Patrick Grieve
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Shape-Shifting Blackbird Rig is the Future of Car Commercials [VIDEO]

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The Mill Blackbird wears a Chevy Spark skin with CGI

Using CGI, the new “Blackbird” rig is rendered to look like a Chevy Spark

I don’t want to alarm anyone, but you can’t believe everything you see on TV.

That’s especially true when it comes to the world of marketing. Though the Federal Trade Commission still exists to protect consumers from false advertising, our nation’s television commercials are still full of misleading information, half-truths, fine print, airbrushed cheeseburgers, and computer trickery. Hell, sometimes ads claiming to use “Real People, Not Actors” actually feature actors!

Still, even the most skeptical media consumers might be surprised to see just how easy it is becoming to film a car commercial without using an actual car:

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The Mill, a visual effects and creative content company based in London, has created the world’s first fully adjustable car rig. Named the Blackbird, this vehicle can adjust its length by four feet and its width by four inches. Additionally, its electric motor can be programmed to mimic the performance attributes of “almost any vehicle,” meaning the Blackbird is about to become the car commercial industry’s most versatile actor (think of it as the automotive-version of Andy Serkis).

Once the Blackbird has been manipulated to have the same shape and characteristics as the subject car, it can be filmed in a real world environment, then “re-skinned” using CGI to look like an actual car.

The Blackbird was built by hand over a two-year time period in the same hanger that housed the Blackbird SR-71 supersonic jet, according to Autoblog.

Pretty soon, it won’t matter whether you’re watching a car commercial for the Chevy Spark or the Chevy Camaro—you’ll still be staring at the same car, either way.

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Patrick Grieve was born in Southwestern Ohio and has lived there all of his life, with the exception of a few years spent getting a Creative Writing degree in Southeastern Ohio. He loves to take road trips, sometimes to places as distant as Northeastern or even Northwestern Ohio. Patrick also enjoys old movies, shopping at thrift stores, going to ballgames, writing about those things, and watching Law & Order reruns. He just watches the original series, though, none of the spin-offs. And also only the ones they made before Jerry Orbach died. Season five was really the peak, in his opinion. See more articles by Patrick.