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Airplane Set Extension

Sergio Montiel

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Hey guys, long time lurker here but this is my first post. Feel free to move my post to the right forum if necessary


So I got a script set in an airplane. It is a transcontinental flight, NY to Sao Paolo which are 90% of the time flying in big 767 or 777s (don't remember which one is which). These are usually in the 2-5-2 seating configuration I think. Big plane.


And because of our budget we'll get to shoot in one of these:

Bombardier CRJ 200



This is an indie short being made in Paraguay and we have to make this plane work. Now, I'm left to figure out if there is a way to shoot for a set extension in post where we can enlarge the plane and create that middle row. Ideally this would only be necessary on the wides and aisle looks but it's such a small plane I'm afraid it'll affect most shots in the aircraft.


I also like to shoot wide so that won't help with hiding distances between seats, side to side and such.


Would love to hear your ideas on this. Have any of you ever had to extend a small set like this? Ever shoot in planes, buses? Any tips?


I appreciate it!

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You could look up any "making of" stuff about United 93.. .. they did have the luxury of a "half plane " set..with a sort of bunge cable rig running down the middle.. but a film shot 90% taking place in a plane .. there is probably some good tips to found .. or just good to have a look at for reference ..


Ive shot in quite a few large planes for corp shoots.. in hangers or on the tarmac.. not flying.. and found a few gotcha,s.. some very odd colour temps from the plane internal lights.. some flicker I just couldn't get rid of.. at any shutter speed..plane electrical power, in some planes made a pretty loud humming..impossible for dialogue scenes..maybe the AC too.. but seemed impossible to separate .. having your own lights on battery power is a good idea .. Ive used Astra lite panels to good effect..


That plane does look very small TBH.. but good luck !

Edited by Robin R Probyn
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Not having any really wide shots may be the only way to hide the fact you're on a commuter aircraft. By not showing both side of the fuselage, you may be able to fool the audience into thinking that the seats on the other side is the central block of seat. Use longer focal length lenses, rather than wide angle.


Lying is part of the fun of film making.

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Right, I don't doubt there'll be plenty of artifice in the solution, that's always the case. Luckily there's no real plane wide interaction in the script so the only real parts where a solution is needed is in scenes where we see down the aisle such as the beginning, dinner and stuff. Most of it is a frontal twofer and singles.


There is still the possibility I could get a couple hours to shoot plates on a bigger plane. I'm not very experienced with more complex VFX like extensions and matte paintings and stuff, and I happen to be in a market with limited need for these pros so most likely I'll have to source a vendor from a bigger latin market for something like this.


Anyone have any experience with VFX houses in Latin America? I'd like to at least reach out to them and see what their ideas are. Any recommendations?

Edited by Sergio Montiel
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