Thanks to the Blackbird, automotive content will never be the same.

By: Joel Patel

Securing exotic, high-performance vehicles for a video shoot can be an expensive and arduous ordeal. Between dealing with availability of the vehicle, location, and filming, setting up the perfect shot for movies or commercials is extremely difficult. With the Blackbird, The Mill has made it possible to shoot automotive content without needing a specific vehicle.

The Blackbird is the world's first fully adjustable car rig that cannot only alter its chassis to match the precise length and width of almost any car, but its looks as well. Using CGI, the car rig can be re-skinned to look like any car, and its electric motor can be programmed to emulate the driving characteristics of the subject car, too. Automotive content producers no longer need the physical vehicle for a shoot as the Blackbird is a do-it-all-rig.

In addition to being able to drive and look like any car, the Blackbird can help users build a virtual version of its environment by using a combination of 3D laser scanning and high-dynamic range imagery. For those that aren't as imaginative, The Mill has created a unique AR application that allows individuals to see the intended CGI vehicle on top of the rig.

As its name implies, the Blackbird was hand built in the same hanger as the Blackbird SR-71 supersonic jet by technicians from JemFX and took two years to complete.


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