Texas DP Roger Woodruff on NASCAR
Talent isn’t the only quality a DP needs to have when working a NASCAR race, passion’s a must to truly encompass the atmosphere and spirit of this sport in the footage you hand over to the client. I’ve been attending NASCAR races since I was a kid. These drivers are athletes! They train hard both mentally and physically. They have families and lives outside of racing. Those are the moments I love to capture. Those are the stories I want to tell.
I’m no stranger to NASCAR or the tracks they race on. In fact I’ve been to every track except Kansas, Las Vegas, and Homestead. I love this sport and I’ve been lucky enough to experience things only fans could dream of. I’ve captured Kurt Busch throwing out the first pitch at a baseball game, Carl Edwards giving a personal tour of his private jet, and even spend the day in NYC with Brad Keselowski.
I cut my teeth while on the road with Fox Sports and Turner as Skip Clark’s DP apprentice. I ran audio, learned the track layouts, and found that I was right at home. After my time with Skip I went on to be a cameraman based in Nashville, before moving to Texas.
A couple years ago I got a great opportunity to DP TNT’s “All Access” features for their NASCAR Summer Series. You can read about my experience here. For six weeks I was on the road. Each week I followed around a different NASCAR driver. I literally bounced around the county. These guys have busy lives. Even when they aren’t at the track. I followed Denny Hamlin to the Fedex headquarters. I rode in a Ford Rapter with Brad Keselowski at the Ford test track outside Detroit. I even spent the day at Cedar Point with Juan Pablo Montoya.
I’m definitely in my element when I’m telling one of NASCAR’s stories. At the end of the day the gear doesn’t really matter when it comes to telling a story. Passion matters. Being driven matters. Having the right attitude matters. If you want a DP that has all of this and can also shoot and light the hell out of anything, then you just found the right guy.