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lighting a car scene

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Patrick562
lighting a car scene
on Jul 3, 2007 at 1:00:45 pm

When lighting a car scene with the subjects in the car, is it best to light using freznels from the floor boards? Any other suggestions are welcome.



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Leo Ticheli
Re: lighting a car scene
on Jul 3, 2007 at 1:17:24 pm

Only if you're trying to say the car is occupied by monsters.

Lighting coming from below is often described as, "monster light."

You're tackling one of the most difficult lighting assignments. You're dealing with limited space, funny glass tints, and reflections.

My very best advice is to hire someone experienced and adept at this.

Think about the way people actually look in a car and then direct and shape the light to make that look better.

Fixtures are often mounted on the car using a car-mount kit and/or on stands on a process trailer. It's not easy, fast, or cheap.

Sorry there's no simple answer to a very difficult and complex assignment.

Good shooting and best regards,

Leo



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Leo Ticheli
Re: lighting a car scene - One more thing...
on Jul 3, 2007 at 1:21:48 pm

Shooting in a moving car, especially one with rigging, is extraordinarily dangerous.

You need cops and professional drivers on closed or tightly controlled streets.

Good shooting and best regards,

Leo



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john sharaf
Re: lighting a car scene
on Jul 3, 2007 at 1:26:28 pm

There is no "one" prescription for lighting a car scene. Obviously different technique would apply for day and night scenes. Depending on the lighting manifest, you'll need battery or generator power. Towing the car is often a requirement both for safety reasons (lights in the drivers eyes) and for proper camera position and to carry the power source for the lights.

"Fresnels from the floor boards" would be the last thing I'd think of, unless I was shooting a monster movie in a car. More often the lighting instruments are the type you can easily hide in small places like car interiors; kino flos, led's or even the new Rosco pad lites. Otherwise lighting units are sometimes mounted on suction cups or car mounts on the hood. Once the quality and style of lighting is established, then the units are moved each time the camera moves. Multiple cameras increases the complexity of the lighting and quite often car shots are now accomplished by process photography combining greenscreen and background plates matched in quality of lighting and movement to sell the composited effect.

It would probably be a good idea to study some car intensive movies to spark some ideas; one in particular that comes to mind is a Jim Jarmoush film that takes place in taxicabs all over the world (I forget the name, but I'm sure you could figure it out).

Be forewarned, shooting in a lit car is both difficult and dangerous and you should be properly prepared with insurance and skilled technicians to accomplish your objective.

JS



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john sharaf
Re: lighting a car scene
on Jul 3, 2007 at 1:29:26 pm

Leo and I did not collaberate on these answers; I was writing mine as he was posting his! Hi Leo.

JS


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Patrick562
Re: lighting a car scene
on Jul 3, 2007 at 1:38:45 pm

After I posted, I thought about a lot of those things and decided to do it with the car standing still, it's a quick scene and I don't think it would make a difference. But thanks for the "monster" comments it makes sense. I probably just have to play around with it for a while. Thanks.



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Dennis Size
Re: lighting a car scene
on Jul 4, 2007 at 1:55:11 am

Nightime/Daytime???
Moving/stationary???
Environment/background ???
Bright upbeat/dark, omnious, dramatic???
Front Seat AND backseat???
What type of car???
How many people in the car???
What kind of car (convertible/hardtop)???
How many cameras???
Budget???????????????????????????????????


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Patrick562
Re: lighting a car scene
on Jul 4, 2007 at 2:11:58 pm

Daytime. Stationary. Driveway/Parking lot. Upbeat humorous. Front and Backseat with two different cameras. Probably a sedan/hardtop. Don't have any money I work at TV station. This a promotional shoot where I'd like to make it look like the cameras are in the car but I'm not sure if I can work that out in the time frame I have (short on time). Thanks for you interest. I know it's not much to work with but I come against stuff like this all the time and they (the bosses) expect cinematic quality shooting and lighting with a 3 light kit.



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Dennis Size
Re: lighting a car scene
on Jul 4, 2007 at 2:32:26 pm

There's a dozen ways to do it, but none at your disposal.
My initial reaction is to tell you what I'd tell any client....."forget it, it's going to look like crap and I won't be involved".

That being said, you're doing it anyway. So bend the limitations to work in your favor.
Get a convertible. Place the car where it works best to shoot in natural light, or get an overhead silk and use your light kit to fill in.
If I were stuck with a hardtop I'd rent 3 Mini Kino Kits, or 3 MiniPlus Litepanel Kits, and mount them on the dashboard and to the back of the front seat. They would fill in your faces nicely.
I would key the talent with a half dozen variable focus Source 4 lekos on stands, equipped with Rosco spring branch gobos, and a slight color correction. I'd place the lekos as needed around the car based on my camera angles, knowing I'd be fighting the angle of incidence = the angle of reflection law. Remember also that the cameras can only shoot through the relatively small opening provided by the open window ....and some light must focus through there also.
You can light through the front window but you'll be fighting tinted window glass -- which will make for ugly skin tones (hence the dashboard front fill).

Get a convertible.



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Patrick562
Re: lighting a car scene
on Jul 4, 2007 at 2:43:32 pm

Thanks a lot... I think a convertible can be arranged that sounds like my best option, thanks for the tips, after reading that I understand why they call you guys the lighting pros. Happy 4th.



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John Fishback
Re: lighting a car scene
on Jul 7, 2007 at 2:09:21 am

We were about to shoot a training program with the spokesperson seated in a car. All the scenes but one were stationary. However, as we approached the shoot day, it was clear the weather wasn't going to cooperate. We ended up shooting against a green screen in a large garage. For the one scene supposed to be in motion, we matted in motion footage (shot separately), and a little judicious rocking of the car while shooting that scene, added just the right sense of reality.

John

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Patrick562
Re: lighting a car scene
on Jul 7, 2007 at 11:05:45 am

That's a good idea I had thought about that early on I might re-visit that. Thanks.


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