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David Kappler

Moving vehicle shot

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I need a shot of a driver in a car talking on his cell phone driving down the street. I used the vehicle mount tripod on the outside of the passenger door and the shot was well framed,etc and the driver was properly exposed however the light outside the driver's window was so blown out that nothing showed up.


I guess my choices here are more light inside the vehicle on the driver or less light coming thru the window to balance with the driver. I am thinking it would be easier to put some kind of ND material over the window instead of trying to find a 12 light to put on the driver


Any thoughts on either way to go? Any sources for equipment needed to do this?







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I had a very similar situation come up a few of years ago. We didn't have any way to add light, so I simply put a double net or ND.6 over the windows in the shot, leaving the other windows clear. This kept the background from blowing out, while letting enough light in through the other windows—primarily the windshield—to get a decent exposure on the talent. It also helped that we shot in locations such as streets lined by buildings or trees, where there wasn't a lot of bright sky in the background. If the side of the buildings you see in the background are in shadow, that helps even more.


Here's one of the shots from this set-up. It's been compressed from a still frame taken from a compressed .mp4, but at least you can get an idea of the effect.



Hope that helps!

Colton Davie

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Try to shoot in a direction where everything is back lit by the sun. Without lights you won't be able to match brightness inside the car to direct sunlight, and if you ND enough to balance the outside in direct sunlight you risk it looking fake. If you shoot in a back lit direction you should get a good combination of shadowy areas which will match the ambiance inside, and hot spots that keep it looking interesting.


If it's overcast ND or net (if it's out of focus) is pretty much your only option.


As with anything outside, shooting later in the day (or early morning) will always be prettier... sadly the schedule rarely allows for that (except in winter, when the sun is always low but the days are too short...)

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You can try (in addition to ND or net): white card, foamcore, beadboard or white towel on the actor lap; and/or a small flouro fixture with a daylight lamp, mounted horizontally under the steering column.

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