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Falken Blog

Dancing in the Dark: The Making of Falken's Ultimate Dark Night R/C Drifting Video

This project brought together all the things that our Falken Tire team is passionate about – racing, vehicle control, the right tires for the job and, of course, having fun driving cool cars.

At Falken Tire, drifting is part of our competition DNA. We have supported Formula Drift since their first season over 11 years ago, winning 21 events and two championships. And, while we love the real deal, we think radio control (R/C) drifting scores pretty high on the adrenaline-rush meter. That’s why we recently unveiled 2:43 minutes of unadulterated R/C drifting madness – Falken Tire: Ultimate Dark Night R/C Drifting.

This video is our way of celebrating our partnership with the R/C pros at HPI Racing, as well as our love for drifting. Shot at Super-G Drift Arena in Baldwin Park, California, the 2:43 minute video was filmed in one day – one very long day!

While traditional drifting typically features two-car tandems, we thought four would be better than two. The four R/C cars that star in the video are equipped with the latest parts from HPI Racing, including body kits, Dai Yoshihara Champion wheels, wing kits and, of course, our own Falken AZENIS RT615k tires. The latter are also thanks to HPI Racing. Now you shouldn’t merely put Falken tires on your life-size Mustang, Nissan, Toyota or Subaru, but you can also show off your favorite tire brand on their 1/10th scale R/C car clones.

Providing even more realism to our quartet of cars were the LED light kits from MyTrick RC. Our friends at MyTrick RC also provided the street lights, traffic signals and fencing you see. Smoking tires – and that slightly foggy nighttime feel – were delivered with the help of smoke machines and some other production magic.

We built this city.

The creative team at Falken Tire HQ worked many hours to construct a nighttime mini city. Our goal was to replicate the feel and look of a night drift through city streets. It turns out that unlike in real life, the cars could very easily knock down all of the buildings, k-rails and street signs that we set up! Oops. In future videos, our sets will be a little more robust (that’s right, we said 'future videos').  In all, preparation for the shoot took two weeks before we were ready to put the cars on the ground.

Each driving shot you see in the video represents at least a couple of hours of work and some very neat tricks including a custom GoPro mount courtesy of HPI Racing. The choreography of each shot was a group effort. We couldn’t have done it without four talented drivers – Akihito Watamase, Katsumi Kuwakino, Gavin Roberts and Ko Aihara. Sometimes, we would try a particular shot or driving sequence and it wouldn’t quite work out the way we hoped, but the drivers would always figure out how to transform the action into sheer art.

Operating a 1/10 scale R/C car might not seem as serious as being behind the wheel of a real race car, but guess again. Memorable drifting requires a flawless combination of understanding vehicle capability and, of course, grip. Our R/C driver team executed the job perfectly. Best of all, while they may have taken out a few buildings along the way, in this case, they were easy to rebuild.

After an 11 hour shoot that lasted into the early morning hours, post-production kicked in. Falken Tire’s own Cale Bunker not only directed the shoot, but logged an impressive number of hours editing, scoring and creating the final product you see here.

“This project brought together all the things that our Falken Tire team is passionate about – racing, vehicle control, the right tires for the job and, of course, having fun driving cool cars,” said Bunker. “We’d definitely love to do another R/C drift video in the future, maybe something with an even more epic scale city. We are also thinking about a rock-crawling video, given Falken’s strong off-road tire line.” Falken fans who have an opinion can voice it on Falken’s Facebook page or via Twitter.

Many thanks to our friends at HPI Racing, without whom this video would still be a “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if….” conversation here at Falken Tire.