TMCP #291: Elia Popov – JEM FX – Creating a New Standard in Stunt and Advertising Car Technology

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JEM FX / The Mill Blackbird CGI Platform Vehicle
JEM FX / The Mill Blackbird CGI Platform Vehicle
JEM FX Elia Popov and Rob Kibbe
JEM FX Elia Popov and Rob Kibbe

This weeks interview is with previous guest, Elia Popov from J.E.M. FX to discuss an amazing piece of movie car engineering they’ve created; The Blackbird CGI Platform Vehicle. It is, in effect, an automotive CGI stuntman. It has an adjustable wheelbase, track width, and can be driven as a STUNT vehicle despite all of that. When CGI is added over the top, it can literally become any car you can think of….and looks quite real. In my opinion, this vehicle is something custom car builders will be taking lessons from for the next 20 years!

If Elia’s name is familiar to you, it should be. In podcast 231 Elia talked about his work on the General Lee Chargers in the 2005 Dukes of Hazzard movie. While flying Generals may be one claim to fame, he and his company J.E.M. FX have featured work in many well known movies. As a result, the Blackbird is the next step of advertising vehicle evolution.

The car itself is designed to be fully adjustable quickly and easily. The suspension can be varied in height four feet, width ten inches, and even adjust driving characteristics with rebound and dampening settings. The wheels can be matched to the target vehicle with use of adapters to fit any design. The Blackbird is powered by a ninety horsepower electric motor and can reliably be used over multiple days of filming with no interruption in the schedule. It’s primary duty will be to perform light stunts and simulate next generation vehicles in advertising campaigns – even if those vehicles don’t exist yet.

You can check out J.E.M. FX on the website

Thanks Elia for the great interview and the insights into movie car magic!

-Rob Kibbe

p.s. For the kids that listen to this show – Elia also reminded me that if someone wants to get into the field of special movie FX that an education based in math and physics is fundamental. Study hard, kids!


This interview sponsored by our pals at National Parts Depot
your premier source for muscle car restoration parts!



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