Filming a car commercial used to be a relatively easy task: all it took was the car, some pretty background scenery and a chase car, since the expectations of viewers watching on a low-resolution television set weren’t all that high. Truth be told, most car ads were filmed in studios, with no driving involved.
The internet and high-definition video have changed all that, and the only way to get your product noticed these days is by creating a dramatic video in the wild. Porsche, for example, couldn’t highlight the advantages of the new 911 Carrera 4 models by filming them on a sound stage, with simulated weather in the background.
Nor did the German automaker have the patience to wait for four seasons worth of weather; when you’re on a six-day filming deadline, you make the weather come to you, not the other way around.
To show that the new 911 Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S models are sports cars for all seasons, Porsche blew the special effects budget on creating autumn with leaves (nearly 5 million of them) and winter with artificial snow (about 38,000 cubic feet worth). In between, there was man-made fog and over 2,600 gallons of artificial rain, too.
Add in the seven filming locations, two helicopter camera rigs and one highly sophisticated Mercedes-Benz M Class camera car, and it’s easy to see that Porsche spared no expense in demonstrating that the Carrera 4 models are truly all-weather sports cars.
If filming a car commercial today requires this level of financial and technological commitment, we can’t help but wonder what consumers (and automakers) will expect ten years from now.