Filming a car commercial with a custom C-130 Hercules

When Hyundai planned to make a commercial to announce their all-new Venue SUV, they had a major production in mind.

A flying, custom-painted C-130 Hercules, high-speed air-to-air filming, and precise, low-altitude passes were just a few of the moving parts that Pursuit Aviation needed to coordinate when filming this project in May. Luckily, our JETCAM platform and helicopter camera ships were the perfect fit to capture the various angles that the director had in mind.

The commercial centers on a Hyundai Venue that is traveling inside of a C-130 to join the rest of the automaker’s lineup. The inside of the C-130 was made to resemble a flying night club, complete with specialty lighting and smoke machines.

The biggest production hurdle was not the air-to-air filming, but sourcing a privately owned C-130, along with the crew to temporarily paint the aircraft within the three-day pre-production window. U.K.-based Shoot Aviation, a major provider of aviation assets for European productions, was brought in to take on the challenge. The Shoot team, led by Dan Utley and Simon O’Connell, had prior experience with temporarily painting aircraft for large feature films. One of their previous credits included painting the custom livery on the C-130 featured in 2017’s The Mummy.

Once the C-130’s paint job was complete, it was up to the aerial crews to bring the director’s vision to life. Because of the speed of a fixed-wing aircraft like the C-130, JETCAM was used to capture footage of the plane as it soared over the mountains along Hwy. 395. During the shoot, the massive transport plane topped 200 miles per hour - too fast for a helicopter, but well within the capabilities of the JETCAM platform.

Outfitted with a Shotover K1 system, the A-Star camera helicopter captured the next phase of the project. At Inyokern Airport, the Hercules flew numerous traffic patterns while it was trailed on the ground by stunt drivers in the Hyundai vehicles. As the plane flew low-altitude passes, the aerial production crew captured the scene from every angle.

The final product is stunning and we are proud to have been part of this amazing project.