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Story of a cab driver...


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#1 Burak Oguz Saguner

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 04:12 AM

Hi ladies and gentlemen,

I am preparing for a short film at the moment. The story is about life of a cab driver and it will be shot on HD. The script requires a lot of night time scenes in a cab. Currently I am looking for references. Does anyone have any suggestions, any still images, any films to have a look or lighting techniques, equipment?
If you could take the time and give me some recommendations I will be grateful.

Thank you for your time in advance

Regards
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#2 Ram Shani

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 01:39 PM

taxi driver- by Scorsese
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#3 boy yniguez

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 08:40 PM

Hi ladies and gentlemen,

I am preparing for a short film at the moment. The story is about life of a cab driver and it will be shot on HD. The script requires a lot of night time scenes in a cab. Currently I am looking for references. Does anyone have any suggestions, any still images, any films to have a look or lighting techniques, equipment?
If you could take the time and give me some recommendations I will be grateful.

Thank you for your time in advance

Regards



your best reference would be "night on earth" by jim jarmusch. stories of 5 cabbies in five different cities all over the world, all night scenes!
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#4 Jean Dodge

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 08:21 PM

COLLATERAL of course is a well known film with lots of night time taxi shots
GOODBYE SOLO just came out on DVD. A great film told on a low budget - one of the main characters is a cabbie in North Carolina. The faded tobacco manufacturing city becomes a character of its own in the film in some ways.

But aside from examples of how to light or shoot car interiors, you also have a "ship" that travels to many ports of call. You could watch anything from The African Queen and TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT to STAR TREK and get inspiration if you think of it that way. And there is the insider/ group of professionals who isolate themselves from the civilians, like in a Howard Hawks movies about pilots or films like MANPOWER (about high line electricians) or films about race car drivers, etc. Try TWO LANE BLACKTOP for the lonely driver motif. But don't limit yourself to car movies. THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA or LIFEBOAT or even JAWS seems as valid as anything. Consider how the story allows you to establish a familiar space but also lets you dole out the details in the order of your choice.

You also have a "small set" film akin to stories that take place in a hotel room or on an airplane or submarine. Think of the small details of films like this that make the world of the story seem real and lived in, and the vast difference it makes when the submarine sailors finally get to open a hatch and go outside, how different the movie looks or feels. Or, you can think of the driver as someone who has a job like a bartender or a therapist or priest, always ministering to strangers. DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST might be inspirational, who can say?

Try looking over the paintings of Edward Hooper, and the still photography of Robert Frank's The Americans for that feeling of alone-ness that travelers exhibit.

I'd give some thought to testing a canon D5 mk2 for some shots - the low light capability of the camera is impressice, and its small size is good for car shots, too. Of course it has many drawbacks but this type of subject plays to the strengths of the full frame sensor. I wish GOODBYE SOLO had used that camera.

As far as movies that take place in dark, underlit places you should look carefully at the work of Gordon Willis. Director Hal Ashby's first film THE LANDLORD is circulating with a new print - it looks amazing and they dont call him the prince of darkness for nothing. KLUTE is another good one of his with the city at night.

Y Tu Mama Tambien has some of the best car-to-car shots I've seen in a while. Of course CHILDREN OF MEN has some truly great single take car stuff. Finding the right vehicle to shoot looking FORWARD at the rear of your picture car is always a challenge on a budget. A jeep with a fold down wind screen or a low low pre-1974 convertible of some sort is good too like an old MGB. Second best to that is a small car with a sunroof and a short hood.

Obviously the topic of "poor mans process" is going to come up. Embrace it - it is your friend and can be a great way to get a lot of dialog work done relatively easily. Get a slider of some kind. Also push for the need to have two identical taxis, one for rigging and one for exterior shots / driving shots, or the ability to separate those shots on different shoot days so you dont waste shooting time rigging and unrigging anything. Shooting poor man's all night and then getting some dawn-for-sunset stuff is a good way to spend a day, but make sure you are ready to leave off the poor mans in time to get to your location while it is still dark.

Start asking around to borrow any neon signs you might find - work the product placement angle if you have to. Get the best smoke machine set u you can afford to rent, and if you cant afford much of anything, buy a $30 halloween one at a big box store. Start practicing your fake raindrops techniques now so you are not experimenting on set. Try auto parts store for prodcuts like RAIN-X and car wax and try them on you car's passenger windows to see which one beads up water the nicest for raindrop effects. Buy glycerine or mix in antifreeze for the hell of it. Experiment.

12v to 120v inverters are handy - but so is an extra car battery and a pair of jumper cables. Junior stands with a boom rig of some kind are great to rig "streetlights" to for the requisite shot of the same streetlight effect passing over the windshield again and again, but make sure you have some silicon or WD40 etc to make your spinning rigs quiet. Get a molefan for the same reason. Scout the location you will do the poor mans process stuff carefully and thoroughly at night to make sure you can control ambient and unwanted light. Parking garages and airplane hangars can be great if you can get permission to shoot there. Often they are empty at night and have access to power. I once shot in a gravel quarry for a lonely road at night scene since the excavation created a three sided dark studio with no visible horizon.

Start listing your "beauty shots" and figure out which ones are second unit and which can have principal actors in them. Storyboard a zillion ideas to propose, and then organize them carefully into what order is easiest to do in what order. On some productions it makes the most sense to do all the "hostess tray" shots at once, and on other shows the grips work overtime so the actors can play a scene closer to script order. Figure out what sort of show you are making and go all the way with that... TAXI DRIVER was tightly story boarded and shot mostly in Los Angeles!!!

Good luck. There's tons of great small lighting solutions but cheap christmas lights and skillful gaffers can do wonders - keep it all moving and remember that sometimes it may be best to NOT light the actors - light the backgrounds instead and use that for effect. With HD, you have a chance to break new ground in low light cinematographic terms. Test, test, test. Scout scout scout. Plan, plan plan.
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Metropolis Post

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Rig Wheels Passport

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Paralinx LLC

FJS International, LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Aerial Filmworks

The Slider

Abel Cine

Technodolly

rebotnix Technologies

Wooden Camera