Blog & Articles

Converting a Smart Car to run on a railway track

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More on the video on our home page.

An interesting challenge this year was when Mercedes came to us to ask if we could arrange for a Smart car to run on a train track and then find somewhere it could be driven for a film.

After searching around we found a company in Derby called Interfleet that works with train companies and they designed and built proper train wheels and fitted them to the car.

Part one of the problem solved. Part 2 was finding some rail tracks where we could drive the car and it could all be filmed.

We’d have liked to do it on the Underground in London but that proved a non-starter.

Eventually we got permission to use the Bluebell Line at East Grinstead and the result is on our home page.

The car was also used to transport journalists at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Getting a mini into an awkward space in Shoreditch and an encounter with Tizer

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An interesting job we had recently was a request to get a mini into the Village Underground, a venue in Shoreditch.

It was an interesting logistical puzzle involving negotiating the car upstairs, downstairs and around a number of tight corners for a photo shoot.

So where does Tizer come in? Well, he’s not a drink, he’s a big bloke in a hoodie and a street artist. We got a chance to see his skills when he was commissioned to spray paint the car – on the wall.

He was at the Shoreditch venue because he had been commissioned for an article in Tatler magazine and we watched, fascinated, as some waterproofing was added to the wall and an image of the car was then added.

He told us that when he was a young teen he had been something of a drifter and found he had a talent for graffiti art. A teacher had picked up on his talent and helped him to build his confidence and self esteem.

He’s been a graffiti/Street artist since 1988. Now he not only works on commissions, for organisations like for various London councils, the Metropolitan Police and various charities but also goes into schools to talk about street art. What’s more he has a LinkedIn profile.

What do they say about never judging a book by its cover?

We’ve been expanding

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No, not the waistlines, at least not intentionally!

Over the course of 2015 we’re adding three new car transporters to our fleet. We have two of them already, pictured here, and the third is due soon.

We’re particularly pleased with the biggest one as it will carry a total of six large cars and has doors along the side to make loading safer and easier!

We now have a total of 14 transporters to take care of the volume of work we’re asked to do both in the UK and overseas.

Albert Hall July 2014 cars 

We work anytime, anywhere! 

We were asked to instal five cars into the Albert Hall and remove them 24 hours later.

It could only be done after hours, so the cars were installed at 1am and removed at the same time the next night.

We're always happy to accommodate our clients' needs and we don't do sleep!

 

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Now we can be even more versatile.......

thanks to two new additions to our fleet, an eight- car carrier and another four- car covered transporter.

We’ve also replaced our two-car carrier.

So whatever your requirements, we have the flexibility to handle the transport, whether it is several vehicles at once or transporting them under cover to keep things protected and confidential.

 

 

 

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A little bit of ingenuity!

In March we were asked if we could put four Mercedes GLA cars into the UK’s only underground Salt Mine in Winsford.

There is a lift that the operator uses to move its own machines and material between the surface and the mine, which is 189 metres below ground!

Unfortunately this lift was not large enough for the cars to drive into so we had to create a rig that would allow us to hang the car up on its end to ensure that there was no chance of any damage to the cars.

Journalists were then taken down the mine over a three day period to experience the off road driving capabilities with a difference.

All of the cars were eventually brought to the surface unscathed.

How do we do it?



The scene:
the Intercontinental Hotel, Park Lane, London. We were asked to position four new models for a major manufacturer in the hotel ballroom for an annual dealer conference and product reveal.

The challenge: No goods lift

The solution: we built a scissor lift outside, lifted the cars up to and through a window and positioned them on platforms around the ballroom.

After the event, all cars were removed the same way and returned to our client in pristine condition.

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Memorable cars in film

Memorable cars in film video


How many movies or TV shows can you think of in which a car plays a central role or has additional capabilities that assist its owners when in danger?

Perhaps the most obvious are the James Bond Aston Martin, and the car Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the magic car that sprouts floaters and wings as required.

But there have been other, equally memorable cars, such as the various versions of the Batmobile in the films and TV series, the high-powered car that has evolved over time into an armoured vehicle equipped with a number of armaments and other devices including the ability to spray flame-retardent foam.

