Full Behind The Scenes Of A Photoshoot With KITT And The A-Team Van

I've been working on a personal photo series capturing movie and television cars (real and replica) for about 5 years now under the title "The Unicorn Project". I've posted about this before on Fstoppers (herehere, & here), as you may recall. Most recently, I had an opportunity to photograph a replica A-Team Van and KITT from Knight Rider while I was in Los Angeles. These happen to be two of my favorite television cars of all time. Watch the video and read the full post below to learn how it was done.

I didn't have a lot of notice to prepare for this shoot and this didn't allow me to do a lot of location scouting. We all wanted to keep the location close to where Alex and Nathan (owners of the 2 cars) were meeting us so that they didn't have to drive their cars unnecessarily far. Another important stipulation was that we would have to find a place that wouldn't attract too much attention, which is hard to do with these vehicles. Thankfully we found a cool parking lot location with an abandoned building background on one side and 2 trailers on the other side.

I figured the A-Team van would look best in front of that abandoned building, since the characters of the original show were hiding in the Los Angeles underground...and this seemed to convey that. The trailers seemed to fit for KITT because they reminded me of his mobile headquarters from the original show.

Photos were captured with my Phase One IQ140 645DF+ digital medium format. Love that camera for its dynamic range. I get fantastic details in the highlights and shadows, which is perfect for automotive work. I favored my Schneider 75-150mm and 55mm lenses for this shoot (cars and owner portraits).

Video by the amazing Brian A. Peterson: www.brianapetersen.com

Special thanks to Alex Wong and Nathan Truman of Star Car Central: www.starcarcentral.com

Retouching help by Filip Osowski: www.filiposowski.com

Camera and raw processing software by Phase One: www.PhaseOne.com

Camera strap by Vulture Equipment Works: www.vultureequipmentworks.com

Check out my website and facebook page to see more of my photos and see more behind the scenes from my shoots.

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Screen capture of my screen before the edits began Screen capture of my screen before the edits began

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Before retouch Before retouch

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14 Comments

I love the A team van one in the before but the processing is a bit too heavy. I bet the full size pics are amazing though.

I bet that was a fun photo shoot. When the A Team's theme song kicked in, I cranked up the volume! The A Team and Knight Rider were also two of my favorite TV shows. I'd love to do a shoot like this!
So, when are you photographing the General Lee?

Willis Bretz's picture

Nice work Douglas. I've always enjoyed this series of yours.

Erik Tande's picture

Does anyone have a link on how the Kitt post-processing was done (or something similar)? I love the look. Thanks!

The look was pretty simple to create. Aside from cleaning up the car a bit and adding the flare, I just masked out the ground, trailers, and KITT individually. Then threw down different curves layers on each for separation. After that I went in with some color adjustments.

Erik Tande's picture

Thanks! I'll have to give that a try!

If you are ever in the Chicago Area you are welcome to shoot my 1977 Rockford Files Firebird replica. It was used on the "Pioneers Of Television" series as Jim Rockford's Firebird. jimsuva34@aol.com

If you are ever in Chicago, I have a 1977 Rockford Files Firebird. It was used on the "Pioneers Of Television" Series as Jim Rockford's Firebird. You are welcome to shoot it. jimsuva34@aol.com

The shots look great and thank you for the detailed BTS video! Kit's owner is sending a mixed message with his JDM shirt though, he knows its a domestic right!? :P Maybe part of the joke? lol

Spy Black's picture

He spends all that time and effort just to Instagram the shots? He shoulda just used an iPhone...

Douglas Sonders's picture

uh... those were clearly behind the scenes shots. not sure which shots youre referring to. I normally dont run my phase one files through my phone's editing program