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Old November 8th, 2006, 11:55 AM   #1
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Shooting a car scene

Hi,

Just had a quick question, I'm planning on shooting a car scene in which the driver and the passenger upfront are in a conversation with each other. Now the car is naturally moving as both characters are talking and the scene is made in way that the two characters are seen from upfront. Using the JVC HD250U what is the best and safest mount out there that one can place on the front top hood of the car?

Putting in mind a mount that is able to support the Mini35 and or one with regular lens... And what's the best solution for capturing the sound without showing any microphone wires dangling from the car windows?

Cheers...
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Old November 8th, 2006, 12:06 PM   #2
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You should really be asking a key grip. There are a few different types of car-mount rigs (suction cup and strap-on,) but hiring an experienced grip for this sort of setup would be the best idea.
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Old November 8th, 2006, 12:16 PM   #3
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Thanks Tim for getting back! Sadly though in my area we don't have a lot of people experienced in this type of setting, so I need to do everything all by myself and crew!
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Old November 8th, 2006, 12:18 PM   #4
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Audio will also be a problem. There are 2 solutions:

1) a shotgun condenser in their lap, pointing to their face
2) a lavalier

both will still pick up a lot of car sound. Anyway, Keep the speed down, that should work best...
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Old November 8th, 2006, 12:53 PM   #5
 
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I can't find the reference, but, Douglas Spotted Eagle wrote a paper on doing voice overs in the sound booth. This seems the perfect place to use that approach.
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Old November 8th, 2006, 01:10 PM   #6
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Quite a few years ago we made a beam style bonnet mount using 4" x 2" timber for a low budget 16mm film. It had rubber pads underneath and metal hooks that attached under the wheel arches with screw thread stud bars that pulled the beam tight to the car - you could shake the whole car with the mount. You could use speed rail instead of wood. If you don't have a grip, get a competent engineer to built it.

We usually put the sound recordist in the boot (trunk) and used lavalier type mics. If they're in the rear passenger area there's always the risk they'll be in shot. You also could rig shotgun mic using magic arms.
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Old November 8th, 2006, 03:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Ravens
I can't find the reference, but, Douglas Spotted Eagle wrote a paper on doing voice overs in the sound booth. This seems the perfect place to use that approach.
That would be an option, but only if you like the effect of voice dubbing. No matter on how big a budget it is done, I can always spot it and it never looks/sounds natural... (imho)
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Old November 8th, 2006, 05:00 PM   #8
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You should be able to get pretty good sound as long as the vehicle (assuming it isn't a van) hasn't a noisy engine - keep the revs down and close the windows. You'll also need a clean car atmos track to cover the variations in background levels between the cuts.
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Old November 8th, 2006, 05:16 PM   #9
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a 4 suction cup stickypod would be fine. simplest way to do the audio is with a radio system. failing that make up an xlr extension with very thin (3mm ish) cable that will squeeze between the door and body when shut.

The HD-250 is rather a long camera to fit on the sticky pod standard mount - however it is possible to fit a proper head. Depending on the vehicle suspension this may or may not be stable enough. Have a look at the pictures on my site for a closer look. http://www.earsmedia.co.uk/services.html If you look at some other pages you'll see that in some cases, webbing straps can simply be added to give better stability. These easily fit under the bonnet (hood) and are tensioned on the top - most decent auto shops sell these as load straps. The suction cups have proven very secure, but the straps add an other level of security and stability. One thing - the wide angle on the JVC is not that wide. are you sure you can get a 2 shot?
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Old November 9th, 2006, 04:37 AM   #10
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Also you can try with a green or blue screen effect. You'll have not problems with sound then, and it's less "dangerous" for the camera.

http://www.videocopilot.net/seriousfx.html

There is a cool tutorial about it.
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Old November 9th, 2006, 06:50 AM   #11
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Thanks everyone for all the info it really helped me a lot! And another big thanks to Jordi Dusanek for that wonderful site, I think I'm going to purchase a bunch of programs and DVDs from it!

Cheers,

Hamad
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Old November 9th, 2006, 09:27 AM   #12
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cinekinetic

You can also try the cinesaddle by cinecinetik from Australia. You place a piece of timber sitting on the windows and you use the cinesaddle in any position that you can/want. It also has a simple system to use it as a car mount if you want to fix it at the front of the car. The cinesaddle could be a good solution for a low budget project and a lighweight camera as the JVC.
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Old November 9th, 2006, 09:49 AM   #13
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Hamad,

If you have access to a pick-up truck (and someone to drive it) I would recommend towing the the car that your characters are driving, and shooting on a tripod - weighted w/sandbags - from the bed of the pickup. You can record sound with 2 wireless lavs, and the sound will be reduced since the engine of their car is not running... and all the actor in the drivers seat has to do is turn the wheel.

Still though, Tim is right. To get this right you need some crew. If you want to shoot alone try this: 1. Pull the the passenger seat character out and shoot a POV of the Driver for the whole scene 2. Get in the back seat. Get the driver to push his seat as far forward as possible, shoot a single of the passenger from behind the drivers seat. 3. Figure out when, during the drive, the car may be stopped at a light (or sign or whatever) and get your front windshield shot. 4. Get in middle of the back seat (or if its an SUV get in the trunk area and get a two shot of the passenger and driver from behind) . 5. And then pick up a bunch a shots of the exterior of the car passing by.
I have used this method to film a dialogue between a passenger and driver in a Ford Explorer, and when its all cut together it looks fine. I was flipping through the channells last night, and saw that they used the same tactic on NBC's "Friday Night Lights" - no car mount, no trailer rig, or anything - just a litting clever cutting, and you get the point across.
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Old November 10th, 2006, 09:21 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Chace
Hamad,

If you have access to a pick-up truck (and someone to drive it) I would recommend towing the the car that your characters are driving, and shooting on a tripod - weighted w/sandbags - from the bed of the pickup. You can record sound with 2 wireless lavs, and the sound will be reduced since the engine of their car is not running... and all the actor in the drivers seat has to do is turn the wheel.

Still though, Tim is right. To get this right you need some crew. If you want to shoot alone try this: 1. Pull the the passenger seat character out and shoot a POV of the Driver for the whole scene 2. Get in the back seat. Get the driver to push his seat as far forward as possible, shoot a single of the passenger from behind the drivers seat. 3. Figure out when, during the drive, the car may be stopped at a light (or sign or whatever) and get your front windshield shot. 4. Get in middle of the back seat (or if its an SUV get in the trunk area and get a two shot of the passenger and driver from behind) . 5. And then pick up a bunch a shots of the exterior of the car passing by.
I have used this method to film a dialogue between a passenger and driver in a Ford Explorer, and when its all cut together it looks fine. I was flipping through the channells last night, and saw that they used the same tactic on NBC's "Friday Night Lights" - no car mount, no trailer rig, or anything - just a litting clever cutting, and you get the point across.
Ben is quite right: I've shot 1 car scene exactly that way (about 3 years ago) with a canon XL1 with the 3x wide lens. In shooting from inside the car you'll need a wider angle then the standard 16x on the JVC though - unless you're shooting inside a huge SUV or something - and even then...

The good thing is you don't need to let your actor drive all that fast. Driving at about 30-50 km/h looks a lot faster on the footage. Also, if they're driving a manual gearbox: high gear and low revs are best for sound - obviously. Too low revvs will make the car go louder and unstable, you don't want that either.

By the way - I shot it that way in a Proton 413 glsi - I don't know whether the brand still exists, but it goes to show you don't need enormous cars...
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