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lighting car interior?


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#1 Maximilian Schmige

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 05:13 PM

hey guys,

i have a scene where someone is been driven around the city in the back seat. The camera will be filming from the front seat. It is going to be a mid-close up. Once during the day and once at night. I am shooting 16mm color non sync. Any ideas for film stock, too? I thought about usng kodak 500D.

The problem is i don't know how to film it. the interior of the car is obviously several stops under then the sun outside. I though about adding some lights inside the car to balance the stop difference. Kino flos would be good, but i ve never used them before so i dont know which ones to get. Are there batteries i can plug one in? I thought about using one flo next to his legs and light the person up from below.

Any suggestions??

Thanks for your help in advance
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 06:41 PM

Well, kinos aren't going to solve the problem of balancing the interior and exterior. I would say that bouncing sunlight is probably your best option.

For the night shot, perhaps a poor-mans'-process shot is in order. That would let you get the exterior look how you want it by shooting it on video and projecting it for a background.
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#3 Seamus Mulligan-Ferry

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 06:51 PM

You could line the car windows with ND gel to bring the stop difference down.

Also, as for which Kino's, a Mini-Flo Kit has a DC Car Adapter (i.e. You can run them out of your cigarette lighter). For color balance, Kino tubes can come balanced for either daylight or tungsten.

Good luck
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#4 Maximilian Schmige

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 08:27 PM

A bounce board would give more lights then a mini kino kit?

I like the Idea of taping up the car in ND, but I don't know how that is going to look like on screen.

I am going tomorrow to have a look at those kino's. Let's see what they can do <_<
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#5 Maximilian Schmige

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 09:01 PM

well since i am doing my own short music film I can change it a little and try a different look instead :D

What do u guys think if I shoot around before (1-2hr) sunset. The light would be much more even and not that hard.

Unfortunatelly I dont have much money to get all these fancy lights :(
A couple houndred bucks max for whatever solution.

thanx for your replies. U guys r great!!
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#6 Seamus Mulligan-Ferry

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 10:45 PM

well since i am doing my own short music film I can change it a little and try a different look instead :D

What do u guys think if I shoot around before (1-2hr) sunset. The light would be much more even and not that hard.

Unfortunatelly I dont have much money to get all these fancy lights :(
A couple houndred bucks max for whatever solution.

thanx for your replies. U guys r great!!


Cheaper solution: (at least for a pure night/tungsten balanced stock), Go to your local auto parts store, get a power inverter ($30.00-$50.00) with a 12volt plug ---This enables you to run a male A/C plug off of your car battery. Buy a string of white Christmas lights ($5.00) (& maybe a dimmer if you want to control the output of the lights).
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#7 Chris Pritzlaff

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 10:53 PM

What I ended up doing once is taping aluminum foil to the celing of the car near the window and bouncing a 10million candle spotlight from wal mart into it. It is less than $45 to buy and is relatively close to daylight color temp. Add some 1/4 CTB and you should be in good shape. The spot runs on batteries and can be charged from the cigarett lighter if needed.
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#8 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 11:15 PM

What I ended up doing once is taping aluminum foil to the celing of the car near the window and bouncing a 10million candle spotlight from wal mart into it. It is less than $45 to buy and is relatively close to daylight color temp. Add some 1/4 CTB and you should be in good shape. The spot runs on batteries and can be charged from the cigarett lighter if needed.


Pretty good idea.

To the OP: The ND wasn't to be taped onto the windows. You get large sheets of it, cut it to size and shape, and squeegee it on with water. It will look just like the car's windows...just darker. No worries about it looking bad if you do a good job applying it.

Also, if it's daytime, there's no problem with leaving the exterior of the car somewhat overexposed. We're used to seeing things that way on a bright day. You just don't want to leave it all blocked-up white or anything. It's all a judgment call.

Edited by Christopher D. Keth, 30 July 2006 - 11:17 PM.

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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 11:42 PM

I'd keep it simple and just use natural daylight. Put some white towels on people's laps, underexpose the interior by a stop or stop and a half, let the outside be hot. Drive around in backlight and as long as it's not hot sky in the b.g., but backlit buildings and trees instead, it should help keep the background from getting too bright compared to the interior.

Lighting car interiors in the daytime is one of those things that if you can't do it well and make it look natural, then you're better off doing less rather than have it look fake.

