The Secrets Behind the Stunts: 3 Movie Myths You Can Bust with Auto Mechanic Courses

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From James Bond to The Fast and the Furious, car stunts have long been a staple of some of the biggest action movies in history. If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a mechanic, you’ve probably seen more than your share of car chases, crashes, and explosions on the big screen.

But have you ever wondered how these incredible stunts are actually made? Here we’ll peak behind some of the Hollywood magic and bust three movie-car stunt myths.

1. Auto Mechanics Know That for the Craziest Stunts, Real Cars Beat CGI

CGI can make a lot of movie magic happen, but sometimes the old fashioned method of just smashing up a real car works best. This is true for some of the craziest stunts imaginable, which you might assume could only be done with CGI. For example in Furious 7, Dom (played by Vin Diesel) and his team parachute their cars from a cargo plane. While you may assume that such an outlandish stunt could only be done with CGI, in fact the scene is (almost) completely real.

The filmmakers actually did parachute a bunch of cars out of a C-130 cargo plane over the Arizona desert while a team of camera-equipped skydivers followed suit to catch the mayhem on film. Of course, the cars themselves were empty, which meant that the little bit of CGI used in the scene was to add Dom and his team into the vehicles.

2. Newer Cars Aren’t Always Better When it Comes to Movie Stunts

You might think that because newer cars tend to be safer and sturdier, that they would be better for stunt driving than older vehicles. In fact, it’s precisely because newer cars are so much safer that they can be a bit of a pain for stunt drivers.

The main problem comes down to the computer control system, which you’ll get to learn about in your auto mechanic courses. While movie stunts often call for cars to drift, the computers on most modern cars will automatically prevent drifting for safety reasons. To get around this, studios often spend months modifying cars in order to remove safety features. Alternatively, they’ll also just use older cars with fewer computer-controlled safety features.

3. Become an Auto Mechanic and Spot the Differences Between Real Cars and Movie Cars

While they might look real onscreen, there are often big differences between movie cars and real cars that you can become better at spotting as a mechanic. Some cars, for instance, undergo modifications to protect the stunt driver, accommodate cameras, or to turn off safety mechanisms. In other cases, more extensive modification are required. For instance, while you’ll learn about operating and servicing suspension systems in auto mechanic college, many movie cars need to have their suspension systems completely replaced so that they can be put through their stunts.

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Stunt cars undergo significant modifications which are hard to spot onscreen

And some movie cars are only shells with little if anything underneath. In Furious 7, for example, Dom’s character sends a Lykan Hypersport plowing through a skyscraper and plummeting to the streets below. Given that only 7 Lykan Hypersports have ever been made and each one costs $3.4 million, the filmmakers couldn’t really justify buying one just to throw it out a window. So instead they had a replica shell built that looks almost exactly like a real Lykan Hypersport—just without the diamond-encrusted headlights and gold-threaded interiors that that $3.4 million will otherwise get you!

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Categories: ATC News, Cambridge
Tags: Auto mechanic college, auto mechanic courses, Become an auto mechanic

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