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Advice on Shooting in a Car


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#1 Chris Durham

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 11:52 AM

I'm shooting a low-budget (nearly no budget) short on an XL2. We've been doing some testing beforehand and did our first tests yesterday inside a moving car. There are several scenes like this so I want to get it right. I noticed a couple of difficulties and I've got some ideas on how to overcome them, but I thought I'd throw them on here for advice.

1) Driver underexposed, outside overexposed - in order to get the background outside the car from blowing out, I have to filter out to the point where there's little detail in the driver. I was thinking about buying a roll of ND gel, but I'm not sure what factor to purchase. Also, it might not matter for the shots we need, but when 'stitching' together two pieces of gel roll with gel tape, what can I expect as far as the seam appearing on camera? I've never done this before.

2) Light from the front windshield - When the driver reaches forward to play with the radio - as is indicated in the script - the hand passes into direct sunlight and goes overexposed. I figure gelling the windshield might help this as well. I can't think of a good way to bring lights into the car with the equipment I have available to me. I know also this is a time of day thing. If we drive into the sun late or early in the day it might minimize this, but I expect that there'd be color temperature issues. Any thoughts on this?

Thanks guys.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 12:02 PM

If you can't light the car interior up, there aren't a lot of good solutions. Yes, you could ND gel the side windows but the gelling as to be perfect, no wrinkes or seams, and ND gel looks heavier as you look at it from a raking angle. ND.60 should be fine. But I've rarely found gelling a car window to be a good idea.

Gelling everything is pointless because it just reduces the overall brightness inside and outside.

When I have to shoot daytime driving scenes in available light, I try and drive with the background backlit so I'm looking at the shadow side of trees and houses, etc. This allows me to open up a little on the f-stop for the shadows.

Now if you could tow the car, then you could put a bounce card on the hood to add more light to the interior.

Getting a car with a sun roof that you can put diffusion gel over the top of will help too.
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#3 Chris Durham

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 02:18 PM

Thanks David. We actually intend to tow some of the cars, so bouncing light may be helpful. Where I can't, though, is there a cheap way that anyone can think of to get decent light in the car?
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#4 Bruce Taylor

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 06:54 PM

is there a cheap way that anyone can think of to get decent light in the car?


I hope Olivier Satnet from Konvas.org doesn't mind, I am going to copy part of his email from the Konvas group (he is from South America, so bear with the English):

Don t play with grey film on windows !!!
you can use thoses DAYLIGHT smalls neons light ....or LEDS panels
like you are in the states , and we are i a KONVAS group .... so supposed be low cost productions

try this dealer on ebay .... http://stores. ebay.com/ LEDwholesalers- Inc he have somes solutions low cost leds ....

i buy 4 of thoses : http://img.inkfrog.c...mp;aid=54169622
they work like mini HMI !!!! and all with a 300 watts inversor in the car ! or i use too in the jungle with car battery for night shots were no light available .... )
a cambinatio of the 4 leds "HMI" and 4 neons i have ...

BUT littles neons will be more efficients or more subtiles ..... (less visible ) .... i buy one year ago 4 tubes well done on e bay , work with inversor and Duck tape them on the roof of the car ! work great !


The PAR 38 LED bulbs are cheap and burn at about daylight temp. I believe the "neons" he refers to are daylight flouro bulbs. I'm going to be trying this myself.

Bruce
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#5 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 07:25 PM

Chris,

These small kinoflos can be useful. http://www.kinoflo.c.....2V Single.htm

If you are towing and have a generator, some sort of mounted hmi would be nice.

Good luck!
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#6 Paul Nordin

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 09:26 PM

Chris,

These small kinoflos can be useful. http://www.kinoflo.c.....2V Single.htm

If you are towing and have a generator, some sort of mounted hmi would be nice.

Good luck!


I do a lot of low-budget car shots. It's a real challenge to balance interior with exterior. The fixtures that are being described here are generally too weak in output to 'nicely' match interior and exterior. Even if you tow and shine a 1.2k HMI into the front, you will not be at the same level inside the car as outside on a sunny day (+2 stops). Reflectors help, plan the angle of the sun to your camera (per David's advice), and early am or late pm time of day can also be a big help.
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