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Inside Nascar
NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience not only transports audiences into the world of the drivers – the film also profiles the race teams that keep them on the track and the fans whose intense devotion fuels the phenomenon. Devoted fans, primarily families, spend days traveling hundreds of miles to camp out for a weekend and experience the intense atmosphere of the grueling competition. The most coveted spots for watching NASCAR races are down in the infield, as close to the action as you can get without actually being on the track. NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience takes these dedicated fans a step further into the racing world, traveling onto the track and behind the scenes to illuminate facets of the sport experienced only by the drivers and crews themselves.

To further document the authentic drama of NASCAR, the production filmed at various research, safety and testing environments, including NASCAR's new state-of-the-art Research and Development Center in Concord, North Carolina. In these scenes, the film examines the science behind the speed: the intricacies of today's racing technology, the cutting-edge machines and the underlying physics that drivers depend on to propel them at breathtaking speeds while maneuvering within inches of their competitors.

"I felt it was really important that this film focus on the things that the fans don't see on Sunday at the racetrack or on television,” notes Goldberg, "whether it be in the garage for qualifying or in the race shops during the construction of a car, the minute details and idiosyncrasies of everything that it takes to put a racecar on the track is remarkable.”

The race shops, where cars are designed and built, provide insight into facets of the sport experienced only by the drivers and race teams. "The natural environment of the race shops, with the equipment they use to construct engines and chassis and roll cages, are rich with subject matter that lends itself to 3D,” Goldberg says.

"The race shops are so big and they have so much depth, they're really fantastic to see in IMAX 3D,” adds Wincer, who made full use of the 3D technology. "Audiences will see sparks and metal shavings flying at them as mechanics grind steel, weld and drill out car parts using high-tech computer controlled machines.”

Filming inside the expansive race shops proved challenging for Neihouse and his lighting team, who used high-speed film stocks and upwards of 200,000 watts of light to illuminate the dense environments. "These shops are something – more than 200,000 square feet on average, and there are interesting things going on throughout,” the cinematographer explains. "The main subject of a shot might be a car body being assembled, but you're also going to see all the activity going on in the background. To convey this in IMAX 3D, you want to have as much depth in the image as you can, so you have to light much brighter than you normally would.”


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