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KidChaplin

How do they do those car chases?!

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I was wondering if anyone could tell me how Hollywood does the long mileage, destructive car chases. I ask this because I watched The Bourne Identity last night and have wondered if they have to shut down parts of cities, bring in cars that can be crashed and then clean it all up before reopening the streets again. The Bourne Identity is known for it's long, long chases and I watch it wondering how they do all of that through an entire city?!

 

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9 minutes ago, KidChaplin said:

I was wondering if anyone could tell me how Hollywood does the long mileage, destructive car chases. I ask this because I watched The Bourne Identity last night and have wondered if they have to shut down parts of cities, bring in cars that can be crashed and then clean it all up before reopening the streets again. The Bourne Identity is known for it's long, long chases and I watch it wondering how they do all of that through an entire city?!

You pretty much described how most chases are done: sections of road are shut down, at high cost, and cars are brought in to be crashed/banged up. Most chase scenes that last for more than a couple minutes take weeks if not months to shoot, with the 2nd Unit/stunt team shooting as much as they can while the main unit shoots the non-action scenes elsewhere. Chases are often done piecemeal, with mere seconds of footage shot at a time, before being seamlessly edited to make one finished whole.

In some instances, chase scenes are shot on backlot sets, or closed and unfinished sections of highways that were not open to the public. I know in one of those Matrix sequels a lengthy chase scene was shot on a fake section of highway constructed just for the film's use. 

And of course now a lot is done via CGI.

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33 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

You pretty much described how most chases are done: sections of road are shut down, at high cost, and cars are brought in to be crashed/banged up. Most chase scenes that last for more than a couple minutes take weeks if not months to shoot, with the 2nd Unit/stunt team shooting as much as they can while the main unit shoots the non-action scenes elsewhere. Chases are often done piecemeal, with mere seconds of footage shot at a time, before being seamlessly edited to make one finished whole.

In some instances, chase scenes are shot on backlot sets, or closed and unfinished sections of highways that were not open to the public. I know in one of those Matrix sequels a lengthy chase scene was shot on a fake section of highway constructed just for the film's use. 

And of course now a lot is done via CGI.

I noticed in old Highway Patrol and Adam 12 TV shows that they frequently used apparently unopened sections of new highways.

I forget the number, but apparently the movie Ronin had many cars totaled during it chase scenes - and they are very good ones.

Think I read that during the chase scene for Bullitt, they had to use several Mustangs as they didn't endure well, but the Dodge Charger was the same one or just one of a few to make it all the way through.

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A friend of mine told me about going to watch a film crew in our area within the past couple years.  Maybe someone who goes to the movies these days might recognize this.  The scene had something to do with a president's limo being under attack.  In the film there was a car dealer with cars that were "remote controlled", sort of like drones, in a plan to attack the limo.  The cars all started and sped, crashing through the car dealer windows and then smashing into things and each other as they sped down the street. 

In reality they used a combination of stunt drivers actually driving some of the vehicles, and other vehicles being pulled and guided by steel cables.

There were multiple brand new vehicles destroyed.  I think he said a bunch of Chevy Suburbans, but in addition they may have had other expensive things like higher end Jeeps.  A huge amount of completely totaled brand new vehicles and wreckage for a 20 second or so time frame.  The director used 30 cameras or so, and they had a cleanup crew on hand which cleaned it up immediately afterwards.

For another movie, The Avengers, there was news around Cleveland that the very middle of the downtown area would be shut down for a film that would be made.  They transformed the middle of Public Square in Cleveland into a different city and proceeded to make a huge mess out of it and turn it into a hellhole for some futuristic battle scene.  I think this went on for a week or more.  The locals working nearby in high rises were instructed by their companies to not repeat to others what they might have seen of the filming through the windows.

Yes, a lot of live action you see is still real.  It is more difficult to create realism from scratch using computers.  They are good for doing things like airbrushing, duplicating preexisting patterns, modifying preexisting patterns, substitution or replacement of patterns, etc.  But those patterns need to come from somewhere in the first place.  Basically anything you can do using Adobe Photoshop on individual images, now one of the most popular programs for modifying video is...wait for it...a video editing program made by Adobe.  Since this is played back at 24 FPS or whatnot, that is a lot of high resolution still images to process, one by one.  So it takes a fast computer and some time.

A good example of a CGI trick for a low-budget picture was a railroad track that went straight into the middle of nowhere in the desert.  In a still shot of the production, there was really just a short section of track maybe about 100 or 200 feet long, out in the middle of the desert, and a modest-sized green screen set up at the very end of that track.  A computer was used to extend that straight out and make it disappear into the horizon.  You could really do some of this stuff at home on your own computer, if you wanted to.

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They do a lot of filming around here and its amazing how the cut and splice the film. One moment, they are on an off ramp I can recognize. And it then leads to another part of town miles away. One scene can be bits from various places merged together as if they are all one continuous location.

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Wow, guys...thanks for all this info! I figured some of it was studio or backlot shot, like cars crashing thru big display windows, etc., but when you see cars busting it down a street and it seems to look like a real shot of a city or town, it boggles the mind! I appreciate the sharing on here!

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I think one of the most famous chase scenes in a movie is the opening 18 wheeler chase in Beverly Hills Cop! The way that diesel sends cars up the electric or telephones poles! Wow!

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Nowadays they probably use the help of "practical effects" but back in the day, they shut it down and filmed real chases.

