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Shooting a car crash


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#1 Benjamin Lamb

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 04:11 AM

I am planning a film where I need to shoot a car crash, and am trying to figure out how to do it. The type of car I'm thinking will be used (at least in previous scenes) would be a modest, but nice, Mercedes/BMW type car. We have a very limited budget and I'm trying to figure out how this can be achieved and if a Mercedes/BMW is even possible. The scene involves the car crashing into a tree on a secluded road; no other vehicles are involved. My thinking now is that the impact itself would not be shown, but the aftermath; the wrecked car, would be shown. Anybody have advice on how to do this? Or how it's ordinarily done? Is it possible (maybe this is a stupid question) to have a car, and make it look badly damaged without damaging the actual car itself? Like attaching fake glass/fake hood or something? Is that ever done? Or maybe getting a car that looks like the picture car, but is actually a different model?

 

Also, in this behind the scenes footage of 'Skyfall', there's a bit where they are filming a truck backing into the front end of a car. They shoot it at least twice, and I'm wondering how they did this...did they use more than one car, or did they use the same car with a different "rig" or something? The scene I'm referencing starts at 3:15: 

 

Thanks everyone.


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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 04:27 AM

We had a car crashed in a short film, we borrowed or hired the car from the breakers. What may be possible is to find a suitable crashed car and then rent the same model and colour of car for the driving scenes.


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#3 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 06:24 PM

There's a very well done car crash scene done just as you describe in the beginning of "Three Colors: Blue": http://youtu.be/qj5-wmFqidY.

Very simply done through switching to the point of view of a character outside the car, sound design, and a few special fx gags on the stationary wrecked car to sell the effect.
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#4 Benjamin Lamb

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 10:12 PM

Yes, I was thinking of that scene as a reference. But do you have any idea of the nuts and bolts of how they pulled that off? Do you think they just rented a car from the junk yard, or did they do something to the picture car?


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#5 Jeremy Ables

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 06:54 PM

With the budget of Skyfall it is difficult to say without having been onset to say how they pulled of the wreck you referenced. They could have had multiple vehicles exactly alike or a way to repair it in a timely fashion. As it seems everyone has given you pretty much the same answer which is using multiple vehicles I believe it will come down to how are you going to hide the good car, the shot between the crash, and the aftermath showing the wrecked car. You may have better luck if you work the problem backwards instead of finding a running car for the scene and then attempting to find a junkyard version of it, find a junkyard car that quite possibly already has the damage you are looking for then see about finding a running version in the same color.
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#6 Miguel Angel

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 07:56 PM

On the "Knight & Day" 2nd unit we had several cars and a garage on set to repair the little dents but if a car was wrecked, then that car was wrecked and was sent somewhere else. 

 

On the "The Cold Light Of Day" 2nd unit we had also several cars from the same model just in case but the big accidents on that movie (2nd Unit work :D) were shot with a lot of cameras  at the same time and all of them went perfect so we did not need to repair any. 

We also had a kind of a "garage truck" on set with a fantastic crew!

 

Take Satsuki's advice and design your shoot so you can cut the sequence in a smart way and if you can find a very cheap bmw / mercedes that you can just run and crash even better. 

 

Have a good day. 


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#7 Benjamin Lamb

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 10:46 PM

Thanks for the advice everyone. I was also considering instead of a Mercedes/BMW, changing the vehicle to a NYC Yellow Cab. I wonder if that would provide more options (or fewer) in terms of junked cars, ect....?


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#8 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 13 February 2015 - 08:04 PM

I think you should go to the junkyard and find the wrecked car that you want, then find a picture card that best matches that. On a low budget project, you need to write around locations and props that you already have access to instead of dreaming up things that you have no way of getting.
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#9 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 13 February 2015 - 08:06 PM

I doubt you can rent anything from a junkyard, you'll probably just have to buy one. But it shouldn't be too much of a hassle to rent a picture car that looks similar.
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