Post #395

The making of a Hollywood car chase

10th May 2004, mid-afternoon | Comments (9)

Location: Film set, Los Angeles, early morning.
Scene: Directors pep-talk before the day’s shooting commences.

Okay, guys, everyone, gather round will you? Right, I think you’ll agree the filming has gone pretty well up to now, but today we’re doing the big car chase so it’s important we’re on top of our game right now.
Luckily for us we’ve got a great driving team in Dave and Jimmy, and one of the best chase co-ordinators out there, in Mike.
Mike, you wanna explain how this is gonna go down?
Stunt guy
Sure thing, thanks Peter. Okay, people, today’s chase involves two vehicles. Firstly we have a Suzuki GSX-R1000 superbike, this will be our ‘runner’. It has the highest power to weight ratio of any road-legal machine on earth. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 2.56 seconds and has a limited top speed of 186mph. Our second vehicle, the ‘chaser’, is a 1984 Fiat Punto. This car takes about 12 minutes to hit the sixty-mark, has a top speed of 75mph and drives like a hippo.
Now, you may be thinking, Well hell, Mike, it’s not gonna be much of a chase!
Stunt guy
But you’d be wrong. We’re gonna be using a technique we in the industry call RRRSD or Really Really Really Slow Driving. Basically it involves driving both vehicles really, really, really slowly through traffic, then — and this is the clever part — speeding the film up during playback and dubbing the sound of a much faster chase over the top!
*Appreciative applause*
Stunt guy
I know, I know, it’s pretty clever, and a highly successful cinematic technique; the audience never suspect a thing, lemmie tell you. Plus, you know, it saves on petrol, so it’s more environmentally friendly.
We combine RRRSD with another classic known as ABNQ, or Almost But Not Quite. For this we wildly alternate the distance between the two vehicles, showing them almost touching in one shot, then 100m apart in the next. This glaring lack of continuity throws the audience into a state of confusion and helps facilitate the acceptance of RRRSD.
And, well, that’s about it. I’m sure things will go smoothly today; as Peter says, we have a great driving team and good weather. If we get this right it could go down as one of the really great chases, along with those in Mission Impossible 2, Paycheck, and Joy Ride To Nowhere; so focus today, okay?
*Nods from the group*
Stunt guy
Great. Then, let’s rock and roll!
*Whoops and cries of Alright!*

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Comments (9)

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  1. Dunstan:

    Two interesting sites I found while writing this:

    Posted 7 hours, 37 minutes after the fact
  2. Mark:

    Bullitt truly is the greatest car chase movie ever. The French Connection, Ronin, and Blues Brothers were great and all, but nothing will ever equal Bullitt.

    Posted 7 hours, 48 minutes after the fact
  3. Huphtur:

    good luck finding a fiat punto in usa.

    Posted 8 hours, 5 minutes after the fact
  4. Nick Finck:

    Ahh, yes, Bullitt may be the best chase "scene", but Ronin was the best chase "cut" forget the did that whole damn thing in one continuious take.

    Posted 9 hours, 16 minutes after the fact
  5. Sjors:

    I never saw Bullitt, but the chase from the original "Gone in 60 seconds" is sweet too.

    Posted 18 hours, 21 minutes after the fact
  6. Hayo:

    In Holland you get the same effect. We call it 'Traffic Jam'. Most of the time, it involves lots and lots of extras.

    Posted 20 hours, 54 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ George
  7. George:

    We have them in the UK also, we like to pluralize them though to 'Traffic Jams' due to their prevalence!

    Posted 1 day, 2 hours after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Hayo
  8. ColetasSoft:

    I´m surprised that nobody has brought up the car scenes from the Taxi trilogy ;-) <grin>

    Posted 1 day, 23 hours after the fact
  9. Carnage:

    Bullitt was pretty good except for some speeded up camera work as they enter the Highway. Also didnt know the "68 Mustang was available with a 6 speed trans ( too many up shifts on Highway)Vanishing Point, Dirty Mary Crazy Larry,The Seven Ups,Mad Max and Two Lane Blacktop do it for me. And to say Bullitt will never be equaled is a poor bet. P.S. ever notice most car chase flicks involve some form of MOPAR ?

    Posted 1 year, 5 months after the fact

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