• Big budget films nowadays can make anything look legit. Half of the stone backgrounds you see in movies are made of foam. They have a ton of guys on the set to make anything look real. For cars, it depends on what they are going to use it for. For something like a chase scene, they'll find one to buy or rent. If the car is crashed in said scene, its probably a decoy double. For just a normal driving scene, their engineers / artists can make any car LOOK like another type of car with some paint and scrap metal.
  • When PICTURE VEHICLES are needed for any film, the Production Designer works closely with the Director and the Property Master to determine what the vehicles should look like in general and decide which specific models should be obtained. Once those decisions have been made, the Property Department will have to determine how many of each vehicle are needed and if any modifications will have to be made for stunt work. How they get the necessary vehicles and where depends greatly on the type of vehicle needed and the number of them. For instance, a stunt heavy movie like FAST & FURIOUS may require several versions of the principle car in order to furnish the needs of the script. They will need at least one "HERO" car as well as several other identical models to be outfitted for stunts. The HERO car will be completely drivable by the Actor and will have everything in working order as one might expect to see it on the street. The stunt versions may be fully drivable vehicles, but with safety equipment installed and "extras" (like dashboard items) removed. Other modifications may be made as well, like heavy duty shocks and other race inspired alterations. Some versions will require that the body be removed from the chassis and stripped down so that it can be placed on a gimbal... this may mean that the entire front section (hood area) is removed so that only the cabin is left. So to fulfill the requirements for at least one hero car and several versions of stunt modified cars, the Prop Department may seek out owners/sellers of existing vehicles. If there is an existing vehicle in "mint" condition that fits the requirements for the HERO vehicle, then they will try to purchase that vehicle from the owner. For the other versions that will need heavy modifications, they will likely seek out models that are not mint to keep costs down. Junkyards may be searched, but more often, "junked" vehicles are too far gone to be useful due to rust or other unrecoverable damage. So Props will seek out less than mint vehicles with the intention of modifying them per the requirements discussed with the STUNT COORDINATOR. In the case of a luxury vehicle that is very costly, the Prop Department may work closely with the body shop to "create" a "fake" version (ie... creating a Ferrari out of a Fiero). In that case, Props would acquire a suitable Fiero and the specialized mechanics and body shop would fabricate the parts necessary to turn it into the appropriate vehicle. The world of movie-making is about creating worlds and characters that don't really exist, so anything that helps to create the illusion of the script-inspired world at the appropriate cost is what is used. But for the most part, whenever an authentic vehicle can be used, it is if for no other reason than cost. Brian Dzyak Cameraman/Author IATSE Local 600, SOC

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