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#1 William Sanders

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 06:47 PM

I was looking up lighting for car INT. at night on the search button. Have a question about temp. balance. Is it easier to light the INT. at lets say 32k rather then try to match it to balance the mixed lighting outside (mainly city/highway situations)?

Also when your lighting for a darker location (i.e the woods) what's good motivation? I assume using the light from the dashboard (with the kino car kit, or panels) and then having an light hooked up to a dimmer overexposed for passing carlights. I was wondering if anyone ever motivates moonlight as a source (I can't think of a film I've seen it in).
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#2 Garrett Shannon

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 02:15 PM

If you are dealing with street lights and car head lights, it's most likely going to be closer to 32k than say 56k but you aren't going to get a perfect match as film lights will be balanced precisely and all the other lights around you aren't being made with a "film friendly" color temp in mind.

My personal thoughts on motivating with moonlight are that it is unoriginal and unrealistic especialy for lighting people in a car. To me it also seems impractical as unless the moon is directly in front of the windshield there simply wouldn't be enough moonlight for it to be lighting the faces of people sitting in a car. I think car interior lights would be a much better idea or even something like a flashlight or a lantern if that suits the story. Cheers.
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#3 Reinis Traidas

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 08:17 AM

I was looking up lighting for car INT. at night on the search button. Have a question about temp. balance. Is it easier to light the INT. at lets say 32k rather then try to match it to balance the mixed lighting outside (mainly city/highway situations)?

Also when your lighting for a darker location (i.e the woods) what's good motivation? I assume using the light from the dashboard (with the kino car kit, or panels) and then having an light hooked up to a dimmer overexposed for passing carlights. I was wondering if anyone ever motivates moonlight as a source (I can't think of a film I've seen it in).


I think only ambient, background light can be motivated by moonlight - e.g the space behind the subjects. For lighting people, motivate something practical - either the car's dashboard lights if you're in the car, or headlights if outside the car. Or similar.

Try Litepanels. There's a nice mini version, 3x12" if I'm not mistaken. Very thin, very light - can easily gaffer tape it to the sunshield or roof of the car, or dashboard. Mini-flo also will probably work. Much easier to light INT. car at night then it is at day to compensate for the huge difference in shadow and in the sun, outside the car.

Edited by Reinis Traidas, 20 August 2008 - 08:18 AM.

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#4 John Holland

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 12:39 PM

Some 12 volt Christmas lights that you can power from the car ,drapped around out of shot under dash , dont worry about balance from outside sources , makes much more interesting .
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#5 Michael K Bergstrom

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 04:49 PM

Rope lights from the store also work really well, plus, they're cheap and you can dim them. I've also used an LED light that was diffused and motivated from the dashboard.
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#6 Michael Collier

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 09:54 PM

your in a car and your worried about modivation? you can use virtually ANY color you want and call it modivated. Some cars have dashes that are blue, some green and others red/bastard amber. The list goes on. You could modivate light from an external source, like a streetlamp or the moon. I personaly do not mind the light coming from the moon, especially if they are in the forrest with no light at all, not even dash if that were the case. I did a show where thats all we did, because obviously the car was a 1957 with no dash lights, and there were no street lights, so moon was the only modivated source. You could also choose to light with dash/dome lights and just put a kiss of moon light as a subtle kicker.

Your question it seems is in two parts. First which is better modivated, second what is easiest. To me, there are times to stick to modivation, then there are times to stick to the color palate you and the director have worked out previously, and have art dept. help you modivate the color you want. Look at a scene like the stabbing in Goodfellas. It could have been modivated by moon easily, it could have been streetlight (the horizon glow as they approach if I recall was orangeish.) they could have had a busted tail light and used that to modivate a white light. But Scorsese and Ballhaus probably wanted to represent the first death on screen (and the death that leads to the fallout between the Henry and Conway, and Tommy's death) dramatically so they planned to modivate really saturated red light from the tail lights.

Not always do you have to modivate the colors based on whats real, its always better to consider the motifs and idea behind the script and modivate the image to look the way you want it AND still be logical and reasonable. Two sides to the coin, and your art dept in this regard is you best friend. modivation and motif is a symbiotic relationship, you must choose which wins out in your planning.

As for easiest, the way you have it worded is a bit funny, but if I understand correctly you want to balance the light to the outside temps and want to know if its easier to start at 32 or 56. If it were me, I would start by figuring out what the temps of the real light is (the ones you can't change) and figure out how you want them to render. In seperate movies I have shot sodium vapor with tungsten and daylight balanced, its a matter of how you want the color and saturation to render in those lights to which you cannot change the output. Figure that out, then light from there. Your dealing with a small area so I would decide based on the look your going for, and the stop you want. 32 would probably be cheapest and easiest, since you don't have to be so careful about power, the temps are more stable and generaly a tungsten unit is easier to work with than dealing with all the quirks of HMI.

That would by my approach, but I am sure all DPs have a thought proccess and a rationilization of why they do what they do that would be just as long to explain as that. Ah to be a DP...theres a million ways to skin a cat, but only mine is right. Or put another way, whats the difference between a DP and God? God doesn't think hes a DP.
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