Some say necessity is the father of all invention, others say nagging is the mother of all necessity. The Mill Blackbird on the other hand is the answer to a number of video production questions. How to shoot video of a car that doesn’t exist (yet or anymore)? How to render a car so realistically no-one can tell? How to make a Kia look like a Ferrari? The answer is send in the Mill Blackbird. Built in the same hanger as the legendary SR-71 Blackbird the Mill has some big shoes to fill and big questions to answer.
The Mill Blackbird is the world’s first fully adjustable car rig designed for use by cinematographers, an incredibly advanced photography platform as well as a fully marked up reference machine for rending a car onto, a blank.
The hardest parts of a car to render with CGI are its wheels, shadows and grill, especially during action sequences. Mill Blackbird takes a compromised approach to achieving perfection, keeping the hard to do bits real while providing a predictable platform to render CGI onto. The end result is a new level of realism. Suspension and performance can be tuned to match any vehicle while its wheelbase can be altered by four feet and its track widened by 10 inches. Cover it in tracking dots and you have the perfect blank.
Mill have also included some interesting sensor technology, turning the Blackbird into a fully fledged photography platform. It even has on-board laser scanners that allow the Blackbird to capture its environment as its being put through its paces.
The only shame is that if it does its job well we will never see it again, only the rendered results of its work. Presented for your viewing pleasure is the behind the scenes video of the Mill Blackbird in action. A chameleon car able to transform to suit any occasion.