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Car Shoot Inspiration

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Paul Thomson
Car Shoot Inspiration
on Oct 2, 2011 at 7:35:48 pm

Hi All,

I'm shooting a sequence in a vehicle. I've already decided to shoot this against a green screen. I'm really looking for some inspiration for my shots - i.e. camera positioning.

My vehicle is an MPV with 4 people in it and it will be a night sequences approx 5 minutes in length. I've been influenced by Pulp Fiction and Collateral in particular and wondered if anyone has any car sequences that they love and would like to share?

Thanks for any pointers,

Paul


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Angelo Lorenzo
Re: Car Shoot Inspiration
on Oct 3, 2011 at 9:32:02 am

I would have to say the car sequence in the first portion of 2006's "The Killing of John Lennon" is one of my favorites, photography-wise. It's insanely impractical to re-create with green screen, but consider that example and collateral when playing with reflections as part of story telling. I would assume this car is modified as glassless so there may be heavy post on these types of shots.

I would say look at the script and choose your line of action accordingly. If you need to break the line, try a round dolly move; take advantage of the green screen.

Chances are a 4 person scene is going to play flat, interaction-wise. Shoot profile a bit more, make the actors in the front really crank their body and neck to the back seat. Look at Reservoir Dogs for an example.

As a note to your director: most driving in a car and talking scenes SUCK. Make sure to have some kind of physical action/character interaction in the scene to keep your characters motivated.

- Angelo Lorenzo
- http://FilmsFor.Us Sell your film and connect with your audience


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Paul Thomson
Re: Car Shoot Inspiration
on Oct 3, 2011 at 2:25:40 pm

Hi Angelo,

Thanks for the feedback. That is extremely useful stuff. I especially will be taking note of your final comment about in-car talking scenes. You are so right - they do suck!

Thanks again,

Paul


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Jason Jenkins
Re: Car Shoot Inspiration
on Oct 3, 2011 at 4:18:18 pm

On the technical side, you should check out Andrew Kramer's recent video on the subject:





Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!


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Mark Suszko
Re: Car Shoot Inspiration
on Oct 3, 2011 at 6:06:26 pm

Depending on the camerawork and the space you have to work in, you may be able to shoot this without green screen at all. Just grips swishing lights around, and low-level motivated sources inside the car, combined with low and high angles that avoid the windows, you have it. For realism the interior at night *should* be poorly lit-looking, just enough to make out the key facial expressions, the eyes and mouths. If you turn on something like a dome light inside a car at night, the exterior windows turn into mirrors of the interior, for the most part.

Another way to go might be to tow the car and just clamp a couple of go pros around the interior. You know all you action will match. I'm not talking about a process trailer, just a flatbed tow truck or the uhaul front end car dolly.


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Paul Thomson
Re: Car Shoot Inspiration
on Oct 5, 2011 at 9:43:06 am

Hi Mark,

The idea of avoiding the windows hadn't even crossed my mind. I'm going to do some tests over the weekend if I get a chance.

Thanks - that gives me another option to consider.

What a great forum :)

Regards,

Paul


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Paul Thomson
Re: Car Shoot Inspiration
on Oct 5, 2011 at 9:41:04 am

Hi Jason,

Thanks, that's a very useful article.

Cheers,

Paul


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John Fishback
Re: Car Shoot Inspiration
on Oct 6, 2011 at 9:33:21 pm

One thing I've found that helps sell the composite is to be sure to have subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) motion imparted to the actors in the car. We've done that with a couple of grips shaking/jogging the car on the stage while the actors are inside. Another thing is to shoot the background plates before the greenscreen scene. Then, you can have the actors lean slightly one way or the other so their physical action is in sync with the background plate. That way, you avoid seeing a turn in the plate, but no one in the car reacts properly. Also, when compositing, think about moving reflections of branches/leaves/light poles/etc. across the surfaces of the car that may be seen.

John

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