You can ND gel the back window if it helps, and it's not too close to the back of their heads, but I'd avoid gelling the side windows because when you look at ND gel at a raking angle, it gets much darker, plus you'll see too much rippling.
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#10 Maximilian Schmige

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 12:06 AM

Great ideas. Thanks for all of your help. I think what I am going to try is add at least some light inside the car ie kino flo kit or christmas spotlighst (gotta check those out) and then underexpose the interior like David Mullen suggested. I have some NDs so I can try taping some to the back window.

We ll see soon how it works out.
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#11 Maximilian Schmige

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 11:59 AM

I went to Kino to check out the mini kit. Looks nice and I wanted to rent it out. They give 50% discount for students :blink: BUT they wouldn't rent me one, because I don't have insurance for them :angry:

Now I have to go somewhere else...too bad.
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#12 Robert Aldrich

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 01:41 AM

I went to Kino to check out the mini kit. Looks nice and I wanted to rent it out. They give 50% discount for students :blink: BUT they wouldn't rent me one, because I don't have insurance for them :angry:

Now I have to go somewhere else...too bad.



Or, try to get the director to get a convertible (top down) or a car with a sunroof at least...
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#13 Adam White

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 03:17 AM

After submitting a similar post a few months ago, I tried all sorts of ways to make a car interior more film-friendly. I ended up buying an old but reliable car from the scrapyard and adding two sunroofs, one above the front seat, one over the back. As long as you didnt frame to showcase them, they worked perfectly during the day (heavily diffed to lift general light ambience) and night (amazing under streetllights, fastmoving).

I was also able to fix solid supports into the front of the car to make camera positions secure, as well as safer for the driver.
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#14 Franz TIF

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 01:10 AM

From my Belkin 300W Power Inverter :

Warning: This product is not recommended for use with inductive loads, such as florescent lamps, compressors & pumps. Otherwise, permanent damage may result.


Don't as me why, but this is to take into consideration when using an inverter in a cigarette lighter socket.

Do someone has the explanation ?

Edited by Franz TIF, 06 November 2006 - 01:11 AM.

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#15 Adam Kesher

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 05:44 AM

hey guys,

Any suggestions??


We had the same problem and ended up using two LitePanels. They work excellent, they are 5600K and a kit includes batteries that you attach directly to the lamp (you can also power them via the cigarrette lighter socket. You can either hold it in your hand or mount it on some kind of stand, or the camera, or just tape it to the roof/seat/DoP. They can be dimmed between 1-100% without change of color temperature. 16 different filters are also included in a kit.

And no, I don't work for the company that makes them :D Just tryin' to be friendly
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#16 Stuart McCammon

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 06:31 AM

I think a much bigger problem than the lights, actually, is having the camera inside the car. Simple car rigs don't cost much to rent and provide alot more flexibility in terms of shot selection. Heck, there are probably a bunch of people here who could tell you how to make a car rig.
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#17 J. Søren Viuf

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 02:17 PM

Another obvious one that is overlooked is actually using a car with tinted windows. They supposedly come in transmissions ranging from 5% ("limo tint") to 75%. Even if you don't have a car with tinted windows, it usually runs around 150 USD. And it may be a worthwhile long term investment, since Hey! Now you have tinted windows!

Only thing I'm unsure about is low- quality tints, and how they may read on camera. Also, watch for cheap jobs that "bubble."
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#18 Miguel Bunster

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 06:54 PM

Hi,
I am shooting a lot of car interior hand held style like in 21 grams etc and I am having the cars windows tinted (for exposure and for character things "drug loard cars") and I am going in to see the density. I was thinking a 50% tint but wanted to ask peoples opinion about working in tinted cars like color shift etc.
As well the non tinted cars will be shot in right time of day and lit with a ocmbination of light panels, 200 HMI jokers.

Any opinions would be great!
Thanks a lot!

Ps: i was going to use a platinium camera but changing it for a Aaton 35. Smaller size would helkp a lot.

Best
M
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#19 Michael Nash

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 07:26 PM

I was thinking a 50% tint but wanted to ask peoples opinion about working in tinted cars like color shift etc.


Plain old RoscoScrim/LeeScrim works quite well, and you really don't read the pattern as much as you would think.

For "real" tint, 50% would be one stop (ND .3), right? Why don't you take your light meter to the glass shop and read their tint material?
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#20 Armando Castro

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 10:01 PM

We shot a campaign here in Florida for Sunpass (prepaid toll) which required real people giving testimonials about how great using Sunpass was.

We ended up hiring a window tinter for the day, and had him apply different variations of tints on the cars depending on how bright the daylight was outside.

The final campaign was great, except for the car sickness after 12 hours inside moving cars squenched up in the back seat.

AC
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