You know those car TV commercials? How they shoot is probably none of our business, but special effect specialist, The Mill, has came up with a brilliant solution that would help future car commercial making cost less and the tool it proposes is a car. But it is not just any car, it is a high-tech skeletal car called Blackbird. Blackbird is a fully adjustable car rig that can be any make or model of car you want it to be, whether it is an Aston Martin, a Chevy, or the latest Audi model. With Blackbird, The Mill marries a real car and CGI to create realistic car motion, while allowing flexibility to tweak any aspect of the car’s appearance or even change model, without piling up the cost.
Onboard the Blackbird are sophisticated imagery and laser scanning technology that will allow the creation of realistic CG car rendering based on the physical environment and the final CG car then overlays onto the Blackbird to result in the final product. What impresses us most is, this car rig is completely adjustable across multiple parameters, including the length, the width, and the suspension, can be tweaked to mimic the intended car’s chassis design. And it doesn’t stop there. The electric motor that powers it is programmable too, thus allowing Blackbird emulate the actual car right down to its driving characteristic.
Sure, advertising agencies can go out CGI, but this option may not yet be as realistic with today’s technology. However, with Blackbird, it affords filmmakers to shoot actual car motion in real location and in the process, capturing all physical elements like ground contacts, smoke from the tires and even shadows to add to the realism. The Mill even when to length to create a bespoke AR application which will allows client to track over the Blackbird, in real time and on location, to see the intended vehicle in action, so there will be no nasty surprises. Best of all, the digital assets created can be reused again and again, and across all platforms, thereby resulting in further cost savings.
From the look of it, Blackbird appears to be the future of car commercials and who knows, other filmmakers could also leverage on this car rig’s flexibility? Imagine how much one can save when don’t need to rent a Lamborghini Gallardo for the set.
Images courtesy of The Mill.