How Did They DO That?

I received both of the following videos by email and they are just too good not to share. The first is a commercial for the Honda Accord that aired in the U.K.

There are no computer graphics or digital tricks in the film. Everything you see happened in real time, exactly as you see it. Filming was done over four near-sleepless days in a Paris studio, after one month of script approval, two months of concept drawings and a further four months of development and testing. It took five months of production and design work before “Cog” was ready to shoot. The film took 606 takes. On the first 605 takes, something (usually very minor) didn’t work. They would then have to set the whole thing up again.

The equipment was so precisely set up that the crew literally had to tip toe around the set for fear of disturbing things, which led to some unexpected problems – as the day went on the studio would get hotter, the wood would expand and the cog or exhaust that spins around would move slightly faster. These tiny changes made big differences to the precision set-up of the equipment. The sequence where the tires roll up a slope looks particularly impressive but is very simple – there is a weight in each tire and when the tire is knocked the weight is displaced, and in an attempt to rebalance itself the tire rolls up the slope.

There are six and only six hand-made Accords in the world. To the horror of Honda engineers, the filmmakers disassembled two of them to make the film. (The two Honda Accords were “hand-assembled” because they were new models, and pre-production versions were the only ones available at the time the commercial was produced). Everything you see in the film (aside from the walls, floor, ramp, and complete Honda Accord) are parts from those two cars.

When the ad was pitched to senior executives, they signed off on it immediately without any hesitation, including the $6 million cost to produce it! In addition, the spot is two minutes long so every time Honda airs the film on British television, they’re shelling out enough dough to keep any one of us in clover for a lifetime. Honda executives figured the ad would pay for itself simply in “free” viewings.

The second is a fantastic machine, which was built as a collaborative effort between the Robert M. Trammell Music Conservatory and the Sharon Wick School of Engineering at the University of Iowa. Amazingly, 97% of the machine’s components came from John Deere Industries and Irrigation Equipment of Bancroft Iowa – yes farm equipment! It took the team a combined 13,029 hours of set-up, alignment, calibration, and tuning before filming this video but as you can see it was WELL worth the effort. It is now on display in the Matthew Gerhard Alumni Hall at the University and is already slated to be donated to the Smithsonian. Check it out in the video below:

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