The My Ford crew immediately saw Austin as the ideal spot for telling the story of the new 2014 Ford Fiesta. But even a dream location can have a few hurdles to leap.
The article, a photo-heavy travelogue, was a case study in the challenges of taking pictures in an urban environment. “One thing about city shooting is that you need to have all of your t’s crossed and your i’s dotted,” reveals Jonathan Kane, My Ford photo editor and the lead photographer for this story. “You’re dealing with everything from city film commissions to commercial permits – you can’t just park and shoot all over the place at will.”
Because they were photographing in a densely populated area, the team also had to take special precautions with people who might unknowingly appear on camera. “If folks are visible in the picture, you have to blur them out and make sure they’re unrecognizable,” says Jonathan. “Sometimes you wait for them to pass, or sometimes you have to get creative. I’ve put beards on guys, made clothes different colors, and even created visors on motorcycle helmets so that we’re not imposing on anyone’s privacy.”
Then there’s the issue of actually getting the car to the location. Tony Ellison, a high-performance driver, often handles these sorts of jobs – that is, when he’s not acrobatically maneuvering a Ford fleet in front of commercial cameras. For Ellison, who spent time in the Monroe, Michigan, factory building catalytic converters (and whose dad still works there), this job is it.
“I tell everybody everyone all the time that I believe in Ford blue,” he explains. “There’s nothing more exhilarating for me than working for Ford Motor Company.”
Because this particular Fiesta was a pre-production model, Tony loaded it up on a trailer and drove it down to the Lone Star State. “Because it’s a brand-new model, I would usually prefer to drive the car itself so I can get the feel of it,” he says. “But trailering it certainly isn’t bad, especially when you’re pulling it with an F-450 Super Duty.”
Once Tony delivered the Fiesta safely to Austin, the job was just beginning. Thanks to the car’s prototype status, tony was one of a few select people allowed to get behind the wheel, and there was a lot of ground to cover in only three days.
Tony also takes particular pride in making sure his automobiles are spotless. “No matter what we’re driving or where we are, I want to make sure that car looks phenomenal,” he says. “I’m so proud of that Ford oval.” (His preferred tools for quick touchups? Detailing spray, glass cleaner, a clean microfiber cloth, and a car duster.)
One of the beauties of a travelogue story like “Austin City Limits” is that the production team gets to show off the city and its culture just as much as the car. In addition to the world-class barbecue and the quirky artistic community, music proved to be a common love for the team members, and a perfect focus to round out the story. And what better place to explore than the Live Music Capital itself?
“Music always has an association with events in your life,” says My Ford editor and writer Adam Risman, who used to spend summers in Austin. “Every time I hop in the car I’m brought back to the first record I played after getting my license. Or I think of my dad driving me to school when I was kid, listening to artists who stuck with him for such a long period of time.”
When it comes to artistic beacons, people tend to think of the East and West coasts. But the interesting thing about Austin is that for the past decade it’s been undergoing constant growth and change.
“For younger people across the country who are interested in arts and culture, Austin is becoming that beacon in the Southwest,” Adam says. “A lot of these cars Ford has been coming out with – your Fiesta, your Focus – are perfect for that audience.”