The TV series Knightrider also featured a car as a central character named KITT (an acronym for its fictional maker Knight Industries Two Thousand) integral to the stories.  KITT was actually a supercomputer installed in the car that enabled it to think, speak and interact with humans. It had a collection of useful additions such that included an ability to “jump” over obstacles, a grappling hook and flame throwers, sensors, super-speed and surveillance facilities.

Historically one of the most famous movie custom car builders is Jay Ohrberg, who was responsible for some of the batmobiles, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, KITT and the Ecto-1 in Ghostbusters among many others.

The most recent and possibly the most extreme in the chain of memorable cars is the flip, or ramp car used in the 2013 movie Fast and Furious 6.

This car was custom-designed and built to have the capability of flipping over all kinds of vehicles, from cars to trucks. It was devised by the film series’ car co-ordinator Dennis McCarthy on instructions from the film’s director Justin Lin to resemble a F1 car.

It is both drivable and capable of flipping vehicles as the director specified so that all the stunts seen in the chase sequences in the film are real, not computer-simulated.  It takes considerable skill and nerve to drive cars and perform stunts for a film and the drivers spent four days learning to handle the flip car.

The flip car was used in chase sequences in London and it had to be transported to be at the right places at the right times for the filming schedule. This involved the use of a UK company with access to experienced personnel, the right equipment and enclosed transport to make sure everything happened on time.

Are you passionate about working with cars?

Ever since the invention of the internal combustion engine some people have had such an intense a love affair with cars that there was little likelihood of their being interested in a career that did not involve working with them in one way or another.

There are many options from the most obvious of becoming a car mechanic working in a garage to selling new vehicles in a showroom.

Becoming a designer with one of the leading brands is another attractive option but it is also a very difficult path to follow. Competition for places on design courses is intense and requires a surprising set of skills, starting with the essential ability to draw and sketch in 2-D.

You must also be numerate in order to be able to handle the basic calculations involved in engineering such as 3D volumes, aerodynamics or model scales.  These days also you will need to be able to handle computer aided design (CAD). Courses tend to last three to four years and may include a year’s internship in a design studio.

However, if none of these appeals there are other ways of working with cars and one of these is in specialist companies that source, customise and transport cars for promotional and film events, and race meetings.

Often such companies provide opportunities for long-distance travel as well as employing mechanics capable of stripping down a car perhaps so that the engine or interior can be revealed for a show, “customising” the outside of a vehicle with a wrap for a particular promotion, or moving a vehicle into a difficult, confined space, such as the interior of a gallery or department store for display.

Sometimes a job will involve moving a fragile plasticine or clay model in an enclosed, temperature controlled transport, getting it into position at the destination and then returning it undamaged at the end of its appearance.

Quite often there is an element of confidentiality in a job.  A movie director will not want the car created for a particular movie revealed beforehand and nor will the manufacturer want to reveal their latest concept car to their competitors ahead of its first appearance at the annual motor shows.

Working for this kind of vehicle sourcing and transportation company can require a variety of skills, including precision driving, HGV driving and motor mechanics.  It can be an interesting and varied career, involving everything from high-end luxury cars to classics in locations all over the world, from movie sets, to motor shows and trade exhibitions.

Concept cars and 3-D modeling

Perhaps one of the most eagerly-anticipated aspects of the annual round of motor shows is the concept cars that are unveiled for the first time.

Many of them are never actually produced for sale but they can give an indication of the ideas the manufacturers are considering for the future and of the design trends that are currently popular.

They also offer opportunities for testing the market and the public appetite for new designs.

The process of designing a new car is a complex and very expensive process to refine the way the proposed new vehicle will look, handle and be engineered and powered.

Despite the many advances in computer technology the process still starts with several hundred sketches.  Computer models are not yet sufficient to evaluate a design and the next step once the sketches have been refined to establish how the car will look is to create a clay or industrial plasticine model. The clay/plasticine is a malleable material that can be easily shaped.

Clay model making) for vehicle prototypes was first used by the auto designer Harley Earl in the 1930s. Earl was then head of the General Motors styling studio.  The clay model stage in new car development is still used to this day.