 

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6 hours ago, hamradio said:

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Rome-car-chase-filming-4.jpg

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Boom operators?  I'd at least expect to see a vehicle more proportioned to handle those cranes, but maybe they don't weigh much to begin with.  Funny looking though on those little cars. :D

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I do not know if this will help in any way but CBS has a video concerning a new movie.

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/ford-v-ferrari-a-story-of-racing-rivalry-that-transcended-sport/#x

There is an interesting shot of a boom used in filming at approx. 1:24.

At approx. 3:24 is approx. thirty seconds showing a rig for filming action.

I am sorry to say that all other parts of the video are simply hype for the movie.

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1 hour ago, SansFin said:

I do not know if this will help in any way but CBS has a video concerning a new movie.

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/ford-v-ferrari-a-story-of-racing-rivalry-that-transcended-sport/#x

There is an interesting shot of a boom used in filming at approx. 1:24.

At approx. 3:24 is approx. thirty seconds showing a rig for filming action.

I am sorry to say that all other parts of the video are simply hype for the movie.

That's actually a fairly common thing to do at 3:24.  Not necessarily the way you see here, but just having a car sitting atop a general flatbed type of vehicle that is loaded with cameras.  This gives them a platform to work on and allows them to get good views of the car cabin with regular camera,  and the passengers inside, as the car is moving.

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One of the most ambitious(IMHO) car chases, from THE BLUES BROTHERS('80), well, there was more than one, and some scenes were filmed in actual Chicago and Milwaukee  locales. 

 

 

This was an actual mall but that was shuttered and brought "back to life" for the movie.

 

Sepiatone

 

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23 hours ago, KidChaplin said:

I think one of the most famous chase scenes in a movie is the opening 18 wheeler chase in Beverly Hills Cop! The way that diesel sends cars up the electric or telephones poles! Wow!

Agree completely!

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When it comes to "car chase" scenes in movies, nothing, in my humble opinion, bits "Bullitt" and The "French Connection" (New York City). That said, car chases in movies shot in San Fransisco are always very exciting because of the very topography of the city. All those steep hills make great car chase scenes, not to mention the famous narrow and serpentine Lombard Street, when cars are going down that street at 80 + Kms an hour. I am thinking also of the Sam Pekinpah movie "The Killer Elite" as well as the Dirty Harry series, all have great car chase scenes in them. That said, the recent 2016 production of "Jason Bourne" has a car chase scene shot in Las Vegas which I find much too long, silly and unrealistic. Someone mentioned "Ronin" (De Niro, Jean Reno) earlier. Yes, that movie has a very good car chase scene taken place in Marseille (if I am not mistaken, in the South of France anyway)

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On 11/10/2019 at 3:56 PM, Forty-One said:

When it comes to "car chase" scenes in movies, nothing, in my humble opinion, bits "Bullitt" and The "French Connection" (New York City). 

Was that supposed to be "bites", or "beats"?  ;)   And we should more succinctly categorize these....

I still think THE BLUES BROTHERS has the best car chases in a comedy( :unsure: ) , but I always thought the chase in BULLITT  wasn't all that impressive, myself preferring the chase in THE FRENCH CONNECTION.  

And this one... 

And it matters not the amount of other traffic, nor the age of the drivers!  :D 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Was that supposed to be "bites", or "beats"?  ;)   And we should more succinctly categorize these....

I still think THE BLUES BROTHERS has the best car chases in a comedy( :unsure: ) , but I always thought the chase in BULLITT  wasn't all that impressive, myself preferring the chase in THE FRENCH CONNECTION.  

And this one... 

And it matters not the amount of other traffic, nor the age of the drivers!  :D 

 

 

That car scene (more like a road rage indeed) in the beginning of "Marathon Man" is a classic!

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Here's one.  Dabney Coleman in Short Time (1990) is mistakenly lead to believe he doesn't have much longer to live.  Therefore he starts living life more on the edge, in an attempt to die on the job, so his family can collect the maximum amount of life insurance (or something along those lines).

Most lives I have ever seen anybody get from a 1980s car.  I'd put this car chase head-to-head with any other single car chase out there.  Though there are plenty of other respectable and entertaining car chases to be seen from this era, roughly 1970s-1980s, but I'd include Bullitt in that too as well as this from 1990 - being what I would consider to be about the tail end of these things.

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And we all know car chases aren't really anything that new.....

 

:D  But they've come a long way in the past 116 years!  ;) 

Sepiatone

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My favorite car chase scenes have already been mention, "The French Connection" and "Bullitt".  There is one movie car chase which intrigues me, not because of the chase, but of the introduction of camera technology in filming the impact of a car crash from within the vehicle without the camera bouncing around and falling all over the place. 

I speak of the "Bourne Supremacy" car chase through the streets of Moscow.  What caught my attention was not the car chase scene itself after Matt Damon had taken the cab and is being pursued by numerous police and chase teams.  It was when they would switch inside the cab's front seat area and show Matt Damon cringing and bracing himself as his car is about to be hit by another vehicle.  Then you see, feel, and writhe as you witness and experience the impact of the car collision with glass breaking within the car's front seat area.  It looked and felt as if you were a passenger in the front seat with Matt Damon when the collision occurred during the car chase scene.  That was the first time a viewer had really been inside a vehicle in a car chase scene as it collides with another vehicle, experiencing the sound of the impact and glass flying everywhere within the car. 

I remember Allstate Insurance quickly seizing the opportunity to use this camera and sound technology in their commercials shortly after the "Bourne Supremacy" was released.

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