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Exclusive video: meet the Blackbird, a rig that transforms into any car

Top Gear’s Pat Devereux demonstrates how the Blackbird is revolutionising cars on film

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Special effects company The Mill has come up with a technology so intruiging, we just had to give it a go. Meet the ‘Blackbird’, which is all about taking movie magic to the next level. It allows filmmakers to render any car they require over the top of a special rig, in ultra-HD realism, without the car itself having to go anywhere near the set.

Underneath the mass of cameras, sensors and matt black bodywork, the Blackbird is an electric car that can alter its track and wheelbase, plus the driving characteristics of its electric motor and suspension, to match any model your heart desires. Simply bolt on the right wheels, drive around (preferably like a lunatic) and computers far too complicated for our tiny little minds render the car on top, even matching the reflections to the real-world surroundings.

What’s the point, we hear you cry? Well, imagine being able to have any hypercar or priceless classic on the set of your movie, or music video, without actually having to source one of the three in existence and blow the budget on insuring it. Manufacturers can benefit, too, by seeing new models moving around in perfect detail based solely on computer data, so there’s no need to get your hands covered in clay.

Us? We wanted to go along and explore this breakthrough technology, drive the Blackbird ourselves, and create a video that shows you lot at home exactly what it’s capable of. Remember, nothing is quite as it seems…

For the full story, pick up the brand new issue of Top Gear magazine, on sale now

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