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Lighting & Motion Simulation in Car


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#1 Tom E. Pinkerton

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 02:39 AM

Folks,

Here's the situation: We've got a scene taking place in a moving car at night. One actor, obviously the driver. Driving on a road that's supposed to be fairly dark with only minor oncoming traffic. No rain or other adverse weather conditions. We need to shoot him from the front, through the windshield, and from the side as if looking from the passenger's seat.

We are, as most newbies are, extremely limited in our budget. We are filming on a Canon XL-1 camera. For the majority of our shots, we have been lighting using regular and daylight-balanced photofloods. Not the best thing out there, but they've served our needs well in most cases. Except here, where they are obviously way too bright for the scene's needs.

We obviously don't have the money to use a tow car, so this has to be shot with the car sitting still while giving the illusion of it being in motion. This particular car has no sunroof or other unusual features. Well, except one. It's a Scion xA, and it's instrument panel is in the center of the dashboard rather than on the driver's side, so the light would logically be coming from a slightly different direction. But, to be honest, the instrument panel is not even seen in the scene, so that won't even be noticed.

The two problems we have to solve are, obviously, how to light the scene and how to effectively give the illusion of movement.

Thus far, we have tried using china balls, as well as simply using a small 40-watt bulb placed in the instrument panel area. The former just didn't look right. The latter seemed to work pretty well, actually, and I think we could get away with it, but the lighting on the actor's face was honestly a bit too much for what would be coming from the dash (i.e. the whole face was lighted evenly).

As for simulating motion, we tried some simple techniques of rocking the car, using Mag lights to simulate passing headlights, and having another car positioned behind this car to have the sight of headlights through the rear window. But none of these were effective, at least not how we did them. They all looked like we were, well, trying to fake motion from a car that was sitting still.

So, I'm looking for any and all suggestions on where we should go from here, both in lighting the scene and in filming it in such a way that it looks like the car is in motion.

Thanks in advance for your help!

=Tom=
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#2 Luke Prendergast

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 03:57 AM

Search the archives for 'poor man's process'
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#3 Dimitrios Koukas

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 07:03 AM

Folks,

Here's the situation: We've got a scene taking place in a moving car at night. One actor, obviously the driver. Driving on a road that's supposed to be fairly dark with only minor oncoming traffic. No rain or other adverse weather conditions. We need to shoot him from the front, through the windshield, and from the side as if looking from the passenger's seat.

We are, as most newbies are, extremely limited in our budget. We are filming on a Canon XL-1 camera. For the majority of our shots, we have been lighting using regular and daylight-balanced photofloods. Not the best thing out there, but they've served our needs well in most cases. Except here, where they are obviously way too bright for the scene's needs.

We obviously don't have the money to use a tow car, so this has to be shot with the car sitting still while giving the illusion of it being in motion. This particular car has no sunroof or other unusual features. Well, except one. It's a Scion xA, and it's instrument panel is in the center of the dashboard rather than on the driver's side, so the light would logically be coming from a slightly different direction. But, to be honest, the instrument panel is not even seen in the scene, so that won't even be noticed.

The two problems we have to solve are, obviously, how to light the scene and how to effectively give the illusion of movement.

Thus far, we have tried using china balls, as well as simply using a small 40-watt bulb placed in the instrument panel area. The former just didn't look right. The latter seemed to work pretty well, actually, and I think we could get away with it, but the lighting on the actor's face was honestly a bit too much for what would be coming from the dash (i.e. the whole face was lighted evenly).

As for simulating motion, we tried some simple techniques of rocking the car, using Mag lights to simulate passing headlights, and having another car positioned behind this car to have the sight of headlights through the rear window. But none of these were effective, at least not how we did them. They all looked like we were, well, trying to fake motion from a car that was sitting still.

So, I'm looking for any and all suggestions on where we should go from here, both in lighting the scene and in filming it in such a way that it looks like the car is in motion.

Thanks in advance for your help!

=Tom=


Hello,
Are u using a studio?Or you want to simulate this outside in the street with the car parked somewhere?
For the side shot I would used some blurred brojection, in the far background,(you can easily shoot some footage and project it on a surface, canon will not have a problem neither u will need a powerfull projecor.
As for the rest of lighting try the poorman's proccess posts as mentioned.
Dimitrios Koukas
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 12:21 PM

I don't see whay some people think that small lights like photofloods are "too bright" for DV. Surely how bright it looks is a matter of exposure? You could underexpose them until they looked really dim. You can underexpose SUNLIGHT until it looks like dim moonlight, so surely you can do the same for something lit by a photoflood!

Doing poor man's work first depends on what type of lighting scenario you are simulating -- driving down a busy city road, driving down a country lane with streetlamps and a few passing cars, driving down a road with no streetlamps and no passing cars, in moonlight, etc.

If you're only driving in moonlight, then the only movement would be passing tree branches crossing the moon, which would be fairly static. Also, most of the light would probably eminate from the dashboard, maybe the bounce of the headlights off of the road, but you could take some licence and have the moonlight be the key light. This is a scenario though where a pitch-black background is a little unrealistic because the same moonlight should be lighting the landscape -- you'd almost want to try shooting some dusk or day-for-night plates and projecting them as backgrounds (keep them dark.)

Maybe as a reference, you should take your Canon (with the gain boosted WAY up) or a digital still camera and shoot some real shots of someone driving down a dark road just to see what sort of lighting effects you'll want to recreate later.

Edited by David Mullen, 09 November 2005 - 12:22 PM.

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Broadcast Solutions Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

The Slider

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