How Moving Vehicles Are Faked In Movies & TV

Sometimes, it’s safer for productions to fake vehicles’ movements for stunts rather than put them in real action. So special effects artists will use rigs and gimbals to make them move in place. NAC Effects will put a given vehicle or set on top of one of its six-axis motion bases capable of creating realistic movements of all sorts.

For Netflix’s “Day Shift” (2022), the crew put a pickup truck on a base and added a rotator. This allowed it to make sharp turns while appearing to go uphill and off road before spinning 360 degrees.

When it comes to motorcycles, NAC can attach the motorcycle at the bottom and keep the wheels free, which helped The Rock look like his bike was soaring through the air in “Jumanji” (2017). Meanwhile, if the operator adds some vibrations, it can look like it’s going on a cobblestone street, like in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (2011).

Then, by making larger and more sweeping movements, they can make a boat really look like it’s riding the waves, which they did for “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013). Because Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie were inside a yacht set on top of the gimbal, they could experience a simulated storm for real.

And when it comes to airplane scenes involving turbulence and crashes, like in “Almost Famous” (2000), “Flight” (2012), and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2" (2014), the operator will start with small movements and then build up to bigger and bigger ones. And when it comes to making helicopters fly realistically, like in “Iron Man 3” (2013), it’s important to constantly shake and spin them as much as possible.

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