Notes on the film
by Walter Korinek
The film “Milestones of a restoration / Stationen einer Restauration” describes the restoration of a legend in automotive racing history. The vehicle – a Porsche 917 – is a racing car made by the german automobile manufacturer Porsche in 1970. Porsche clinched overall victory at the 24-hour race in Daytona that year with this car, driven by Pedro Rodriguez and Leo Kinnunen. Outside the racing scene, the vehicle with the Gulf colors became a legend in the 1971 film „Le Mans“ starring Steve McQueen.
On the history of the Porsche 917/015
This Porsche 917 had an eventful history until the restoration at ORCA RESTORATION in 2019-2020. With the chassis no. 015 it was built in 1970 and sent to the world’s race tracks by Porsche. With the maximum permitted displacement of 4.99 liters, the engine of the bolide develops 463 kW (630 hp) at 8300 rpm. It has a Porsche 4-speed gearbox and a tubular aluminum frame with glued fiberglass panels and a fiberglass body. At the end of the 1970/71 season it was withdrawn from active racing and partially rebuilt.
After almost 50 years with various collectors, the car was sold again to Alfred Kist and his team in Nussdorf, where it was completely restored to its original condition from 1970. Now it is optically and technically in top condition again.
ORCA Restoration GmbH
ORCA RESTORATION GmbH was founded in 2017 by graduate engineer (TH) Alfred Kist. The company is located in a district of the small town of Eberdingen, very close to the Porsche development center. Behind a neutral new facade, treasures and valuables from the world of motorsport are restored, rebuilt and also serviced. The company combines ancient mechanical craftsmanship and the latest technology today. Optical measuring systems, such as an ‚Atos Triple scan‘ from GOM GmbH – also used by most car manufacturers – as well as mechanical measuring devices enable Alfred Kist’s team to identify old and defective parts for which there are no longer any design documents to create a CAD drawing afterwards and to manufacture the required parts using a 3D printer or a 5-axis CNC machine. A steel precision straightening platform for the repair or new manufacture of chassis and bodywork as well as a paint shop are also available to the specialists at ORCA.
Structure of the film
The film lets the audience take part in some stages of the restoration process. In doing so, I dissolved the real chronology of the work in favor of a cinematic dramaturgy. The restoration process is told using a few exemplary scenes. These processes are introduced by the two protagonists Alfred Kist and Christian Schneider. The film culminates without comment in the roll-out of the ready-to-drive Porsche 917 at Heubach airfield near Schwäbisch Hall.
The vehicle itself is the protagonist of the film and is presented in the image and with the characteristic sound of the twelve-cylinder. A reportage-like style with close proximity to the subject and the lack of effects are my preferred film language. Only the music by Alexander Nakarada and Sascha Ende underline the pictures. In the scenes on the test bench by Bruce Henni and in the driving scenes at the airfield, the sound of the engine is enough to make the hearts of car lovers beat faster. Overall, I made sure that the images were as cinematic as possible when editing, giving the aesthetics priority over a purely documentary perspective.
The film is released in two versions: the English version with the title “Milestones of a restoration” and a German one called “Stationen einer Restauration”.
In the first version, I translated the explanatory words by Alfred Kist and Christian Schneider into English and set them as voice-over over the original sequences. I chose this approach over the alternative of subtitles in order not to distract the viewer from the picture by the lettering.
The background of the film
Alfred Kist became aware of my cinematic work through a conversation on the sidelines of an event. Without knowing anything about me, he told me that he was interested in having a very special restoration project documented on film. It quickly became clear that this project had the potential to become something very special. During the shooting, I quickly felt the special spirit of ORCA RESTORATION; This is where people work with the highest level of expertise paired with a passion for these special vehicles, their history and the technical and technical conditions. I really liked the way they work there. Just a few weeks after the first meeting, I was in the workshop in Nussdorf in October 2019 and the journey began. More and more I dealt with racing cars and all related matters. Well, after finishing the work, I can say that for me it was more than a shoot, it was an immersion in a new world.
Accompanying and documenting such a restoration process is not an everyday briefing. Alfred, Christian, Marco, Friedemann, Emmanuel and Johannes from ORCA RESTORATION placed a lot of trust in me. That is wonderful and also sets high expectations.
Our trip lasted over a year. I kept going to Nussdorf, looked around, created a shooting schedule and a shotlist for the respective scenes and then I was filming. It is nice to see what is possible when people believe in a common goal and it is even better when this is pursued with such competence and passion.
Camera | Optics
I filmed with a Canon camera, a Sony DSLM and the DJI Osmo Pocket. The main camera was the X 100. I shot some scenes with my Sony Nex 7 with the f4 / 18-105mm lens. The DJI Osmo Pocket performed very well as a small gimbal camera. Most of the time I worked with the absolutely reliable XF 100, often on a Manfrotto monopod or as a handheld camera.
It was important to me to convey the atmosphere on the acoustic level as well. So whenever possible I recorded the original sound. This was also the basis for a subtle sound design. I recorded the interviews either with the Takstar SGC 598 Shotgun or with the small Rode Wireless Go set.
The light kit was minimalist. I only had a small LED headlight and a reflector with me. I used natural light wherever possible and chose the position and angle according to local conditions. Logistically, a bigger setup would not have been possible for me as a one-man band.
The editing was done with Final Cut Pro X for the entire period. With my iMac, I used the proxy workflow with the MXF files created in the Canon cameras. The big challenge was developing the storyline. I didn’t want to tell the story linearly based on the restoration, but rather give the audience a kind of overview at the beginning, which should then build up an arc of tension. It quickly became clear that it would not be a very short film.
After taking the picture lock, I started grading. I was curious what could be tickled out of the filmed material. After initial attempts with Filmconvert, I managed the entire color adjustment with the on-board tools of Final Cut. The ability to fix the basics in such a quick and easy way turned out to be a real win. The shots were quickly aligned and corrected for brightness and white balance. The work was natural and intuitive. The performance on the iMac is also very pleasant.
It is a great privilege to have the confidence to tell stories like this in my way. Moving images are my passion. When it comes to filmmaking, it’s important to listen carefully. Going deeper into facts and asking more. This is how authentic and relevant stories are created. The focus of my work is on people. They are the authentic ambassadors of the history of the film. A key feature of almost all of my films is the content of a report combined with an aesthetic image design and camera work. In a time of overabundance of media offers, these are essential elements that support and reinforce the message of the film.
Thank you Alfred, Christian, Marco, Friedemann, Emmanuel and Johannes from ORCA RESTORATION for giving me this insight.
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