Working with Throttle House is always fun – and as they have a conveyor belt of fantastic cars to mess around with, they have plenty of opportunity for funny and exciting sketches to prefix their videos.
In this outing, we see the Bentley Bentayga, a $500,000-plus all-terrain SUV that has an extra layer of driving protection by way of not only being bulletproof but being able to withstand two direct impacts of a grenade. While we couldn’t take the car out to the desert to fire live ammunition, the next best thing was some post-production trickery in Adobe After Effects CC.
The start of the video contains a “superhero landing”, where James falls from a waist-high landing and impacts the ground, Terminator-style. Using elements created by colour-correcting photographs of cracked ground until they are just black cracks on white background, we can shift the perspective and multiply the image while masking out the subject – and animate the cracks to start from his feet and move outward. Adding some dust elements on top blends the elements together really well.
In the raw footage, James hadn’t entered frame until Thomas had lept out. To speed up the action, we can overlap the action with the desired timing, and then use the rotoscope brush on Thomas to place above the scene. The timing is improved and it works great thanks to how powerful the built-in motion blur program forgives the rough roto work as he runs past.
The muzzle flares are a combination of really over-the-top elements from various stock footage packs, overlaid and blurred with an “Add” blending mode to spill light really nicely. The two often-overlooked parts of making a convincing flash is to affect the lighting and to add smoke. The former can be done with an adjustment layer and selectively masking the scene, altering the opacity for objects further away, while the latter is easy with stock elements tracked to the scene. For extra cartoonish action, we can add 8mm cartridge shells ejecting, by animating a 3D cycle of a rotating shell to fly off-screen.
Have you ever seen a car not explode from a grenade thrown underneath it? It’s sure hard to find any reference footage, but I managed to source a couple of very short clips that kind-of gave me the effect that I wanted. For the explosion, we layer several shapes that look like a blur under the car, with the central and least-blurred parts close to a white colour, and the larger, blurrier layers closer to orange. They’re stacked with white on top to give it the intensity, and the shape paths are animated a tiny bit to give the illusion of a short burst of flame.
Underneath the car is a stock image of a burn mark which, just like the cracks from earlier, has its perspective shifted, before we can mask and multiply the result on the ground. More adjustment layers are necessary for us to show the light of the explosion, and we make sure to mask the light out of areas that it wouldn’t reach, such as behind the nearby step-wall.
Have you ever seen a car not explode from a grenade thrown underneath it?
Finally, we add a few smoke elements. This is easy to achieve because any sort of smoke or dust footage will do, no matter the colour – we can tint the footage so all non-alpha output is black and it sells the effect really well.
The final footage released by Throttle House is extra effective by the addition of camera shake (which sells the superhero landing and explosions a bunch extra) and the use of great sound design, which is crucial to subconsciously blend elements into the scene.