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Car Lighting [day and night]


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#1 Vivek Venkatraman

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Posted 03 January 2016 - 12:25 PM

Hello,

 

So I have a series of shots involving a car and I am a bit curious as to how you guys approach lighting such a scene.

 

DAY

 

1 - From my observations its best to shoot day scenes at early morning until 9 and evening [between 4 and 6]

 

Any other time and you have direct sun on the background causing a blow out, also this would mean augmenting the interiors with additional light [which also means more rigs ?] . This also feels a bit unnatural to me.

 

Also at evening or early morning I have noticed driving in the north south direction is good as is east west. But however what would you prefer ?

 

NIGHT

 

For night I have a variety of approaches

 

First of the road I have picked to shoot this scene gives an aperture of 1.4 or 1.8 to 1.0 at Iso 8000 by my light meter.

My canon 550d gives a decent image at 6400 iso at 2.8

The camera I will be shooting with is the Canon 1 D C [4k c-log]. I tested it at even 10,000 iso [ambient light of led pars in a wedding] and I was satisfied with the image although Shan Hulburt and others claim  you loose color detail after 4000 ISO [it seems that it basically records only 4 bit of data]

I even did a bit of grading on resolve and exported and there was no visible noise.

 

1 - Use the pre -existing light which is meant to indicate if your car door is locked or unlocked and shape and gel as per taste. 

 

2 - Use rosco light pads ? How do you use them ? just tape it to the top ?

 

3 - I am also having a couple of vehicles acting as moving lights around the car, [headlights bounced off the rearview mirror, vehicles passing from the opposite direction etc etc]

 

Any other fixtures or approaches that you recommend ?


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#2 David Landau

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Posted 03 January 2016 - 03:40 PM

Hello Vivek,

 

There are a number of lighting units that work well inside cars for both day and night. There are the Roco lite pads which come in a variety of sizes. there are the Cineo remote phosphor Matchsticks which are very bright and narrow. These are great small  units with exchangeable diffusers to change the color temp. There are the mini-kinoflos. BBS makes remote phosphor LEDs in a variety of lengths. RST makes 4ft remote phosphor tubes as well.  Almost all can be either powered off your cigarette lighter outlit or via battery. You can also get a converter that plugs into the cigarette lighter and has two standard Edison outlits on it, which is something we used a lot on Project Runway for car shots.  You can even to the poor man's version and buy an inexpensive "shop" fluorescent fixture, gel it with 1/2 minus green and 1/4 CTB,  lie it on the laps of the subjects in the front seat, and plug it into the converter.

 

The Stella is a new daylight, self-contained battery LED light that is very bright and small. They can be charged up and will last quite a while They are rather easy to rig into small places. They have attachments such as a fresnel front and a chinaball front. I just picked up three of these to play with and do tests with. At 10 feet at 800ISO they're reading 5.6 with the fresnel adapter. They come with snap in barndoors as well. Suction cups can easily be used with these units.

 

For daytime whatever lighting units you use inside should be for subtlety bringing up the face, and not look like the main source. For night time it should appear to be the light from the dashboard, so it would be the primary source.

 

Are you towing the car?  I had students who did a film with a lot of car interiors and they added a two bar and towed it. That makes it easier for the actors and for the crew.  Te actors don;t have to worry about safe driving and acting at the same time. You can shoot from the two vehicle, you can run sound cable from it, you can shine lights from the tow vehicle into the car, etc.  They also cut and put ND gel on the back window at times, so they could shoot anytime of day.


Edited by David Landau, 03 January 2016 - 03:43 PM.

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#3 David Landau

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Posted 04 January 2016 - 09:15 AM

Fast correction - the Stella lights I was using were the Stella 2000. They also make a Stella 1000 and a Stella 5000.  These are submersible units, so not only can they be used under water, but in rain or snow without fear of shortages or shocks.  I got them from Shadowstone lighting (www.shadowstone.com)


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