Meet the drift photographer: Mido Rabie.
Drifting from Egypt to Dubai!
Sarah: So Mido introduce yourself to the people of DriveTribe!
Mido: Hello, thanks for having me and I'm actually so happy specially that this is my first interview I've ever done and it might be long from the amount of stories I'm gonna tell!
My name is Mido, I'm a freelance videographer/photographer/graphics designer working on my new brand "MidoRabie Films'' you can just go for "Mido Rabie''. I'm from Egypt, based in Dubai for about 4 years now but actually time doesn't matter to me at all, It's all about the knowledge, lessons and the experience you gain because mostly now you always hear about this new camera or this new equipment technology and specs or you'd hear about new editing techniques or coloring styles based on some known movies/t.v series. And honestly this is why I keep forcing myself to make effective progress in each part in my job trying a new camera, new editing software or technique, color grading styles, script writing, screen playing or even directing. In case I couldn't do it myself for any reason, I read about it. I'm capable of shooting anything in motorsports, drifting, time attack, endurance, karting, moto's, rally, stance cars, formula 1 etc. I guess anything but I'm actually specialized in Drifting, branding videos and features.
Picture credit: Karim Yassin.
Mido: Oh yeah, I've been into cars since I was a little kid. Maybe because I was born and lived in Kuwait for 16 years and I was able to hear my neighbor's Camaro V8 anger or that soft roaring of my teacher's Porsche 911 Turbo.. Or even my father's Chevy Caprice idle. And after my family moved back to Egypt it was totally different and the collection of sport cars I see was all about BMWs' Vanos, Civics' V-techs, 2.4L Mivec swapped engines in Mitsubishi Lancer/Colt cars, VWs' with VR6 engines.. In general, it was like cars in a whole different manufacturing category. Actually Egypt was my start to attend legal organized races and championships like the Egyptian Autocross Championship, Egypt Speed Challenge and Time Attack Egypt following that with few years I've witnessed the start of drifting in Egypt ever which was held by Red Bull but it was a "Car Park" drifting style.
Sarah:When did you start your photography career?
Mido: I started my videography/photography career in May 2014 at Red Bull Car Park Drift - Egypt Qualifiers 2016. At this time I was holding the positions "Main Video Editor" & "Graphics Designer" in a team called Drift8.com, and I was holding my teammate's Canon 550D with a 50mm lens, actually it was the first time I've ever held a camera and shot. The funny thing is that I let the lens focus system on automatic mode thinking that the camera will follow focus by itself and some of the best footage movements were totally out of focus! I was still so excited about the whole final product we did and I did what I wanted to do most.
Sarah: How did you come about the name Mido Rabie Films?
Mido: My name is Mohamed Rabie and Mido is the nickname of Mohamed. The confusion I had was the second part which is my profession! I do films, but most people say that my photos are really good too, but I preferred to stick with "Films" since most of my main posts are about videos.... Actually this question made me start rethinking about it!
Sarah: How did you ''get into'' modified cars?
Mido: Actually it was before "The Fast and The Furious" movie or "Need For Speed Underground" game which are the most common answers. I remember 2 other games I used to play on PS1; "Need For Speed High Stakes" and "Test Drive 6". Both of them allow you to modify your car's performance but NFS added body kits and the wheel changing part and I was in love with it, that made me start imagining if I own a Camaro or M3 or a Supra or any other.. How should it look like, after I modify the body kit?! And the result was a beautiful after sketching them.. Yes, I used to sketch cars and modify them for years since mid. school and I actually made some of these designs real - like "The Kyza" now a days - in countries like Egypt, UAE, Kuwait, Japan and Italy!
Sarah: When did the love of drifting start for you
Mido: Drifting was and will always be something special. I remember it first hit me when I was checking car videos on YouTube and suddenly in 2007 or 2008 I saw this video of a grey 4 door Skyline GT-R R34 of Ken Nomura in Meihan, Ebiso and other Japanese tracks and I was like having this big "WOW". And obviously drifting started to be always my first recommended videos on YouTube and so I fell in love with Formula Drift by watching the productions that been produced by some of the finest filmmakers there, beside Monster Energy, Speed Hunters, GT Channel and Falken Tires video productions in 2009, 2010...etc. I also can't forget King Of Europe/Nations and Drift Allstars productions.
