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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Jean-Claude Van Damme's 'Epic Split' for Volvo

How'd They Do That?
Jean-Claude Van Damme's
'Epic Split' 
The easy part: 
Actor Jean-Claude Van Damme before the trucks started backing up and he did his "epic split."

by Mark Memmott - November 16, 2013

Let's all take a minute to watch one of the latest viral videos:
Naturally, it's got folks asking questions.
a) Whether it's real?
b) How did they do that?

According The Wall Street Journal, what you see is really what you get.
Volvo says Van Damme does have one foot on each truck as the two vehicles slowly back up and get farther apart.

But Van Damme, known to fans as the "muscles from Brussels," wasn't in any real danger. The Journal writes that:

"Van Damme's feet [weren't] secured to the mirrors, video director Andreas Nilsson said, "but we had him rigged [with a wire] so that if he would fall off he wouldn't die, obviously."
The ad is designed to show off the trucks' Volvo Dynamic Steering.

The trucks go backwards, Volvo public relations manager Anders Vilhelmsson tells the Journal, because "we all know that going in reverse is a bit more difficult than going forward. ... We felt that would be the ultimate test."

The stunt, Vihelmsson says, was done in one take.
Rob Ford Parody
Volvo Van Damme Epic Splits

How Volvo Created
Jean-Claude Van Damme
‘Epic Split’ Video

By  Barbara Chai
The Internet is buzzing about a new online commercial that shows actor Jean-Claude Van Damme appearing to perform a split between two moving Volvo FM trucks. Volvo says the stunt really happened.

The stunt is real and is performed in just one take,” said Anders Vilhelmsson, public relations manager for the Volvo Trucks brand. “It’s a daring stunt but we had full control. There was never any real danger involved.”

Van Damme, 53, was hooked to safety lines that aren’t visible in the film, and each foot is on a small platform that was built on the trucks’ side mirrors.

Van Damme’s feet aren’t secured to the mirrors, video director Andreas Nilsson said, “but we had him rigged so that if he would fall off he wouldn’t die obviously. We didn’t want to be responsible for killing the Muscles from Brussels.”
The stunt, meant to advertise Volvo Trucks’ new dynamic steering system, has drawn more than eight million views on YouTube since the video was posted on Nov. 13.

It was filmed by Nilsson on a closed-off airstrip in Spain called Ciudad Real, located just south of Madrid. Prior to filming, the production team rehearsed the stunt for three days. The final version had to be completed within just 15 minutes – from 8:05 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. – when the sunlight was just right.

“The film you see is the first take. But obviously we had tons of rehearsals,” Nilsson said. “The tension was really high. I saw a tough stunt coordinator swell up after we nailed it. That might actually be the nicest memory from the shoot.”

Nilsson said the drivers of the trucks played key roles. “What they did is fantastic. I don’t know if you have tried to drive backwards with a truck but it’s not the easiest thing,” he said. “And then [to] keep it in total control when spreading apart is very, very hard.”

The trucks go backward in the video because “we all know that going in reverse is a bit more difficult than going forward,” Vilhelmsson said. “We felt that would be the ultimate test, to have the trucks go in reverse with someone standing on the side mirrors performing a side split. And we knew that if anyone would be able to do that, it would have to be Jean-Claude Van Damme.”

Nilsson called the video an honest homage to Van Damme, “a pop cultural icon that I have had in my life since I was a kid. The spots he has been in before have looked down on him, in my opinion. I was looking up, in celebration.”

The new dynamic steering system combines conventional hydraulic powered steering with an electric motor that is fitted to the truck’s steering gear. The electric motor receives 2000 signals per second from the truck’s on-board sensors, allowing for more precise steering, according to Vilhelmsson. He said the steering system offers a more relaxed and ergonomically designed experience for truck drivers.

The “Epic Split” video is part of a series produced by Volvo Trucks that features daring stunts meant to illustrate innovations in its vehicles. A previous video dubbed “The Ballerina Stunt” filmed two trucks speeding toward a tunnel, with a woman crossing a slack line between them before they hit the tunnel. That video also went viral, getting more than 7 million views.

When Volvo began planning the launch of five new trucks 12 months ago, the creative team adopted a strategy of producing YouTube films that would create attention, and inform and entertain audiences, Vilhelmsson said. That would pave the way for future advertising and sales campaigns in local markets.

With the Van Damme video, Volvo wanted to illustrate the new dynamic steering model in a spectacular way, and reach beyond traditional markets. “We need to target not only truck drivers, but future truck drivers. Young people who are facing a choice of a future career,” he said.

“We know the media landscape is changing,” he said. “We have different media consumption habits today than a couple years ago. So that is why we invest in this cost-efficient way of reaching out to millions of people online.”

Volvo Trucks will continue to release more stunt videos, but has no more planned with Jean-Claude Van Damme at this time.

A lot of auto ads run a disclaimer that the stunt was performed by professionals and viewers shouldn't try this at home. You'd definitely be wise to take that advice with regards to this ad Volvo Trucks featuring action star Jean-Claude Van Damme.
In the ad, Van Damme does a stunt that is truly insane, involving an epic split between two Volvo trucks.
The making of "The Epic Split" 

Could you save yourself if your kitchen floor was suddenly charged with electricity? 

Van Damme could, and did, in Timecop.

1 comment:

Brendon Wayne said...

Volvo really did it with this commercial. It became a hot topic and it was now viewed over 57 million times... wait what? Seriously go to the official uploaded video and find out for yourself how this "epic" commercial promoted Volvo's brand brilliantly.