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A tough situation


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#1 Padraig Conaty

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 01:40 PM

Hey guys.
We have a scene coming up where a car speeds through a police check point (on a country road) and turns off its lights to avoid being recognised. As it speeds away I want to get a couple of shots; the cars pov and close ups of the passengers and driver. its just that in the reality of the situation, there should be no source of light!!

Now we are on a very tight budget, so lighting a whole stretch road is kind of out of the question. As i said its on a country road so there is no street lighting. Motivation would come from the car lights in the scene leading up to the checkpoint, then the blue lights of the checkpoint and police car, before we go into complete darkness. Basically what im trying to show is the ballsyness/insanity of the driver by taking it upon himself to race on without his car lights at night. Its based on a story i heard about such an occurence.

So im wondering if anyone had any advice on how to light it, or how to cover it that i can cheet it. Im thinking day for night would obviously be too jarring of a difference between the car lit night look and suddenly your in day for night. On the other hand, if it was used right it might lend an eerie mood to the scene. I was thinking of maybe pulling the sound to add to it, just for those few seconds.

Anyone have any advice or ideas on how to pull this off.

Thanks very much.
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#2 Justin W. King

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 01:37 AM

Hey guys.
We have a scene coming up where a car speeds through a police check point (on a country road) and turns off its lights to avoid being recognised. As it speeds away I want to get a couple of shots; the cars pov and close ups of the passengers and driver. its just that in the reality of the situation, there should be no source of light!!

Now we are on a very tight budget, so lighting a whole stretch road is kind of out of the question. As i said its on a country road so there is no street lighting. Motivation would come from the car lights in the scene leading up to the checkpoint, then the blue lights of the checkpoint and police car, before we go into complete darkness. Basically what im trying to show is the ballsyness/insanity of the driver by taking it upon himself to race on without his car lights at night. Its based on a story i heard about such an occurence.

So im wondering if anyone had any advice on how to light it, or how to cover it that i can cheet it. Im thinking day for night would obviously be too jarring of a difference between the car lit night look and suddenly your in day for night. On the other hand, if it was used right it might lend an eerie mood to the scene. I was thinking of maybe pulling the sound to add to it, just for those few seconds.

Anyone have any advice or ideas on how to pull this off.

Thanks very much.


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#3 Justin W. King

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 01:40 AM

I wonder if there is anyway that you can do the entire scene day for night, that way you wouldn't have to deal with the jaring effect of switching. Or you could be like Godard in "Band A Parte" and ignore the visual indications of night and day completely. Although I have a strong feeling that this is not really a good option for you so I would see if you could do the entire sequence day for night.
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#4 Kieran Fowler

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 06:14 AM

Have you thought about doing the sequence at dusk & making it a dusk for night feel?

You would need to be fairly well planned out and maybe even multi camera shoot or stretch it over a couple of days depending on the complexity. You would be get the car headlights effect at the beginning of the sequence as well.
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#5 Matt Read

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 06:37 PM

For the POV where you see the whole road, to get the most realistic night look without using any lights, I'd suggest you shoot during the magic hour and darken it in post if desired. You'll have a small window of time right after the sun goes down where the sky will provide enough illumination to get an exposure (assuming a fast ISO), but won't be overwhelmingly bright and scream "DAY!" If needed, you'll be able to match this footage to the footage from the rest of the scene, which could actually be shot at night.

As for the interior shots, you can use the dashboard display to motivate a light on the occupants. Another option would be to shot the interiors using the poor man's process (since it's supposed to be pitch black outside you wouldn't need to create any background) and have a big soft source outside the car provide illumination for the interior.
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#6 Padraig Conaty

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 10:41 AM

Thanks guys, some good advice there. Will be testing the dusk option this weekend.

Also hadnt thought about the option of the 'poor mans process' seeing as there shouldnt be anything in the background.

Another trick i was thinking about was maybe having an oncoming car with its headlights on, it might emphasize the danger of the moment, though it might dilute the idea a bit just by adding more elements to the scene.

Again, some tests are the best way to find out which route to take, so thanks for the advice, Il come back with a report on our results.

Thanks again
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Visual Products

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