The Dawn of Driverless Trucking

A Black Hawk crew flew out west and shot this in several locations across California for a sponsored series on the BBC.

In order to make this, we first researched the subject heavily and reached out to contacts across the trucking industry. Through those contacts, we generated leads for veteran truckers that we could ride along with, and were introduced to industry experts. Those experts spoke to us about the impact that driverless trucking will have on every aspect of trucking throughout the United States, transforming the country in the process.

Although the piece that the BBC commissioned is quite short, we went through a lengthy pre production process before we made our way down to San Francisco. For documentary projects like this, it's crucial to understand as many details as possible before we begin shooting so that we can structure a narrative and plan the shoot out as much as possible. Sometimes, documentary projects require you to improvise on the fly after a character reveals something extraordinary, sending you off in a direction you hadn't anticipated, but while run and gun video production may work for some, when there's a strict timeline and budget, pre producing the hell out of the piece is critical. The more you know before you start shooting, the less chance you'll be veering off course, potentially wasting time, and money. Whether it's documentary, or scripted, or branded content, we know that the majority of the work takes place before the shoot, through phone calls, and pre interviews, and after the shoot, in the editing room.

Shooting with an Arri Amira and a Canon C300, the same gear used for some of Netflix's award winning productions, we generated an enormous amount of footage for this BBC piece. Our super talented cinematographer on the piece, Quinn Gundersen, spent hours upon hours at a truck stop in Sacramento, capturing every bit of detail to bring together this portrait of Americana. From above the truck stop, we used drone videography to give viewers a birds eye view of life on the edge of the highway with aerial video.

The amount of valuable content from our interviews and ride alongs could've brought this piece into the 12-15 minute category, but the BBC asked for a tight digital film, and that's what we delivered.

After the shoot, we took the footage back to Toronto where we scripted the piece and submitted the edit to the BBC's offices in New York. From commission to final submission, the whole process was finished in just a few weeks, and the response from the BBC editors in London was overwhelmingly positive.

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