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I have recently accepted a project that takes place entirely in an antique rail car. Because the train is located at a transportation museum it does not have the ability to move. Another challenge is the film is set in Morocco. The initial plan is to use green screen to key in the exterior. My bigger concern at the moment is how to make the train look like it is moving without any hydraulics or mechanical mechanisms. I would appreciate any tips or experiences others have had shooting stationary vehicles with green screen and getting a realistic cinematic result. Both camera and lighting tips much appreciated

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I don't think you really need to shake the set, unless there's some specific story point that requires it. You could try shooting plates ahead of time and projecting them outside the windows to get interactive lighting on the windows and seats. And then maybe additional lighting rigged outside for more effects to help sell the effect.

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Handheld/slightly swaying camera movement combined with actors movements can yield impressively natural looking results. Interactive lighting is important, but depends a great deal on the actual surrounding environment you're planning to comp in.

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Handheld/slightly swaying camera movement combined with actors movements can yield impressively natural looking results. Interactive lighting is important, but depends a great deal on the actual surrounding environment you're planning to comp in.

I recently tried this.

Attach a fairly flimsy plank of wood say 10mm thick centrally on a tripod.

Weight one end, the other end screw on the camera. It gives a secure jet bumpy kind of effect when you manually move the camera.

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I don't think you really need to shake the set, unless there's some specific story point that requires it. You could try shooting plates ahead of time and projecting them outside the windows to get interactive lighting on the windows and seats. And then maybe additional lighting rigged outside for more effects to help sell the effect.

 

When is the last time you rode a commuter train? All trains shake and sway, even Amtrak. A vintage rail car, running on track where there is a rail joint every 39' feet would certainly display constant if small motion, as would the passengers.

Edited by JD Hartman

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When is the last time you rode a commuter train? All trains shake and sway, even Amtrak. A vintage rail car, running on track where there is a rail joint every 39' feet would certainly display constant if small motion, as would the passengers.

 

 

Yeah but this is the magic of cinema dont forget.. there are plenty of train int shots without alot of swaying.. audiences just believe your in a train.. if the background and lighting are done convincingly .. you could put in a bit of actor movement on cue.. and a bit of movement in the camera..but in the train noises in post .. but you dont necessarily have to move the whole set around.. how many potholes are there in NY streets but you dont see car shots with everyone banging there heads on the roof in movies .. :)..

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Just wanted to move the conversation back to lighting? Any suggestions if the windows are going to be green screen. Assuming I can light through the windows, any suggestions

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When is the last time you rode a commuter train? All trains shake and sway, even Amtrak. A vintage rail car, running on track where there is a rail joint every 39' feet would certainly display constant if small motion, as would the passengers.

If a subway train counts, maybe a few months ago. Otherwise, a few years ago, all over Japan. Trains are a way of life there.

 

Look, I'm aware that is what happens in real life. But I'm not convinced it's necessary, unless it's for a specific story point. Sometimes less is more. I tend to think verisimilitude is great for rides, but potentially distracting for stories. Just my opinion though.

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Just wanted to move the conversation back to lighting? Any suggestions if the windows are going to be green screen. Assuming I can light through the windows, any suggestions

I think the important thing is to shoot or acquire the background plates first. Otherwise, how do you know what to match with your lighting?

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If a subway train counts, maybe a few months ago. Otherwise, a few years ago, all over Japan. Trains are a way of life there.

 

Look, I'm aware that is what happens in real life. But I'm not convinced it's necessary, unless it's for a specific story point. Sometimes less is more. I tend to think verisimilitude is great for rides, but potentially distracting for stories. Just my opinion though.

 

Okay, maybe BART is smooth and Japanese rail too, but not so any other railway system I've been on. Certainly not any period train. People will expect some movement and lack thereof makes it more difficult for viewers to suspend reality.

 

I'd be more concerned with the logistics of setting up and lighting a green screen in a museum. Will you be able to get it far enough away from the car to minimize spill into the interior and reflections from the shiny interior surfaces. Are you shooting at the NYC Transit Museum or elsewhere?

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I won't have access to the plates as they are being shot later on.

 

Can you at least specify the type of geography and time of day for the plates? Otherwise, you may just have to go as generic with the lighting as possible.

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