Lighting car interior

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    • #36951

      I’m shooting an evening car dialogue sequence and I was wondering how to light the interior of the car.

    • #164005

      It seems to me there are 3 ways to do this:

      1. The quick and cheap way πŸ™‚ — Shoot it after sunset, but before it’s too dark to get good images. Have the car facing west, so the actors will get good illumination. If you’re shooting through the windshield, it will be reflecting a bright sky. So you would want a polarizer filter on the lens. (Circular polarizer if you have a 3-CCD camera.) Be sure any visible car headlights are turned on. Then in your editing program, add a faint blue cast, and make it slightly darker than normal.
      2. The wild and crazy way }:-) — Set up battery-powered lighting inside car to blast the actors with light, then head out into the night. (I hope I’m not on the road when you do this. 😯 )
      3. The hollywood way 8) — This could actually be a lot of fun if you have the time… and a couple production assistants. πŸ˜€ Shoot it with the car parked in a dark place. Have a well-lit green screen behind the rear window (or side window, depending on what direction the camera is aimed). Put a small light (25 ~ 40W) in front of each actor, right in front of the dashboard, but out of sight of the camera. Think of these as key lights. Then, have 3 or 4 small lights immediately in front of the car, low enough that they don’t cause reflections (if you’re shooting through the windshield). Think of these as fill lights. And now comes the fun part: Station one assistant on each side of the car, each armed with a light (40 ~ 100W, depending on how far away they are). Have them sweep the lights past the car, from front to back, to simulate having the car pass street lamps or other light sources. Shoot the actors in the car, going through their dialog. And, at another time, shoot video from a moving car, looking out the rear or side windows. This will be chroma-keyed in during post production.

      Hmmm… method 3 was probably more fun to write about than to actually do. πŸ˜‰

      Anyhow, choose a method and have fun!
      Ken Hull

    • #164006

      On method three, don’t forget to shake the car a little bit to make it look like it’s actually moving. Oh, and be sure to tell the actor ‘driving’ thathe needs to move the wheel a little bit too. πŸ™‚

    • #164007

      if the actors will be actually driving night-time, tape small kino flo tubes in places which give a nice fill to their faces. If tube lights appear too strong, just put more tape on them to tone the lights down

    • #164008

      You need enough light to get a decent picture, because the light is your tool. In order to make it look "eveningish", use more backlight and less front light. You may want to shoot it inside with low omni light, or outside in the night time. Use dramatic back light, but watch for a glare in the lense.

      Andrei, Shoot-It-Yourself Wedding Video Guide at

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