Crash Test Photography: Capturing the Impact in Slow Motion

A freshly released video from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is giving insight into how the organization photographs its respected crash tests, which it conducts on behalf of car insurance companies.

A huge crash hall plays host to the shoots. Specifically designed to accommodate photography, a huge lighting array boasting a 750,000-watt output of soft diffused light hangs from the ceiling. This, says IIHS VP Pini Kalnite, is to avoid “cast[ing] hard shadows and reflections.” The brightness also lends itself to their “state-of-the-art digital imagers or slow-motion cameras.”

In order to thoroughly examine the impact of the crash, everything is captured from various angles on high-speed cameras for super-slow-motion footage and with car-mounted cameras for in-cabin views. This gives the experts a chance to break down exactly what happens upon impact during their scientific analysis. The team revealed that Hasselblad cameras are used for the stills.

The intensive investigation and its subsequent footage and photos are then used to relay information to various parties, such as the media, the public, and insurance companies to garner a greater understanding of what exactly happens during a crash.

Check out the video to review some of their findings.

Footage and all images courtesy the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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1 Comment

William Howell's picture

Duuude, you gotta watch some of the Chinese car crash test! Let’s just say they ain’t safe, they make a Yugo look like A-1 Abrams tank!