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Old April 27th, 2004, 08:48 AM   #1
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fake a moving bus?

Hi all.

I have a problem.. A short I will be shooting will take place mainly on a bus, nightime.
I plan to stick alot of kinoflu on the cieling for realistic lightning and maybe some fill for close ups..

I can't have the bus moving though..for several reasons.. power, sound et.c. et.c

So how can I fake that the bus is moving?
Maybe by having "carlights" pass through the bus sometimes.. Maybe faking lampposts "passing by."??

How would you do this? What light and what other techniques would you use?

Any idea is appreciated!

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Old April 27th, 2004, 09:21 AM   #2
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Wow. I did this one time with a pickup truck, but a whole bus would require a really big studio. What I did was shoot the truck against a green screen (on a 40 X 60' cyc). The shot was of the driver, and you could see out the window, a piece of the windshield, and could also see a reflection in the outside mirrir. I made sure everything I could see looking outside the truck was green, including reflecting a piece of green in the mirror. Then I had a person rocking the truck slightly to create a little natural movement, as if the driver were actually driving. Finally, I went out to a road that ran east and west. I had keyed the driver from the front, so I needed to head west (since it was an afternoon shot) so the light on the cars going by would match. I did a handheld shot from a van at about driver height of cars going by. I also shot what the mirror would see, so we could resize that shot and key it in for the mirror part of the main shot.
I didn't think it would work very well, but it did, and everybody thought the truck was really on the road.
Overall, however, I would prefer to take it on the road for real. I can't remember why we couldn't then, but there was some issue that made the chroma key shooting necessary.

We've shot on busses while driving, day and night, and it's not all that difficult. You can run Kino Flos off batteries, and use wireless lavs. I don't know how you would make it look realistic without serious keying, and even in a big studio, that would be hard to do. It seems to me if your background is completely black, with fake lights going by, it will look too fake.
If your shot involves just a couple of passengers and you can isolate them so you only see out one or two windows, then you could maybe key that with just a small portable green screen.
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Old April 27th, 2004, 10:04 AM   #3
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Yeah I agree. Shot while moving would be the best but.. The bus is a bus they use as public transport in Brazil. They are old, shaky and extremely loud. I don't think it would work..
I was kind of hoping that shooting at night there would be lot's of reflexions in the windows and maybe you won't really see what's going on outside?
But you might be right.. it'll look too phoney..?
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Old April 27th, 2004, 10:33 AM   #4
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Don't know if this will help you or not, but the movie "Solaris" that was released last year had a bus scene similiar to what you are talking about. One of the 'extras' on the DVD was a short on how they staged the bus scene.

Panning lights across the outside window while gently rocking the bus to simulate movement may be your best bet unless you have the budget for a studio. Also, never underestimate the importance of good background sound to reinforce the visual cues in the scene.

Good luck

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Old April 27th, 2004, 10:51 AM   #5
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Sounds like a good tip.. I'll pick up the DVD and have a look.

More suggestions are very welcome.
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Old April 27th, 2004, 11:00 AM   #6
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I know that you can't shoot all of your shots on the movie bus, but I think it would be important to get a select few shots that showed what was going on outside of the window. They could be wide shots that didn't need any audio. I think if you blend in a few of these with the close-ups that are done in the stationary bus you will help people suspend their disbelief.
Barry Gribble
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Old April 27th, 2004, 11:37 AM   #7
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What Michael said is good.

If you can, find someone who will tow the bus while you're shooting. We do things like that all the time.
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Old April 27th, 2004, 11:58 AM   #8
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Crazy option....
Use programmable projector lights, (like those used in music concerts) to project images onto a screen outside the bus that pass by.

These lights are usually very bright, and when combined with a shallow depth of field and the reflections on the windows, might give you just the bit of extra detail needed for your wide shots. The light rig with an operator shouldn't cost more than $1000 for a night. Local level bands use low-end versions of this tracking lights all the time. Most 8 light rigs at this level, with operator run for only $200 per night ! Offering a "real movie credit" might help you find someone willing to do the gig for even less !!!

Then you can still use the portable greenscreen option for closeups.

Actually, come to think of it....
In addition to the above, get out there and shoot the scene all the way through a couple times with wide angle lens with the bus actually on the road. Sound be damned, you'll likely get enough shots to intercut with your greenscreen closeups and staged wide-angles to finishe selling the whole scene.

For the "live" wide angle shots, you won't be using any of the live audio (except that you should drive around in the bus for a while with an audio recorder to capture ambiant sound). You can use shots from this run that have no dialog, or simply lift dialog from studio shots.

Hope this helps.
Have fun.
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Old April 27th, 2004, 04:29 PM   #9
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Lots of good advice here! Thanks alot everybody.
If anybody van think of anything else..
please feel free!

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Old April 27th, 2004, 06:14 PM   #10
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Well, it's not a bus, but if you get the DVD for the movie "Frailty" there is a behind the scenes piece showing you how they shot all the car footage (a big part of the movie occurs in a moving car, with one character in the front and one in the back seat).

It was shot in a studio, with people rocking the car, and lights panning along with rain bars. Granted, rocking a bus wouldn't be the easiest thing to do...but I thought it might give you some ideas.

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Old April 27th, 2004, 07:13 PM   #11
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If your shots will all be from the interior, the job is a lot easier. Cover the windows (that will be in the shot) with green screen material (fabric is best) and then light the screen material from outside the bus with a low-level light. That will allow you to place real night footage, that you can take later, in the window.

To simulate bus motion and lights coming through the windows behind you, have some folks walk or drive down the back side of the bus. Or ask them to stand off a bit and sweep the bus with lights from time-to-time.
Mike Rehmus
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