This is how car commercials are filmed without the actual car

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,773   +141
Staff member

Car commercials do an excellent job of making vehicles look almost too good to be true. As it turns out, they probably are… at least, if the Blackbird is involved.

The Blackbird is a visual effects stand-in for vehicles featured in commercials and movies. As Gizmag notes, its wheelbase, width, suspension travel and even engine response can be dialed in to match nearly any production vehicle while its onboard 360-degree cameras are used to create perfect reflections when the actual car body is overlaid in post-production.

Why go through all that trouble? Why not film the actual car being marketed in the commercial?

Auto commercials are often shot before the vehicle has even been manufactured. As such, some small visual details might not have been decided on yet so with CGI, you can add those in with ease. What’s more, auto makers typically keep the details of their new cars a closely guarded secret. Filming with something like the Blackbird gives the auto paparazzi nothing but a set of wheels to go on.

Another reason to use CGI has to do with location. It’s not easy to transport a brand new, unreleased vehicle to a remote location for filming. But with something like the Blackbird that’s not held back by production constraints, it’s far easier.

Above all else, CGI and a rig like the Blackbird ensures you’re going to get cleaner results. A car commercial is all about making said vehicle look desirable and CGI certainly eliminates any imperfections that might crop up with a traditional shoot.

So there you have it, yet another aspect of modern marketing unmasked.

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This is a very good idea,why would people want to watch something like a Golf GTI being thrown around a race track with a pro driver when we can watch zero's and one's cover a kit car.

Modern advertising at it's best.


Posts: 982   +339
I guess now we will start seeing a Blackbird running a setup that is "slightly better" than the actual car so the commercial can show the car doing things it can't really do. Of course there will be very, very tiny text shown in the last few seconds stating that it is not the real vehicle in the commercial, probably mixed in with the loan amounts and statement saying if you are not perfect you can't get the payments shown.


Posts: 6,087   +6,510
Just about any car AD includes a good look through the car's interior and basic use of the controls. How are they going to mimic that?
From now on, I will never trust the car manufacturers' claims about their cars. I know now that they are all bull, empty claims, bait and switch.


Posts: 982   +339
Just about any car AD includes a good look through the car's interior and basic use of the controls. How are they going to mimic that?
If they can skin the outside with this thing they can do the inside too, shouldn't be too hard.