Usually the model consists of a frame which is covered with Styrofoam. The clay is smoothed over the foam. Modellers then use various tools to finalise the shape of the car, since changes are readily possible.

Sometimes these prototype models are displayed at motor shows or are used for marketing trials to get a sense of whether they are likely to appeal to consumers before the company goes further in developing, testing and refining a prototype to the point where it will be viable for the production line.

Since the motor industry is highly competitive and the costs and time involved in developing new vehicles is considerable the manufacturers will go to considerable lengths to keep their development work a secret until they are ready for it to be unveiled either as a model or as a prototype or concept car at a motor show or other event.

If it is a clay/plasticine model that is to be used there is a further issue, which is that the material is very sensitive to temperature.  Too hot and it will melt, too cold and it becomes brittle and fragile.

This combination of factors means that the vehicles need to be transported very carefully to their destinations in enclosed and temperature controlled transport by people who are skilled in this particular type of transportation.

Altering a vehicle’s appearance without damaging the paintwork

 

Have you ever wondered how some of the colourful and eye-catching designs that adorn the vehicles we see on the roads are created?

Where once a logo and perhaps an address and website details were used to create brand recognition when a company’s vehicle fleet was out and about on the roads, nowadays designs have become more colourful and flamboyant.

It is not unusual to see a complete bus, car or lorry covered with a design that perhaps advertises a particular local event or product or publicises a charity awareness campaign.

Vehicles increasingly play a part in marketing and much of this has become possible because of a technique that allows the entire surface of a vehicle to be changed for a period of time and then for the design to be removed without damaging the paintwork underneath.

The process starts with the application of a layer of liquid latex that dries to a smooth, thin film. The liquid can be applied with a paintbrush, a roller or a spray gun and the design is applied once the surface is dry.
 
The technique has been used for Special Promotions & Product Launches, Vehicle Fleet Branding, Road Shows & Tours, Store Openings & Seasonal Campaigns and is also used to “customize” cars in various motor sports.

Once the campaign period is over, the film can be peeled off in leaving the original paintwork completely unblemished. The process is known as vehicle wrapping and can be applied to all or part of the vehicle surface.

Another method that can be used for similar effect is the vinyl wrap. Some vinyl wraps include technology containing bubble-preventing air channels and microscopic glass beads that allow the material to be repeatedly lifted and reapplied until the design is properly positioned.  The vinyl is then heated with a heat gun or torch to mould it to the vehicle.

Often, a campaign is planned to launch on a specified date and in particular locations, or the vehicle is intended to be used in an exhibition or show. This may require that everything is kept a closely-guarded secret until launch day and vehicles may need to be delivered to locations in enclosed transport ahead of the event.

Wraps are also increasingly used to apply a company or organisation’s corporate branding to its vehicle fleet.  In the UK they are often used on trains and buses, as a less expensive method than applying the branding directly to the vehicle so that it can be removed easily when selling on the vehicles.

A temperature-controlled truck was needed for the pan-European climate variations to get a model car made of plasticine intact to and from an appearance of just an hour’s duration.

Our temperature-controlled truck left Immingham for a four-week tour that took us to Stockholm, Helsinki, Moscow, and Bratislava via Poland! 

The model had been flown from Japan to Moscow for its first appearance earlier in the year, then was brought to the UK before we took it to Bratislava at the request of a market research company for an event in the Slovakian capital.

Then the model was returned to Moscow and we returned to UK – four weeks of travelling and job done!

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Autograph hunters form an orderly queue please!!

 

Cars in Camera has been involved in the creation of the new ad for Orange Gold Spot, which was timed to air alongside the release of the movie, The Sweeney.

 

The film features its stars Ray Winstone and Ben Drew in an East End pub, the Dog and Bone, in search of a potential target.

 

The ad included the use of a Ford Focus for which we provided a driver, technician and transport to and from the set.

We can take things apart - but we also put them back together right  

 

Hyundai has recently launched a new promotion by M & C Saatchi to introduce its new brand in the UK.

 

The central theme of the ad was to show that Hyundai does whatever is necessary to ensure everything on its cars is working properly.

 

Cars in Camera was on hand to take the car to bits for different film sequences – doors, bumpers, bonnet, boot, lights – and put it back together afterwards.  We also supplied transport and technicians.

