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Lighting Talent In A Car For A Documentary


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#1 donovangreene

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 01:53 AM

I'm working on a documentary style commercial project where I'm filming one person driving in a car for a long period of time (approx 1 hour). There is absolutely no possibility of a camera car, or anything like that.

What I can do is put whatever lights I want to inside the car, provided they don't take too long to rig, ie. more than an hour or two. I'm going to be filming from the passenger seat with an HVX, and will have a two lipstick cameras mounted on the dash, one framing the driver in closeup and one pointed out toward the road.

What do you recommend I use to keep the talent lit well, without blowing out the background?

Put some kind of ND film on the driver's side window, and a small LED panel on the dash, as well as one in the back seat behind the passenger for backlight?

Let me know.

Thanks,
Donovan Greene
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#2 Joseph Nesbitt

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 05:29 PM

you may not be able to put enough ND to do it, or if it for an hour keep the results consistent, the light will be changing no mater what time of day, unless that isn't a bad thing. If I were you I'd get an HMI sunspot, it is small portable, not intrusive to the driver and will give the look of natural lighting, make sure that you don't get the light bouncing back into the lens though so position your light before you start driving and know how much you can pan. As far as the Nd goes do a test before you shoot the actual subject, find out what time you'll be shooting this, or get a ruff estimate, go out at that time a couple days before shooting and try a few different kinds of ND gel and see what is most effective at that time, is it is right in the middle of the day you'll need a ton so why bother, try using a filter on your lens, bring as many as you have with you and include that in the test, drive around for a while and film, marking how much you may need to change your f stop or when the method you picked may become ineffective, as far as the light goes I'd say sunspot for the day, but some companies design lights for this purpose, I've never been in this situation so try looking into it, there are lights available for day or night that are meant for this situation, however one situation you should avoid is if he will be driving around into day to night, that would be impossible to keep consistent, I'd let the director or producer know to make sure that such a situation would not arise.
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#3 Matthew Buick

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 05:59 PM

There's a cool tip I heard of taping fairy lights or LED's to the ceiling of the car, and powering them from the 12v cigarette lighter.
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