IIHS Engineer Creates the World’s Most Accurate Lego Stop-Motion Crash Test

Even the most docile of us find some deep satisfaction in wanton destruction. Even better is when it’s filmed and replayed in slow motion, like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does with many of its crash test videos. But for as many crash tests as you’ve watched, have you ever wondered what the process looks like behind the scenes? What comes before acceleration, and after impact? Well, the IIHS itself has given us a small glimpse thereof in an entertaining little stop-motion crash test, animated entirely using Lego.

Stop-motion, for those who never fiddled with amateur filmmaking, is a process that involves positioning actors, props and a set before a camera, snapping a photo and then making minute, sometimes imperceptible adjustments before clicking the shutter again. This painstaking process is perhaps best exemplified by Aardman Animations’ Wallace and Gromit franchise, though modern 3D computer animation isn’t very different in principle. The IIHS used this technique for its Lego crash test film, though to smooth production, it captured fewer stills.

Many more examples of automotive stop-motion film can be found across the internet, The Drive included. When Lego’s 3,599-piece Bugatti Chiron came out at the end of 2018, we picked up an example and spent weeks assembling it, snapping one frame per piece to create a four-minute time-lapse wherein the Bugatti builds itself. Now to just set up the camera again for that new, still bigger Lamborghini FKP 37 Sian set…

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