I Just Learned How Driving Scenes In Movies Are Filmed, And It's Genius

No business like show business...
David Ma / TikTok

We’ve written before at HuffPost UK about how most eating scenes in movies and TV involve an actor spitting half-masticated remains of chewed foods into napkins (ew).

And yup, it turns out that TV sets do have a secret code for peeing (instead of calling it “going number one,” them lot in the telly call it a “ten one”).

Thanks to a TikTok from director and filmmaker David Ma, we now also know how they film driving scenes ― and it’s wild.

How is it done?

Predictably, it’s all very Hollywood ― think lots of screens, elaborate rigs, and bright lights.

In his TikTok, David explains that “it’s called the Car Process rig.”

The setup involves a car in which the actor is sat (obviously), and screens behind it that are playing footage of whatever roadside view they’re meant to be passing.

“These massive LED screens allow us to light the car,” the director said, showing a huge tablet of bright light positioned directly above the vehicle ― sort of like a solid, oblong halo.

And while you might think, as I did, that the screens surrounding the car would be blank ― only to be filled in later in post-production ― they’re actually already playing the scenery.

That’s because the screens reflect on the car’s shiny surface (people are really smart ― I definitely would have missed that).

Can’t they shoot it on location?

They could ― James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke might have been filmed on a rig, but it still took place on the roads.

But David says that “shooting in a studio versus a location offers us much more control over the weather, the time of day, and allows us to quickly reset for as many takes as we need.”

The kind of screens the filmmaker used in the TikTok meant that he could switch from the Moab desert to LA traffic with the click of a button, too ― much faster and easier than transporting a car across borders, right?

I’m not the only one who was surprised

“That is so cool. I always thought they put the car on a big tow truck and the actor pretends to drive,” one commenter shared.

“What would make it more realistic is the actors KEEPING their eyes on the road,” another TikTok user said. “They never do and it feels like a crash is imminent.”

Yet another commenter asked whether The Fast and The Furious shot car scenes this way, to which David replied, “Actually with some shots yes! Sometimes they need closeups but can’t capture all on location because of permits or running out of time.”

Hollywood, man...


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