A few weeks ago, Syyn Labs, drove out to the desert to complete a project for Die Hard batteries.  It was the culmination of a month’s preparation work.  But, unfortunately, we couldn’t actually do most of the work until we got out to the location.  The setting was a dry lake bed an hour East of Victorville.  There were 24 white and black cars parked, waiting to be set up.  We got to work, and in a couple of days arrived at this:

While the setup looks simple and straightforward, it was indeed a lot of hard work.  We were working with 20 unique cars, with 4 of them being repeats.  We were busy wiring them up so that their brights and horns would sound with a press of a keyboard key 100ft away.  Each car required it’s own solution.  Some cars we used the fuse box to interrupt the brights.  Other cars we ran our own lines to the brights.  And even other cars we had pigtail plugs that we were able to snap onto the existing bulbs.   Some cars were a dream to work on, easy to get to things, and simple connectors.  Other cars required contortionist hands and had tricky wiring.

We had to disconnect all of the batteries inside of the cars and run cables so that all of the cars could run off of a single battery, which was 60 feet out in front of the line of cars.  I thought I had brought extra cables, but we used up all 1000 feet of the 1/0 welding cable I hauled out to the desert for this shoot.

To top it all off, we suffered a huge set of problems, right as the production crew was ready to start filming.  The EMI from the cars starting and running during testing had knocked out our control schemes.  Luckily, Eric Gradman was able to construct an entirely new control layout and recode his computers to get everything to work.  I’m fuzzy on tech details, but he basically had to change the command signals through about 4 different protocols between the keyboard and the lights/horns.  Once he finished we had an amazingly robust system, despite the kludge of a solution.  Eric solved the problem, but there were some tense moments where we weren’t sure it was going to actually work at all.  We were all scared of what would happen if we had to abort the project and go home empty handed.

In the end, we were very happy with the result.  It really worked and we really made it happen.  Congrats to the Syyn Labs team.