BlackBook
What drew you to McLaren?
One of the most interesting things about McLaren is that they are a new kind of auto manufacturer. Of course they’ve been around in the world of racing for decades. The lines, and the ideas behind their road going race cars shows that pedigree, but their approach is a brilliantly new one.
The P1 is a testament to an uncompromisingly new approach to speed. It’s little brother the 650s has the same heart and soul.
I recently saw a film McLaren had made to mark their 50th anniversary—it focused on Bruce McLaren, their founder, and was incredibly moving. But what I found most remarkable about it was that it showed only one car—a car that was in the distance destroyed against a barrier wth smoke coming out of it.
I thought that was a perfect example of McLaren’s approach and an inspiration to me.
Visually where did your ideas come from for the video?
The 650s screams at you standing still. Few things in this world can do that. I wanted to build an aesthetic around that idea. We never show the car physically moving—even though the name of the piece is “Drive”.
That was the starting point.
The lighting setup we designed was meant to create a feeling of movement. It gives a stationary car a feeling of motion
That coupled with the light painting photographs we animated create the sensation of wind moving across the body panels in an artful way.
I wanted to also showcase the fact that McLaren is very much a forward thinking company—so the futuristic undertones hit that note.
A big part of people’s emotional bond to cars is the sound their engines make. How did you arrive at the film’s score?
We had to turn the car on every time we wanted to re-position it, and holy shit man, the noise that this thing makes. It stops you dead in your tracks.
Aside from the sound of the car – 50% of film is audio. That’s a massive component of this project.
I was introduced to Frank Midnite, who created the score, through a mutual friend Samantha Banks. The second I heard his music I knew it was going to be a perfect fit.
There’s something so heavily cinematic about Frank’s music. Every time I listen to a track I imagine I’m in car driving at night through deserted industrial streets. But it’s really beyond that because it references sounds you feel like you’re familiar with but in a really new way.
That was the feeling we wanted: the car moves without being driven and this soundtrack really achieved that.
McLaren 650s – “Drive”
Production Company: GAREN.
Direction, Production, Lighting Design & Light Painting Photos – Garen Barsegian
Producer – Areg Barsegian
Cinematography – Jon Carr
Camera & Lighting Assistant – Ryan Sheehy
Production Assistant – Gabriel McNair
Editor – Rex Lowry @PS260
VFX – Narek Gevorgian
Music – Bright Future track re-worked ‘From Mclaren With Blood’ produced by Frank Midnite for Mclaren. Courtesy via Nite Thief Records 2014.
Sound Design & Mix – Steve ‘Major’ Giammaria @Sound Lounge
Music Supervisor: Samantha Banks
Color – Josh Bohoskey @ The Mill
Mill Producer – Heath Raymond