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Old May 31st, 2006, 08:51 PM   #1
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Driving at night scene (int. of car)--thoughts on lighting

One of my students wants to shoot a "driving at night scene," from inside the car. I can't get a Lite Panel light, which would be great, at short notice. Any thoughts on how to light it?

We're using the Z1.

hwm
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Old June 1st, 2006, 10:33 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heath McKnight
One of my students wants to shoot a "driving at night scene," from inside the car. I can't get a Lite Panel light, which would be great, at short notice. Any thoughts on how to light it?

We're using the Z1.

hwm
Get one of the stick type flouescent work lights that plug into the cigarette lighter and tape it to the instrument panel. That will look like the light is illuminating the driver from the dashboard lights ( ala Meatloaf)
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Old June 1st, 2006, 11:05 AM   #3
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Thanks!

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Old June 1st, 2006, 11:29 AM   #4
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Maybe shoot evening-for-night, just when street lights and headlights are coming on, but there should just be enough light to see faces. Colour balance for indoor and the light will be blue - it won't be perfect, DforN rarely is, but it might get the idea across, though he'll only have about 30 minutes to film.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 02:54 PM   #5
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Home Depot. Loews . Wal-Mart sell 12" battery operated fluorescents they were around $10 and need 8 AA batterers.

Bill

Opps! Thanks Marcus gotta leran how to use the shift key.
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Last edited by Bill Hamell; June 2nd, 2006 at 08:18 AM.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 02:58 PM   #6
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I'd agree with Dylan's suggestion, plus a bit of fill from a small florrie down by the dashboard...

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Old June 2nd, 2006, 03:41 AM   #7
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"Wal-Mart sell 12 battery operated fluorescents they were around $10 and need 8 AA batterers."

Wal-Mart sells 12-foot fluorescent batterers? Is that larger than the standard dashboard? Bill knows I'm kidding! :)
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 07:21 AM   #8
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I just did this very thing with a Black and Decker Flourescent snake lite (basically the same thing). Worked like a charm. snake...charm...never mind. I had the interior lights on as well to raise the ambient a bit...play with it...perhaps another taped to the ceiling behind as a hair light. Get a couple...they're cheap!
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 08:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault
"Wal-Mart sell 12 battery operated fluorescents they were around $10 and need 8 AA batterers."

Wal-Mart sells 12-foot fluorescent batterers? Is that larger than the standard dashboard? Bill knows I'm kidding! :)

I corrected that. :-)
You are up early or in your TZ maybe just up late. :-)

Bill
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 05:12 AM   #10
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"8 AA batterers"

Keep going, Bill, don't stop the corrections yet! :)

I don't know if I was up late or early. I had a last-minute tape duplication for a client and we had a 4-hour power outtage in Honolulu yesterday. It kept me up late then I got up super early to avoid morning traffic.

I have seen dozens of different ways to accomplish lighting in a car at night used. Some use the glow from below, some use bright dome lights (while driving!) and sometimes it is done with outside lights moved to simulate passing by streetlights. Bright interior lights seem common on sitcoms, glow from the dashboard is fairly common in features and TV, and outside lights only on larger budgets due to the difficulty of moving the lights. The interior glow is so varied I don't always know the rationale. Pick the common color of dash instruments for that period of automobiles or maybe match your key. Cars dash lights were once red, then green, then white, and so on...
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Old June 16th, 2006, 11:28 PM   #11
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I have used christmas lights to create a glow.
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Old July 11th, 2006, 02:50 PM   #12
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I have to agree with Marcus. I have mostly seen it done with bright dome lights on. It never made sense to me using that method. It makes the driver look like an idiot for driving around with the dome lights on. It doesn't look natural to me. Light from the dash IMO is better. Or maybe try being original and real -make it just like it would be in real car, dark, shadowy. You can darken in post for more options.
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Old November 9th, 2006, 05:52 PM   #13
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Xmas lights . again

Matt's earlier comment amplified. I have found that carrying a couple of strings of xmas lights (and of course gaffers tape, tie wraps, etc.) can solve many problems. Bunch some of them up to increase the light in needed areas....say from the instrument panel of a car then thin/stretch them out until you want to create another source, say above the visor and create another bunch. Add or subtract the number of lights in the bunch until you get the feel you want. I use a small car battery and a RS invertor for power or an invertor run off the cig lighter - and some strings have dimmers. Check to see that the dimmer and invertor dosen't effect your audio. Good ones don't.
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Old November 9th, 2006, 08:23 PM   #14
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Xmas tree lights are a good idea!

The most "ghetto" night driving scene I've done involved a few Mini-Kinos taped to the outside of the windshield, and another in the back seat, all powered via the cigarette lighter. It can be seen on my reel for anyone interested...once the file has loaded, put the pointer above the first "e" in "comprehensive" in the first line of copy (bizarre way to describe how to locate a scene, but I think it should work!!). We also picked out a neighborhood that had a fair amount of ambient street light and lit storefronts, but was also quiet enough that we could get away with the actor self-driving a car with a 35mm camera hanging off a hostess tray!! Guess what, we got busted anyway, but we managed to get everything shot somehow (the static footage of the accident that follows was shot at a permitted location).

To me it's all about getting the output of your lights just right so that it feels natural. In a perfect world the light level should be low enough that the existing streetlights and passing cars should be able to play into the car also which will help with the realism.

Be safe shooting driving footage, everyone--having an actor act while driving is not a great idea, especially when there is gear and lights on the car. Just because I got talked into it on this particular film a few years back, please don't take this as an endorsement to go guerilla! Poor man's process can work really well too, and it's totally safe.
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