Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Tadeusz Kieniewicz

Car interior / low contrast / green screen

Recommended Posts

Hi Everybody!

I'm in preproduction of short film which will take place mostly in car at night.

We decided to shoot in studio with green screen / black screen.


My question is about contrast level in car. I'd like to create really low contrast feeling. To do that I need to rise light level in the car. This is my main problem.

How would you guys do that? I was thinking about putting 60cm Kino Flos banks rigged to celling with ND 0.6 and diff gel but it might look un natural.

I figured that bouncing light from foams around the car might be that what I'm looking for.

Maybe both?


Another thing is to fake cars movement on an actors face but I have some ideas about that.


I'll be running on RED Scarlet and Canon L Primes mostly Wide open with ND. Mostly hand held


I didn't try anything like this before and all suggestions are welcome. I'm a little bit scared and excited at the same time.


Maybe some of you have had problems doing car interior scene ? I'd be really glad to hear those stories...


Thanks a lot and wish you all merry christmas and happy new year.


Ted Kieniewicz

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I might be asking an idiotic question (I know it at least sounds like one), but why would you need to raise the light levels up? If you are filming a night scene then it should be dark anyways. My solution to your problem would be to lower the amount of light in the car altogether, thus creating less contrast. Much of Gordon Willis' work would be an excellent example of this technique. If you need to see the actors' faces in the car, then you can use a LED practical to justify a light blue glow underlighting the faces. You could probably even use a gelled LED panel near the opposite actor's legs or lap to simulate the light. This should keep the scene in low contrast and still resemble night time. If you don't need to see their faces then I would suggest using a small light hidden by the car's framework (this could be difficult depending on how you manage the handheld aspects). You could use this light as a backlight to distinguish one actor's profile (since it's small it will create a very distinct silhouette that doesn't add to the contrast) and the spill should bounce off the roof of the car and create a very flat illumination on whoever is in the passenger seat. As far as making the car appear to be moving, the technique I have most often seen is with a helicopter rig hanging above the windshield. This too would probably work best with low light scenarios, as a well lit set won't be much as affected by weak lights as a weakly lit set will. I can understand if I grossly misunderstood your question, or if I gave you a terribly inadequate answer. Either way, don't be afraid to tell me.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Kennan but it's not exactly what I'm looking for. Of course I can use LED panel to lit actors faces but it wont be in the style that scenarios is.

Action take place in Poland in 80's there were no lights in cars:) So my goal is to see every detail in the shadow just like the eye would.

So to do that on ISO 500 I have to rise ambience light level as much as I can since I do not want to use anything higher than 500 ISO on RED Scarlet. I don't want to have underexposed areas on the set. Maybe that sounds stupid but this is ow I feel this situation...

Anyway thanks for replay and I wish someone will guide me better than myself:)



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

If there's no light in the car, any light will come the outside. Usually at night you don't want to over light the scene and will be naturedly low key anyway. The problem with soft light is that it can go flat on you, but you can use flags and the car itself to control it. The exterior light will depend on if it's rural or urban/city outside. It it's a comedy you'll probably want to light in a higher key than if it's a thriller,.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

i think your idea of bouncing light from outside the car is the way to go... but the bounce should be big, 12'x12' (3x3m), so that you achieve the low contrast you are looking for. you don't want to feel the source, you want the light to feel totally ambient, like it's just there. for that reason, you should stay away from putting a kino in the car, i think you will feel the source too much for the vibe you are going for. of course you can always try it to see what it looks like, then turn it off if you don't like it.


anyway, put one12' bounce on either side of camera, and make sure the light is evenly spread over the whole bounce, no hot spots. then play with the levels until you have the level of contrast you like. you could then put some diffusion on the windows that are out of frame, just to smooth the light out even more, if you think that's what you need. you can then add in an edge light, and/or one of many possible moving lights to suggest movement, if you desire. there are tons of gags you can do with poor man's process, but the trick is to pick only one or two that really work, and do those.... you don't want too many bells and whistles or you will lose the organic feel.


alternatively, there are very thin led's - 1/4" (6mm) or so - that you can easily tape to the ceiling of the car, but i don't know if you have access to them where you are. they were first used in the film, "collateral", which if you haven't seen it, has a lot of night car interiors, and it may be a good reference for you. you can buy them on amazon (and lots of other places i'm sure) if that is an option for you:




good luck and have fun!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Thanks for advice!I decided with producer and director that we don't have time to do proper post production with green screen so I suggested doing it on Black screen. Shooting windows against black. Create some freeze on windows and simulate movemnt with moving top light ex. 2x 650W fresnell. The only one scene with green screen will be when camera is looking through front window.

So my clues are:


Put one big source 12x12 SilverGold bounce grid, probably tungstens source, 2x2KW on the other side of car I'm thinking of 1K hitting iregulary on dimmer. Bounced from a piece of foam, gelled with 1/4ctb.??


Build moving light rig 2x 650W (from the top).

Play around with fill / negative fill to adjust contrast.

See what gelles on windows might do.


PS. I liked "collateral" and car scenes in it. Thanks for reminding me about that!


All right I feel much better now. I say Merry Christmas to all of you and many thanks!



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Tai Audio

    Rig Wheels Passport

    Paralinx LLC


    Broadcast Solutions Inc

    Metropolis Post

    Just Cinema Gear

    Ritter Battery


    G-Force Grips

    Gamma Ray Digital Inc

    Abel Cine

    FJS International

    Wooden Camera

    Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

    New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment

    Serious Gear

    Visual Products

  • Create New...