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Exteriors shot indoors


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#1 peter orland

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Posted 18 February 2006 - 08:07 PM

I have just finished watching the making of featurette of Close Encounters. I was amazed to see that the car coming up over the rise and nearly knocking over the kid was shot indoors. Are there any other great examples of shooting exteriors indoors in other films?

I would like to shoot indoors a longish (14 page) outdoor at dusk scene that is set on a dirt road with two vans parked side by side. There are nine people in the scene and the vans have stopped in front of a body that is passed out on the dirt road. Are there any special "tricks of the trade" that I can gen up on?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 01:11 AM

That's going to be hard to pull off on a stage. With a great set and a lot of overhead space lights -- like "Sleepy Hollow" -- you could create a dusk scene indoors, but the car bodies would tend to reflect all the overhead lights.

With faster film, you could put a giant silk under the softlights to spread the light further - Lubezski, who shot "Sleepy Hollow", did this variation for "Lemony Snickett", but now what you see reflected in the car is a soft sky but with a grid pattern of hot spots from the skylights behind the silk. Unless you have the budget for a lot of digital touch-up work to add realistic reflections in the cars.

On the other hand, unless you can guarantee overcast weather, it would be hard to pull a 14-page dusk scene off outdoors as well.

Besides "Sleepy Hollow" and "Lemony Snickett", look at the ape scenes in "2001", which was shot under a grid of lightbulbs to create a soft toplight effect, underexposed for an early morning shade effect with hard sunlight in the background and in the giant front-projection plates shot in Africa.

The jungle scenes in "Greystoke" were mainly shot on stage, but it's easier to fake daylight on a jungle / forest set than an open area because the light is more broken-up anyway in the woods and you don't see much sky.

Ridley Scott's "Legend" also has some great soundstage fake exterior work.

You can also see a more theatrical-looking sunset soundstage scene in "Hoffa" near the end of the movie.
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#3 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 01:20 AM

That's going to be hard to pull off on a stage. With a great set and a lot of overhead space lights -- like "Sleepy Hollow" -- you could create a dusk scene indoors, but the car bodies would tend to reflect all the overhead lights.

With faster film, you could put a giant silk under the softlights to spread the light further - Lubezski, who shot "Sleepy Hollow", did this variation for "Lemony Snickett", but now what you see reflected in the car is a soft sky but with a grid pattern of hot spots from the skylights behind the silk. Unless you have the budget for a lot of digital touch-up work to add realistic reflections in the cars.

On the other hand, unless you can guarantee overcast weather, it would be hard to pull a 14-page dusk scene off outdoors as well.

Besides "Sleepy Hollow" and "Lemony Snickett", look at the ape scenes in "2001", which was shot under a grid of lightbulbs to create a soft toplight effect, underexposed for an early morning shade effect with hard sunlight in the background and in the giant front-projection plates shot in Africa.

The jungle scenes in "Greystoke" were mainly shot on stage, but it's easier to fake daylight on a jungle / forest set than an open area because the light is more broken-up anyway in the woods and you don't see much sky.

Ridley Scott's "Legend" also has some great soundstage fake exterior work.

You can also see a more theatrical-looking sunset soundstage scene in "Hoffa" near the end of the movie.


My favorite Interior for exterior which was actually an interior though the lead chariture didn't know it was is the shot of the moon in" The Truman Show".
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#4 Chris Clarke

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 05:26 AM

Have a look at the Powell/Pressburger film Black Narcissus (1947). Jack Cardiff created some beautiful exterior scenes set in the Himalayas that were shot in Pinewood Studios. Wonderful film as well.

Edited by flyingpenguins, 19 February 2006 - 05:27 AM.

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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 12:06 PM

Have a look at the Powell/Pressburger film Black Narcissus (1947). Jack Cardiff created some beautiful exterior scenes set in the Himalayas that were shot in Pinewood Studios. Wonderful film as well.


Yes, although many of the day exterior shots were done on an exterior set with a big painted backdrop, so at least the sunlight is real.
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#6 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 12:49 PM

"The Heretic: Exorcist II" (DP William A. Fraker) also had some impressive exterior shots of an African desert done inside a soundstage, though they were after a more theatrical, expressionist approach: click.
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The Slider

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