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Car Chase Lighting for Night

night car lighting chase camera ext. film scene process trailer

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#1 Kenny Keeler

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 12:48 PM

Tunnels on 110.jpg Hey guys,

 

So as most of these post start out, my budget is slim to none. Now that that aspect is out there. Im DPing a short that takes place in a car at night. the two characters in the car are being followed because of something they have and they are trying to get away from whoever is following them. Thats where the "chase" aspect comes into play. Its no James Bond chase scene but need to feel like they are trying to ditch the car following them.

 

The short is only 5 mins long and will take place half in urban/city area but they head to a more deserted beach area. The picture attcahed is the tunnels location we will shoot EXT shots of the cars driving out of the city. So for all the shots of the two actors in the hero car we would have to mimic the lighting to match what our location offers, multiple sodium vapor lights overhead.

 

 

 

My biggest question is how I could go about shooting this section of the film to achieve the following...

 

1. See the actual tunnel when we have shots looking out windows (rear window, side windows, and front windows)

2. Match the lighting of the tunnel as they pass through.

 

Theres the green screen option where we could shoot the scene. Then take those camera setting (lens, focal length, height etc) and then shoot plates. I feel there is alot of room for error with this option

 

We rent a car trailer from uhaul and rig everything and shoot it practically that way. (cant afford a process trailer) Only issue here is the budget is so small i dont think they could get the permits for such a thing, feel like they could get in trouble having actors in a car on a trailer without proper permission, permits, police escorts, etc

 

Lastly we have the actors actually drive the car through this area rig cameras to the car and have them drive safe and we sell the chase part in the edit. Sounds the easiest but biggest worry is safety.

 

There are alot of factors with shooting car stuff. I appreciate you guys taking the time to read this and help out!! 

 

Cheers!!

 


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 01:17 PM

I don't see how you can shoot an exterior shot of the car going through that tunnel but fake the interior against black using poor man's process, you'd expect to see that same tunnel going by the side windows or receding in the rear windows.

 

But you certainly shouldn't shoot a car chase with a tow rig & cameras in a tunnel without permits -- for one thing, that's the northbound 110 transition to the 5 Freeway in your photo, coming out of downtown.


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#3 Kenny Keeler

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 01:59 PM

I don't see how you can shoot an exterior shot of the car going through that tunnel but fake the interior against black using poor man's process, you'd expect to see that same tunnel going by the side windows or receding in the rear windows.

 

But you certainly shouldn't shoot a car chase with a tow rig & cameras in a tunnel without permits -- for one thing, that's the northbound 110 transition to the 5 Freeway in your photo, coming out of downtown.

 

Hey David!

 

Thanks for your response! I agree completely we would see that tunnel no matter where we looked. We are doing the poor mans process for the scenes that take place in the middle of no where. Where black is acceptable and use lights to fake a car passing them here and there. Chase scene sounds daunting its more these guys are being followed so they are trying figure out what to do.

 

Good eye! It is the 110 transition. Its a cool area with a great look don't get me wrong i would love to shoot this the correct way with a process trailer. However It is an extremely busy freeway and I have told production I wont do the project if they are not willing to get proper permits if a process trailer is the way they want to go.  Im pushing toward the green screen aspect or finding a completely new location that is more achievable for their budget. 

 

If I were to do green screen whats the best way to go about making sure the plates are shot correctly? I feel shooting the scene first and recording camera info for each shot is best then going out and taking those same settings Height, focal length, focus distance, etc and shooting the backplates. In my head this seems do able but i know i have alot of room for error. Any advice when shooting car green screen David.


Edited by Kenny Keeler, 05 August 2015 - 02:05 PM.

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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 02:50 PM

If they are just plates to be seen out of a window they can be shot wider-angle and cropped to match the interior focal length, especially if you shoot on a camera with more resolution like a 5K Epic. But you can even shoot HD if those views are going to be thrown into soft focus by the compositor. Or you can try rear projection like I just did last week (see my thread "current project").

If the actors are just going to be driving safely then you could just mount something small like a Sony A7S to the hood and shoot in available light... I just can't see doing a tow rig without permits, it's too obvious.
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#5 Kenny Keeler

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Posted 06 August 2015 - 02:53 PM

If they are just plates to be seen out of a window they can be shot wider-angle and cropped to match the interior focal length, especially if you shoot on a camera with more resolution like a 5K Epic. But you can even shoot HD if those views are going to be thrown into soft focus by the compositor. Or you can try rear projection like I just did last week (see my thread "current project").
If the actors are just going to be driving safely then you could just mount something small like a Sony A7S to the hood and shoot in available light... I just can't see doing a tow rig without permits, it's too obvious.


True! It makes sense having the plates wider so you have a little more room based on the shots composition. I just read your thread "current project" one I love the idea for the film staying true to the hard light film era of the 40s and 50s the screen shots looked great. I would love to see this film when it's complete.

The rear projection you did looked great! It fit the theme of the film and was very believeable. What was your biggest challenge with the rear projection. I know with you shooting low ASA film you had to get to atleast a 2.8 was the screen bright enough?

