A London-based VFX studio named The Mill has unveiled a new car rig that makes it possible to create realistic renderings of practically any car in the world. Comprising a fully adjustable chassis, a programmable electric motor, in addition to onboard cameras and lasers it is possible for the Blackberry as the rig is called to represent any vehicle in the world. This car will make it easy and cheap to shoot car commercials. The Blackbird uses its wide range of equipment including many cameras and a custom stabilization unit to create a virtual variant of the environment required for the ad or the movie. The photorealistic CG overlays made with dynamic range imagery and 3D laser scanning can convert the Blackbird into any car you desire. With just the click of a button, it is possible to modify the suspension. The wheel base can be adjusted by 4′ in length and 10″ in width while it can be fitted with any type of wheel on the market as it accepts wheel lugs from all manufacturers. The electric engine can also be programmed to emulate the driving characteristics of almost any vehicle.
Another distinctive feature of the rig is that The Mill has developed a bespoke Blackbird AR application that makes it possible for advertisers to see the intended vehicle in CG, tracked live over the rig on location. Thus, the clients can see what the different cars would end up looking like in the shoot.
The Mill developed the Blackbird over a period of two years by working in close collaboration with JemFX, Performance Filmworks, and Keslow Camera. According to The Mill, the Blackbird is a game-chjanging innovation in the advertising industry.
Using the Blackbird means that manufacturers will not need to reshoot ads every time a model is launched as the footage shot with the Blackbird can be modified with new CG overlays of current vehicles. In the near future, it may also be used to shoot car chase sequences for action movies.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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