TAKE 606

Apr 14 2003

Now that's a real motion picture

Michael Christie

TV VIEWERS have been left stunned by Honda's astonishing new advert. Shot in real time, it shows a transmission ball bearing setting 84 other pieces of equipment in motion across a floor. It's a mechanical domino effect - or a hi-tech version of the old board game Mousetrap. And the 750,000 two minute ad - called Cog - took eight men nearly five months to prepare. At one point, three tyres roll uphill because inside they have been weighted with bolts and screws

Later, a set of windscreen wiper blade helicopter through the air, suspended from a line of metal twine. It all ends with the electronic door locks activated as a complete Honda rolls off the stand.

The advert was shown for the first time last week and has already become a firm favourite with viewers. It was filmed on an industrial estate outside Paris. The final shoot lasted four days and nights and ran to an incredible 606 takes until the makers were satisfied that everything was perfect. Even if one item was just a sixteenth of an inch off, a take would be ruined. Film assistants had to tiptoe round the set so as not to disturb the feather- sensitive superstructure of the arranged metalwork. The slightest tremor could have undone hours of work.

The full advert is divided in two - because the studio couldn't fit in all the kit at once. Just one second of computer generation is used to link the two halves - when an exhaust pipe rolls across the floor.

A Honda spokesman said: "Filming it was a real pain. But we believe the results are outstanding and something very different. "We're really pleased with it."

The ads will initially run for 10 days and then be replaced by one 60- second ad and five 30-second ads which will be shown for six weeks.