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Old November 27th, 2005, 06:41 AM   #1
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Filming in a Car

Does anyone have any good ideas for filming in a car.

The scene is quite an extensive conversation, and I don't want to film while the car is moving, the actor playing the driver will probably be able to drive, but its a uni project and I wouldn't be able to pass the health and safety regulations if the actor was expected to act while driving.

I'm thinking along the lines of rear projection (the film has a semi animated tone anyway, so I wouldn't mind doing that sort of thing.)

I dont have a projector to do that though, so it wouldnt be easy/possible.

I've thought about green screen. putting green screen around the car (or film in a green screen studio (which may be possible)) then compositing the footage with raw footage taken from out the back and sides of car. However that sounds hard work for 1. and also i'd have to film from something that had no sides (the back of a flatbed or something) otherwise the car body may get in the way.

Are there any techniques i'm overlooking?


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Old November 27th, 2005, 06:49 AM   #2
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Green screen would be your best option.
It's not difficult to shoot the background "plates" either. Just stick the camera out the window or the trunk of the car - you can devise some way to steady it I'm sure...
It would be a good idea to note the focal length and focus of the interior shots as well, so when you come to shoot the backgrounds, the perspective will match your interior material.

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Old November 27th, 2005, 07:25 AM   #3
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Thanks Robin.

If it's possible to get the car into the tv studio (greenscreen room) at uni then that'll halp, but ive got a feeling theres no door directly to outside.

But its just occurred to me that I only need a green screen to go behind the specific side of the car where I'm shooting.

Thanks for pointing out the focul length etc, that's something I hadnt thought of in these early stages of planning, so ill remember that. Although if they are 'plates' then I could film them in perfect focus and then adjust that quite easily in post. (might help to give a good depth of field too)

It should be fun waving some lights past the window and all that good stuff.

If anyone else has any tips for this I welcome them.

(do you recommend filming the plates first? then timing the intermittent lighting to fit that exactly?)


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Old November 28th, 2005, 08:49 AM   #4
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Hiring a tow truck for a little time to pull the car around could be a less post-intesive option.
Most truck rental places like U-Haul and Ryder have auto-towing packages designed for pulling cars too. Rent the truck and towing package and you have a platform for shooting head-on exterior shots while the car "drives" as well.
Nick Jushchyshyn Matchmoving, Compositing, TD
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Old November 30th, 2005, 09:17 PM   #5
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I recently finished a very similar scenario. I wanted a certain look for the shots, but shooting on the road while driving had it's own set of issues. I decided to shoot everything in the studio with a projection. In the scene linked below, I wrapped the sides and back of the car in white sheets and threw a few thousand watts of halogen to blow out the windows. In the front window, I dropped a white screen on the hood and projected a video of driving down the road. We had two people shaking the car and i was very loose with holding my camera. I think this added to the effect nicely. I also set my shutter pretty fast, like 1/2000th.

In the clip, I am still working on audio, so it is missing some key background sounds, which will make the experience more 'realistic' to the viewer...although my intent was to be hyper-realistic visually.

This file is a H.264 quicktime file.. you will need Quicktime 7 to view it. Right-click and save it to your HD. If you cannot see it, i can upload some stills instead.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 07:42 AM   #6
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Thanks for the advice Joe, I'm gonna have a test shoot and try out a couple of techniques, and I'll see how this idea works.

It could be the best way for the daytime scenes, however my film is set in england so the overexposed look is a bit unrealistic, it looks great in your clip though, i love the way its filmed (great colors).

I took a look at your site too, and loved the music video especially, not my kind of music but the video was stunning.

Thanks for your advice.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 08:44 PM   #7
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beware that hiring a tow truck or rental truck with car tow may do the job BUT you will need PERMITS on any public street/road once you attach any camera to any vehicle or film it from any vehicle etc .. most cities require a police escort ( sometimes 1 motorcycle officer) , and of course liability insurance ... IMO just hire a real car tow = right tool for the job = you have real driver, power for lights, real camera mounts ..and the most important it's SAFE for crew ...

if you do green screen IMO use a 4:2:2 format ..
you could use a portable 10x12 ( 12x12, 10x10 maybe 8X10 or 12) depending on the shot) green screen outside ...
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