I think we are going more toward the small cameras like the A7s rigged on the car itself and having the actors drive safely following speed limits and staying in the lanes. The idea originally was to sell the chase aspect in the edit. Having a shot of head lights in the rear view mirror and the side mirrors and then showing the passenger looking back toward the rear window etc. We have controlled ext shots permits to have cars passing camera to add more variety and have ext. car shot to sell the chase effect in a different locations. But I have access to an A7s and would like to utilize the low light capabilities. I know when shooting S Log the native ISO is 3200 which works in our favor for the scenes in the tunnel staying minimal. I do however have a question for exposing correctly with S Log. So when shooting say on a 5D with cinestyle I would light to the neutral color profile then switch to cine style when we roll. Is it the similar process with the A7s. Like with the RED or Alexa I have the luxury of shooting a flat profile but lighting to rec 709 or anothe LUT.

Thanks again for all of the advice!
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 August 2015 - 04:09 PM

With a 15,000 lumens projector filling a 12' wide screen, I had a T/2.0 at 160 ASA, so that would be at T/2.8 at 320 ASA or T/4.0 at 640 ASA, which is fine for modern digital cameras.
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#7 Kenny Keeler

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Posted 02 February 2016 - 12:40 AM

So I know its been a few months since the last post about this project but, Principle Photography is complete! Took a while as me and a director buddy worked on pre production in between gigs and any free time we had while working full time on a show. 

 

Any who, We chose to shoot the project on the Sony AS7 because it is small discrete, and for the power it has in low light. We had no budget and limited access to a lighting package. Basically 2) 1x1 Astras, Hybrid Lite Ribbon, Suction cup camera rig and the moon was all we had for this shoot.

 

We thought of many ways we could pull off this short yet complicated script with the resources we had. We decided to use available light and used a small suction cup rigged on a car. All driving shots were following the speed limit and we had a buddy of mine who is a stunt driver do the driving for the EXT. car shots. To sell the chase aspect of our film we figured fast editing, B-roll/inserts and acting would sell the rest. 

 

I would say one of the biggest challenges I had on the shoot was how limited I was to moving the camera around for the INT. Car scenes. Unlike shooting with a process trailer my actors had to drive still so I couldn't get certain angels Due to the windows having to be up for sound and most importantly giving my driver a clear view so he could drive safely. Another challenge was actually shooting the EXT. car shots it was very tricky as well.

 

Because we just finished principle I don't have a cut yet, but I do have screen grabs and will post the final product when its done. (the screen grabs are not color graded.)

 

7A_2.02_53_28_10.Still001.jpg

 

V_001.00_00_09_20.Still002.jpg

 

V_001.00_00_13_18.Still004.jpg

 

9M_2.02_35_33_04.Still001.jpg

 

V_001.00_00_11_16.Still003.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 February 2016 - 01:01 AM

I like the available light look, there are some interesting images there.


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#9 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 02 February 2016 - 01:07 AM

Any info on the camera ISO settings?


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#10 Jon Kline

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Posted 02 February 2016 - 02:53 PM

Really nice look! Did you have many rolling shutter issues on the A7s?
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#11 Miguel Angel

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Posted 02 February 2016 - 04:09 PM

I love the two "moon" exteriors the most.

They look absolutely amazing!
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#12 Kenny Keeler

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Posted 03 February 2016 - 03:03 AM

I like the available light look, there are some interesting images there.

Thanks David! I was really happy with the available light from the city too. I was not 100% sure what it was going to give me.

 

Any info on the camera ISO settings?

Stuart, most of the inner city car shots were shot at 12,000 ISO (EXT car) and 20,000 ISO (INT. car) The EXT. "moonlight" was shot at 50,000 ISO and the one wide establishing shot of the car driving up was shot at 128,000 ISO. There is noticeable grain in that shot but even with basic grain reduction I did with the Neat Video plug in it looks impressive for that high of an ISO

 

 

Really nice look! Did you have many rolling shutter issues on the A7s?

Thanks Jon! I did not have any big issues with it on this shoot. There is some rolling shutter with that camera if you do a fast whip pan etc. But overall with the driving footage we didn't notice any. 

 

 

 

 


Edited by Kenny Keeler, 03 February 2016 - 03:04 AM.

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#13 Kenny Keeler

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Posted 03 February 2016 - 03:11 AM

I love the two "moon" exteriors the most.

They look absolutely amazing!

 Thanks Miguel! Most of that scene is lit with moonlight and a 1x1 light panel with double 216 to bring up the actors a little. I did not post any but there are some shots from that scene that have car headlights and running light spill, which add really nice kicks that break up the moonlight look with some warmer tones. 


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#14 Guillaume Cottin

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 05:51 PM

I really like the rough look, it has a dirty feel to it that seems very well suited to the subject matter. Embracing the digital grain works great. It is a perfect use case of the A7S.


Edited by Guillaume Cottin, 10 February 2016 - 05:51 PM.

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#15 Kenny Keeler

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 02:08 PM

I really like the rough look, it has a dirty feel to it that seems very well suited to the subject matter. Embracing the digital grain works great. It is a perfect use case of the A7S.

Thanks! In Pre-production I planned on doing a slight bit of noise reduction but, to be honest I agree with you and after watching all the dailies I really do like the look it gave!


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