10:10am PT by Carolyn Giardina
HPA to Honor Visual Effects House The Mill for Blackbird Car Rig
London-headquartered visual effects house The Mill will receive the Hollywood Professional Association’s Judges Award for Creativity and Innovation for the development of the Blackbird, an adjustable car rig for creating photoreal CG cars, on Nov. 17 during the 11th annual HPA Awards at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
Developed by The Mill over a three-year period, the Blackbird was designed to address problems faced by the advertising industry when creating content for automobile commercials: car availability, model revisions, limited access to locations and footage that can quickly become outdated. Blackbird is a car rig that can be used at any time without the need to rely on a physical car.
The length, width, wheels and suspension of the rig can be adjusted or swapped to mimic almost any car in development or on the market. Its electric motor can be programmed to simulate various driving experiences, and it can carry a camera array and 3D laser scanner to generate a virtual model of the surrounding environment for CG renderings and virtual reality experiences. Beyond production applications, the Blackbird technology could be used to test design concepts.
"We are thrilled to be awarded the highly sought after Creativity and Innovation honor. It was the genuine needs of our advertising clients that made the Blackbird happen,” said Al Thompson, executive vp of The Mill, which was acquired a year ago by Technicolor.
A video about the Blackbird can be found here.