How Are Car Chases Filmed?
In major film productions, car chases are often shot using a Russian arm – a robotic crane mounted on the roof of a modified car. In spite of the increased weight caused by the equipment and the altered centre of gravity, the car has enough engine power to accelerate fast.
The arm is gyro-stabilised, ensuring that the camera is stable during the car chase. The gyro-stabilisation makes sure that the camera remains horizontal and steady all the time, no matter the surface. The word gyro comes from gyroscope – a rotating wheel on a shaft, which is used to counteract motion of a specific direction.
The effect of the rotating wheel is the same as when you hold a rotating bike wheel in a vertical position. If you try to turn the wheel over on one side, the gyroscopic force of the rotation will attempt to counteract the motion, which has the effect of stabilising the wheel in an upright position.
A crane with a gyro-stabilised camera was used for the shooting of the most recent Transformers film.