We live for a bit of excitement in our lives

We were recently asked by a US film maker to make an advert for Infiniti Cars in Valencia in Spain and the cars were due to be flown in from America.

With a carefully choreographed seven-day schedule which included permissions to film a simulated F1 race on the streets of Valencia and camera crews booked, it all started to look as though it was about to go horribly pear-shaped when the cars were bounced off their plane while our chap was on his way to Barcelona to collect them.

We had to divert him to Frankfurt and fly a second driver out to ensure that the schedule could be met.

We also had to fly another chap out to Geneva to drive the only suitable Infiniti in Europe to Valencia for the filming.

Despite all the schedule was accomplished on time and the ad is now being shown in the USA.

Obstacles overcome, Mission accomplished, and as we’ve said before, we love it when a plan comes together.

We supplied the precision drivers, transporters and storage for this film made at Milbrook, Bedfordshire

This promotional video for Renault involved taking cars to Palma, providing technicians and drivers both in the UK and in Palma.

We supplied precision drivers, technicians, storage, transporters for this commercial plus one on the Delta, 300c and Grand Voyager

This video shows all of the cars involved in a two week shoot that included making stills and working both at night and through the day.

We supplied the precision driver for this corporate video made in North Wales

Getting luxury Green technology into Knightsbridge

Film chase sequences? No problem!! - you'd be surprised what we can do

an ITV re-enactment of an operation by UK soldiers in Afghanistan

Cars in camera was recently asked to supply vehicles that would be appropriate for Afghanistan. We delivered a motorbike and a suitably aged four wheel vehicle to the quarry, where ITV were filming a re-enactment of an operation in Afghanistan to enter in the Sun Newspaper Military Awards.

Our precision driver was surprised when, after the delivery, he was directed to wardrobe to be kitted out in suitable costume including robes and dishdasha then asked to take part in a chase sequence fleeing an armoured vehicle!!

He was subsequently captured by one of the soldiers from the tank who was on foot and unarmed and it was then discovered that the captive was a very high ranking Taliban officer!!

The soldier won a Sun award for his efforts and the whole awards show was screened on TV - so we now have a TV star among our drivers!

Although we didn't supply a tank on this occasion we can source ANY kind of vehicle and we're also flexible enough to provide "extras" for film without any warning at all.

Increase our fleet by 10%

Despite the hard economic times that abound at the moment, we have managed to increase our fleet by 10% by the addition of new vehicles. The one pictured here is a 4 car carrier complete with punch hole decking and large barn doors to make loading easier and safer.

The transformation of four Motorbikes and one Taxi

We have recently completed the transformation of 4 * 1930’s Harley Davidson motorbikes from their original colours of black, red, silver, black and white and a 1930’s Dodge Taxi that was orange and yellow to white and black police cars, for a film that is being made in Elstree studios about President Roosevelt.

This has involved delicately taking the machines apart, applying our top secret protective coating and the spraying them in the new colours.

The great advantage of our top secret coating is that, when the filming is over, the vehicles can be returned to their original colour schemes without the need to repaint and ensuring that their authenticity remains intact.

These pictures show the transformation.....


As a consequence of the success of this job, we have been asked to source a Maserati 250F and recent F1 car to do a similar job – can you help?

Happy birthday!

Our purchase and ownership of Cars in Camera has reached its first birthday this week but we’re no infants in our industry and we have a lot to celebrate.

Since we started we now have a complete new look with a newly launched and stunning website, fresh marketing literature and a staff make-over in the form of new uniforms.

The fleet has been expanded by 10% over the year, enabling us to provide an even more professional service to even more organisations and to be instantly recognisable with their smart new livery.

Three existing trucks have also been refreshed and refurbished.

We are also delighted to have won new customers for our multidrop transportation operation, including Jaguar Land Rover.

Mercedes has also appointed us to deliver cars to their VVIP customers through our special Stars Cars personal delivery and complete run through by our trained and experienced drivers.

Not only that, we’ve increased our storage capacity and facilities for car preparation for the special needs of film, advertising and events promotions.

All in all it’s been a pretty amazing year and we’re pretty delighted with our progress.

We expect next year to be even better.