Car Commercials Without a Car: Meet the Blackbird

Shooting car footage is a complex process. That’s because you have to get all the gear — including the vehicle — to the location to record the scene. If it’s a commercial and an automaker changes something about the car, a new video has to be shot to keep it current, which can be a pricey adjustment. If the car in the commercial hasn’t been revealed yet, the crew might be trying to get video of the vehicle while fending off any curious onlookers. That requires a team of security and a careful network of sheets and curtains. However, a company in England has come up with a way to make taping commercials and movie footage of cars simpler than ever. The solution is a complex car rig called the Blackbird, which basically looks like a black dune buggy with an array of cameras on top. What this simple setup hides is a complex tool that can eliminate the need for real cars to be present for shots in commercials, and make things incredibly easier when models are upgraded. After the footage is shot, artists can go in and add the body of the vehicle that's supposed to be driving down the road. Take a look at the video below and you’ll see how it’s done.