Car adverts have often been on the cutting edge of film technology. Whether it’s through new ways of filming vehicles on the move, using state of the art special effects or creating innovative forms of storytelling, commercials in the automotive industry have broken plenty of new ground.

So how are current and emerging technologies changing car adverts? What might we see in the near future in these videos?

#4: In car cameras

These are not new to the industry by any means. But high quality cameras are getting smaller. And that means that the quality of in car footage is improving quickly.

You might remember the days when in car camera shots were very grainy and shaky. But those days are far behind us now. Amazon’s The Grand Tour, for example, has been using Panasonic GH4s as in car cameras. This means they have the capability to get 4K footage from a decent DSLR, which doesn’t take up much space. Of course, you can go even smaller with a GoPro and still get 4K footage.

This trend is only set to continue. Cameras will increase in resolution while getting smaller, more rugged and more portable. This will definitely continue to benefit car adverts and TV shows. Expect some of the biggest changes in this area of filming to be driven by virtual reality and 360 videos:

#3: Improving CGI in car adverts

CGI has been coming on in leaps and bounds over the last couple of decades. Car adverts have used CGI to great effect for a long time.

But the recent trend in recreating the images of celebrities digitally could open up a whole new era in car adverts. Examples from the last few years, such as Galaxy’s (in)famous Audrey Hepburn advert and some major film releases, show just how far this technology has come.

20 years ago, this iconic advert used CGI and clever editing to revive Steve McQueen for a Ford Puma advert:

Imagine the possibilities for similar adverts created with modern technology. Could we see the reappearance of the classic Bonds in their heyday, for example, in sports car adverts?

#2: New camera rigs and robotics

Advancements in robotics and camera rigs – such as the ability to shoot 360 videos – provide a whole new world of possibilities for car adverts. Take a look at this amazing new piece of kit from The Mill, called BLACKBIRD:

The Mill BLACKBIRD from The Mill on Vimeo.

New technology like this, combined with improvements in CGI and the rise of VR, means we will be seeing some very interesting things in car adverts in the near future. Get ready for adverts that break new ground in immersion, visual effects and storytelling.

#1: Self-driving cars

Self-driving cars are set to change the car industry. Mass marketing consumer models are looking likely within the next five to ten years.

But outside of advertising these cars themselves, self-driving cars present an opportunity to completely revolutionise car adverts. As access to these cars becomes easier, the possibilities they open up for filming will start to be fully explored. I’m sure you can imagine the kind of shots that you could get with a car that you can control remotely, without the need to worry about the safety of a stunt driver.

While robotics and automation have been part of filming in car adverts for a while, self driving cars open up whole new levels of control. When combined with some of the other advances I’ve already mentioned, the possibilities for creating exciting, original car adverts are endless.

Want more? Take a look at our other automotive marketing ideas and inspiration!