Blackbird, the phantom commercial car

In the past, when you saw a commercial advertising a car, it is likely that the featured vehicle was the actual model that you could purchase at your local dealer.

Nowadays, however, due to advancements in engineering and computer modeling, rigs are used to simulate vehicles.

Via The Mill

One such rig is the Blackbird – a fully adjustable car rig that creates photoreal CG cars for automotive advertising. The car rig is made by the film production company The Mill.

Via The Mill

With this rig, advertisers no longer need to have their content dictated by variables such as car availability and model revisions.

Instead, the can shoot at any time, in any location and not have the need for a physical car.

Via The Mill

The Blackbird has the ability to match the chassis specifications of nearly any car, so the post production computer modeling can accurately depict the advertised automobile. The operator simply programs the chassis specifications and the rig adjusts accordingly.

In addition, the Blackbird is powered by an electric motor and, when programmed to do so, it can imitate driving characteristics of cars from the past, present, and future.

Via The Mill

For example, the rig can imitate acceleration curves and gear shifts. The Blackbird also has an adjustable suspension that alters ride height, rigidity, and dampening to further replicate a variety of automobiles.

Via The Mill

The Blackbird is also equipped to capture high quality footage and data. Engineered in collaboration with award winning technicians and engineers, the vehicle features a camera array and a state-of-the-art stabilization unit.

In post-production, footage of the Blackbird is combined with high dynamic range imagery and 3D laser scans captured by the rig to yield a perfect virtual version of the vehicle and its environment.

Via The Mill

The Blackbird was hand built by the world’s foremost engineers and technicians in the same hanger that the legendary Blackbird SR-71 supersonic stealth jet was made. This is where the vehicle’s name is derived from.

Next time you see a car commercial, remember that what your seeing is not actually a consumer vehicle model but rather the state-of-the-art Blackbird.

Have your say