Sarah:Where did you go after that? When did you start to take drift photography seriously?
Mido: In 2013, a university colleague asked me if I could be an editor in a website called Drift8.com he was working on and it was supposed to be about cars and motorsports news. The whole idea changed from a news website to a media coverage team/website after I offered my best friend "Mohamed Essam" - a photographer - to be with us, I suggested that he would be the creative director for the team's benefit, too. I started to learn how to use "Photoshop" to help edit photos and do graphic designs. Then "Sony Vegas Pro" to edit videos and my role in the team changed from a sketch artist to the main Graphics Designer and Video Editor. Watching YouTube made me wonder about raising the Egyptian video production which was so weak and standard except a very few people - maybe 2 or 3 maximum - and they were not following all the events like our team at that time and that was my real start in the videography field and taking it seriously. I started to be more creative with my camera moves and angles and being more aggressive with editing the videos beside studying more cameras and lenses using YouTube reviews and tutorials. We were everywhere and the team was getting bigger and bigger every week, I got everyone's attention in Egypt and I was challenging myself every time to give our fans something new with every production we produce. When we started getting offers from teams and events, the founder of our team tried to be bossy and wanted to manage everything although he had zero knowledge about the scene. Of course it was enough for the creative director to leave because it was him and me that actually built the team and carried its name from "zero to a hero" as they call it, and of course I got kicked out with no reason the following week and I stated: "I only feel sad because 2 Years of work are going to vanish in 2 months.. Good luck guys!" and it happened just like what I said literally.. No one heard about that team again except a few times after.
I worked on some projects after that incident alone and for 6 months which was too hard and it wasn't that enough and satisfying for me. But everything changed in one night, I was out with my friends at our spot somewhere in Cairo, "Essam" was there and it was actually a week before "Red Bull Car Park Drift - 2015 Egypt qualifiers''. I took him aside and told him "We should make something together and I'm sure that it will work this time." He gave me a smile, we started picking names, we decided to call it AutoMotion [Films], we kept it secret, I went home and packed my back bag, I went to his home and we stayed that night preparing the next day's work. 24 hours later everything was almost set.. Facebook page was ready, YouTube channel was ready, he finished some photo editing and I was done with the video. We dropped the video and for the first time ever I felt so proud about something I did so perfect during that time. I couldn't imagine that we created a Facebook page with only owners likes (2), dropping a video and it BANGED the whole car community in only 5 hours and with a few shares it reached more than 7000 views - which was huge back in that time.. Even some people thought that it's the official event trailer!! Of course we announced ourselves, printed t-shirts and stickers, got our media accreditation which was really really hard to get from Red Bull and of course the aftermovie we did had its own style and was satisfying to everyone who watched it! At this point, I made the decision to take it VERY SERIOUSLY.
By time the drifting community started believing in us more and more and racers started ordering their own coverage from us trying to advertise their sponsors or to advertise themselves so they earned them. Thankfully, we've never failed to impress anyone even if we are going to lose money for quality and that actually happened at Red Bull Car Park Drift 2016, about 10 "new & old names" drifters pulled off their deals with us because they just didn't qualify! And that costed us more than 8,000 Egyptian pounds of loss which was a hard hit specially that this was my only actual job and my partner was still a university student. Actually we forgot all that for a few hours when the competition ended, first and second places were our clients too and we celebrated their achievements even when we were almost dead of being tired.. Almost 4 days of shooting and moving between workshops, editing and shooting the event! We kept growing and we were almost there to do a real deal contract. Until I got a phone call to work in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; that was the end of an era for me with the car park drift style and the Egyptian motorsports in general.
Sarah: When did you first get close to the drifting action?
Mido: The first time I've ever witnessed a proper "Tandem Battle" was actually in Egypt, it was like a show done after the "2015 Egyptian Drifting Championship - Round 3", but as I said it was just a show after hours of car park drifting. But the first proper tandem battle competition was "King Of Nations Round 1 / King Of Desert Round 2" at Yas Marina Circuit - Abu Dhabi. And of course it was like I'm dreaming or something, shooting names like Daigo Saito, Luke Fink, Ahmad Daham, Ahmed Al Amery and some other very known drifters from the Middle East region.. I was kinda dreaming!
