In this age of digitally made special effects, the widely preferred option when dealing with car explosions in movies is to do a real live explosion. Digitally made explosions still look very artificial and a real fireball looks simply stunning. This was explained by Drew Jiritano of DJFX, a professional New York special effects company.
But to film an effective explosion is not as easy as it seems. “It takes around 200 man hours just to prepare for something that would last around 4 seconds in the movie,” said Jiritano. For every type of explosion that a director requests for, a special or specific type of set-up is needed which ensures that the captured shot looks amazing and also, there should be no injury during the explosion.
Some of the secrets of these explosions were also mentioned. If the door of the car is needed to come off during an explosion, the hinges of the door are removed and a mortar-like launcher is fixed inside the vehicle. Another trick revealed is when a car is needed to flip over. A hole is cut on the floor of the car and a hydraulic lift or jack is welded into it. The lift is triggered over a steel plate to avoid making a hole on the road.
To make a giant fireball explosion, a half gallon of ‘dry fireball mix’ is needed and the ingredients to this mix is a closely guarded industry secret. We may not get to see the giant fireball explosions in real life but there is nothing fake about the ones that we see in the movies.