Car commercials typically take forever to shoot to get the perfect angles and lighting, but that may soon be a thing of the past. Developed by The Mill, an interactive special effects company, the Blackbird is a robotic chassis that expands and morphs to fit the wheelbase of any car. Instead of the car being advertised actually having to be on site, the car can be added in as CGI in post editing. Not only does the Blackbird provide the perfect stand-in, but it creates a 360˚ representation of the surrounding environment so the commercial will be perfect. Check out this innovative next gen filming technique below
Another thing that this filming method will enable is reuse of commercials. Assuming cars have the same wheelbase, you can change models instantaneously in the editing process, saving thousands in reshooting costs. Since CGI and graphics technologies have advanced to the point beyond where the viewer can tell the difference, this solution is going to become much more common in the filming industry.
"The Mill BLACKBIRD® is able to quickly transform its chassis to match the exact length and width of almost any car. Powered by an electric motor, it can be programmed to imitate acceleration curves and gearing shifts and the adjustable suspension alters ride height, rigidity and dampening to replicate typical driving characteristics." ~ The Mill
The Blackbird chassis has customizable horsepower and handling using 4 electric engines to mimic the performance of virtually every car on the market. If you need a car in a shot, no matter what it is, the Blackbird can be the cheaper alternative for filming. This chassis is truly a culmination of the pinnacle of automotive engineering and computer graphics and editing technology.
[Image Source: The Mill]
"A combination of high dynamic range imagery and 3D laser scanning generates a virtual version of the environment, producing 100% realistic CG renderings. The Mill has taken this a step further, developing a bespoke BLACKBIRD® AR application that allows you to see the intended vehicle in CG, tracked live over the rig on location." ~ The Mill
Imagine being able to film a movie with this device, and having the freedom to change the car which the character is driving with the press of a button. You can start to imagine how this car could reshape modern filming. If you haven't started questioning what is real and what is CGI on your screen, maybe you will now.
Written by Trevor English