Ever see a car commercial with a small caption that warns something along the lines of "model shown may not match your vehicle exactly"? Well, thanks to the Blackbird, that might no longer be a thing.
We all know that getting cars for a movie production can be expensive. As for car commercials: they often features cars that haven't yet been manufactured, so the cars' final details usually aren't finalised in time for the shoot (hence all the captions that warn about depicted models being different than the actual products). On top of that... paparazzi sometimes hunt shoots in order to spot the final design of hot cars.
Filming cars is therefore not only pricey, but also hectic and sometimes impossible. But a Visual Effect company called The Mill has developed a stand-in car that'll change all that. It's called Blackbird, and it can be used in both commercials and films. It's a fully-adjustable rig, meaning the chassis can match the length and width of almost any car. Then, using CGI, it can be edited to look like any car.
Producers no longer need a physical vehicle for a shoot. They no longer need the finances for an exotic, high-performing car. They no longer have to shoot models that won't match the final product they're trying to hawk. They no longer have to worry about paps leaking photos of a yet-to-be-released vehicle. Blackbird is a do-it-all-rig that eliminates all that hassle. It even has onboard 360-degree cameras.
Those cameras can be used to generate reflections and shadows when the real car body is added in post production. Speaking of post production stuff, The Mill even created a bespoke AR application that allows producers to see the CGI vehicle on top of the rig in real time.
The Mill said its Blackbird rig took two years to build. Also, it was hand-built in the same hanger as the Blackbird SR-71 supersonic jet by technicians from JemFX.