Toyota Prius Backup Camera: Newest Tool For Film Auteurs?


Cameras are virtually everywhere these days, making it easier to record images than ever before.

They're small enough to be hoisted aloft by drones, and some filmmakers are even experimenting with the cameras embedded in smartphones.

But there's another type of camera that may have some artistic potential as well.

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Could the rearview cameras in cars transcend their intended purpose as safety devices, and be used to make movies instead?

Probably not, but it's certainly funny to imagine someone trying.

Check Your Surroundings For Safety is a film shot entirely on a Toyota Prius backup camera. It was intended to spoof quirky film auteurs and their interest in unorthodox formats, according to Inverse.

2009 Toyota Prius

2009 Toyota Prius

Enlarge Photo
While the passenger seat of a Prius is probably more comfortable than a director's chair, shooting a film using a car backup camera does present some technical difficulties.

There is a risk of running over the actors, for one.

Using a car-based camera restricts possible filming locations somewhat.

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Parking lots, streets, and quick-lube shops seem to work well, but shooting inside buildings probably isn't an option.

And it's unclear how the finished product will be recorded, since car backup cameras generally don't save their images for posterity.

But if Mateo St. Portugal--the fictional director of Check Your Surroundings For Safety--ever decides to make a sequel, there may be even more camera options open to him.

2009 Toyota Prius

2009 Toyota Prius

Enlarge Photo
While Tesla was unsuccessful in lobbying the government to allow it to use cameras in place of side-view mirrors on the Model X, that idea is still attractive to carmakers.

Eliminating side mirrors could potentially improve aerodynamics and, in turn, fuel efficiency.

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At the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), BMW showed a mirror-less i8 plug-in hybrid concept that used an array of cameras to show the driver his or her surroundings.

Camera systems that provide a 360-degree view around a vehicle are already available from certain manufacturers.

Perhaps they'll become tools for some enterprising filmmaker. Or perhaps not.

[hat tip: Joseph Dubeau]

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