Like any great American, or British person, you probably spent most of Christmas Day binge-watching James Bond movies because that is a far more palatable alternative to talking to your relatives. And you probably cringed at the scene in Skyfall where the bad guys blew up a classic Aston Martin DB5.
How did they make one of the most upsetting moments in all of Bond-dom? Not by blowing up an actual Aston Martin DB5, of course. Those are expensive and hard to come by, and intentionally destroying one may actually convince England to bring back their death penalty.
No, modern special effects magic is how they made the DB5 explosion look so real. It's fairly well-known at this point that they used a scale model of the Aston for scene, augmented by CGI, but this article on the website Art of VFXreveals that a Porsche 928 also had to die to make it happen.
Here's how the scene went down, according to the film's VFX supervisor Arundi Asregadoo:
This was an interesting challenge – destroying the iconic DB5!
There were several stages to the destruction of the DB5. In the first wave of attack, the DB5 is damaged by hail of machine gun fire. We looked into how bullet-proof cars are built and how different materials react under intense gun fire.
The approach was 2.5d solution. We created a CG model of the car, using reference photos. The DMP images of bullet holes and crack glass, was projected using Nuke, on to the live action plate of the DB5. Once we had laid out the damage, Sam was free to adjust the amount of damage visible.
The second stage of destruction comes when Silva orders the helicopter to open fire on the DB5. To achieve this Steve had a full scale version of the car built so we could blow it up. We combined this footage with the CG DB5 on to a plate, and other elements were added (like breaking glass) to create the images of the DB5 blowing up.
How did they make those "other elements" happen? By doing it to a sports car with similar proportions to the DB5 — in this case, very clearly the carcass of an old Porsche 928.
So the next time you watch Skyfall — hopefully today if you haven't already — bear that poor (probably non-running anyway) Porsche 928's sacrifice in mind. It helped make the movie magic happen.
Hat tip to Sniff Petrol!