Sarah: So you're hooked on drifting now!
Mido: Who is not?! Drifting is like love from the first sight for everybody, I guess!
Sarah: So far in your career what's been the most memorable moment for you? When was it?
Mido: There are more than one memory, but entering the Bikernieki track in Riga, Latvia and the warm welcome I had from the officials, other media friends like Robyworks, and from the drifters was outstanding. All of that was back in August 2018.
Working with Prodrift Academy Dubai on some super projects specially with Dodge Middle East also is one of my favorites too in the near past.
Sarah: We have reached 2021, this year's season hasn't started yet but where do you see yourself going in 2021 and what do you see happening this year?
As so many people, 2020 started big for me with continuing produce for Prodrift Academy UAE, Dodge Middle East and collaborating with Emirates Drift Championship, drifters in Dubai and Bandana Street. The COVID-19 pandemic started hitting everyone, and suddenly I was stuck at home and out of work. Everything got cancelled! All my plans vanished! I was supposed to spend winter in Dubai and go to Europe during summer! I went into some kind of depressed mood and packed my luggage; "I'm heading back to Cairo, Egypt... Home"!!
I couldn't imagine that my country here was so open like NORMAL LIFE before the coronavirus. And once I posted that I'm back, the DMs started raining to do some productions in different fields beside the motorsports. Not everything was sorted to be done but the ones I released were so good, and more are coming!! 2021 is here, I just wish things could be normal like before. To do more and more unique stuff, release my website and maybe achieve something I couldn't achieve before! Yalla Habiby, I'm here and I'm down for anything, anywhere and anytime!
Sarah: Will you be doing any other photography work apart from drifting this year?
Mido: I actually do other work besides drifting and motorsports but I don't share them that much unless it's really worthy!
Sarah: Favourite drift car to photograph?
Mido: Anything that goes sideways is PERFECT to me. But I wish I was able to shoot Formula Drift back in 2010 to 2015, there was this drifter - Conrad Grunewald.. He was a beast in his Camaro.
Sarah: Who has been your favourite drifter to work with?
Mido: Rami Serry and Ahmed Tarek in Egypt, we - AutoMotion Films team - did a great job shooting them back in days. But I can't forget Nick Solomon in the UAE and Oman, he is a good guy and so passionate about doing something for himself.
Sarah: Favourite all time event you have been to?
Mido: Of course, 2018 Drift Masters European Championship Round 3 in Latvia.. I'm definitely going back there.
Sarah:Looking to the future where do you see yourself and your photography going?
Mido: Happy, filming around the world!
Sarah: Tell us a random fact about you!
Mido: During all those years. Of course I made a lot of mistakes and bad choices I've made, and I still do and I will make more mistakes! I'm just a human being and that's how life goes. I know I'm not perfect but I know that I'm a smart person.
One of my best moments too is: When I was injured in Oman's 2018 Final round, I've never expected the amount of love I had from the people around the world.. I received tons of messages from Drifters, organizers and media people literally from everywhere! But the best part about it was a piece of James Deane's S14 rear bumper and another piece of Ahmad Daham's S15's wing!
People might wonder that I've actually never owned a camera in my life, until November 2018! 95% of my work was done by rented equipment , even now.. Of course I have to rent a lot of stuff in order to produce the best quality. I know it's risky and cutting a lot from my income, but it is how it is and I'm grateful for what I have and to be able to do something I really love and enjoy.
One thing I could understand from my journey, it's that I'm not a quitter.
Big thanks to Mido for doing this interview, if you want to follow Mido on social media I've shared his social links below!
I’m a filmmaker based in Dubai now for 5 years. I started my career since May 2014 and mainly I do films, documentaries and commercial videos in the automotive & motorsports fields. I’m a self-taught person since the beginning of my career until this present moment. Not risking the project and my client’s plans is my number one rule. I always enjoy working with people and teams, getting involved in every step of the production to gain & share knowledge and opinions because we all want to create something crazy, different and unique. I do cinematography, video editing, script writing, film directing and coloring. Follow me on my other platforms: • https://www.facebook.com/MidoRabieOfficial • https://www.instagram.com/itsmidorabie