How to light at night in a car

Comment éclairer de nuit dans une voiture

Light and night shot in a car

This week, I’m going to talk to you about the lighting in a car, how to film at night and ways to shoot. This article is based on my experience of shooting on the long, telefilm or mini-series. Once again, I am not , nor electro, nor chief op. I’m going to list the equipment that will serve you for your needs. I throws me a little…blind (without being expert) because I want to give an answer to a question that has been asked me on the blog this week. If you have followed the articles on Color temperature and on the different projectors you should get. If I made a patty, or if you wish to comment on one point in particular leave me a comment below this article. Reminder : If you turn it of at night, especially night, made the point manually. I you drunk with the manual focus since the beginning so I repeat it to you ! Your camera will have trouble to make the point alone. The autofocus is not going to stop change due to the lack of ambient light and you may have blurred all the time. To be certain of having the point, make a zoom in, make the point and then return to the part desired ; (o) One thing is certain, to turn night it is necessary to either the budgetor the ideas (and the budget all the same), a lot of knowledge and a “packet” of light. As you might expect, it is more difficult to illuminate by night than by day, because it is necessary to send the sauce, even to turn into a car !

This will change the feature of the lighting, this will be

– if the car is running – if the car is traveling with a camera car – if the car is at stop This is a device of a car to stop…besides, I think we were made to believe that she was rolling a little, and then it stopped….While she doesn’t have much to spare really (or the presence of smoke ;o).

Of course, it was a device a little heavy level lighting because the car was supposed to be stopped on a country road with no light, when in fact it is located in the garden of a castle…we had to turn the driving scenes in the garden otherwise we would have exceeded…and the director of prod would not have been happy ;o) First advice : More the playing surface will be large, the more you’re going to have to illuminate and multiply the sources. The most economical solution when you want to turn night it is to do so where there is light, it will always be that and saved !

Night shot with the car is at a standstill

Good, I’m going to start with the solution the most simple : the car stopped. Nothing more simple, as in the photo above. You can put all the sources that you want without a problem. If you do not have the means to rent or buy a quantity of astronomical sources, remember what I said to you last week. With a projector you can do to reflect light on the Déperon or polystyrene to soften the light and direct it as you see fit. But you will need a minimum of projos.

The car “rolls” on a car dolly

Right here, it is already another story, because it must be a car dolly. This kind of gear costs roughly 1000 euros/ day to go and return included. That is to say, on a presence of 8 or 9 hours you should count the transport time of the gentleman who led the craft…in short…The downside is the cost, that’s for sure, but the advantage is that you can illuminate as you want because the cars travelling are equipped with a generator set to the front of the vehicle dolly.

In front of the car game there is a platform where you can position the cameras and a small team. The other advantage is that your actors focus on their game and not on the road, the code and other motorists ! In addition, you can ask your machino to provide a sort of grid to hang the projos additional ;o) She is not beautiful the life ?

I’m not sure that this solution will be at your fingertips ;o)

The car is running

This is where things get tough. How to film in a car that rolls the night… if you turn camera onboard, this is to say that the camera is in the place of death or on the rear seat ? You will need to use a lighting ” portable “ battery. If you want to shoot your actors from the front, it will be necessary to install a hanging hood. Here I advise you to get it done by a machino.

The grip cover is to put a bowl, that is to say, a basis in which the head of the foot camera comes nest in. The camera is equipped with a device HF which allows to receive on a combo (monitor) portable the filmed image that the director can see. If there is no video system HF, you would need to make the point, start the camera and then at the end of the take, the actor stops, and you can check out the outlet.

Another important thing, make sure you have a pair of walkie talkies so that you can talk with your comedian and ask him to redo the stage if you have the chance to have a return of his HF. If you have a Gopro and a fastener for this type of camera, everything is moving ;o) I have not stated but you need to take the sound of your actor in the process of rolling and play. Either you are installing a lavalier microphone on the dashboard, or you perchez its text at the bottom…

Yes, but I light it with what ?

The best solution to light up a comedian in a car is the LED. It is fine, it illuminates not bad and there are now systems that allow you to choose the color temperature, and turning on a part where the ramp LED. Before light need to be hung ! There are the LED bars that stick on a part of the dashboard. You can also find kits lighting report which are sold with their battery. The advantage with the LED is that it does not dazzle the driver (actor). It will be necessary to purchase arms, magic , or invest in the wholesale scotch tape to hold the torch…In fact I would advise you to buy the blunderer, it is expensive but it is the best solution, it is very solid, it is cut by hand and it leaves no trace.

If you do not take a direct sound, that is to say that if there was no dialogue, you can always buy a small generator and put it in the trunk, it will allow you to take projectors neon…but a group that makes a noise to hell, it will do the sound editing and sound in sync. You will have to make a quantity of sounds only in function of the action that is going on inside the car. ATTENTION : Don’t forget that when you go to shoot your actor through the windshield, you might be typing a lot of reflections, so don’t forget to bring a polarizing filter. Another tip that you can use to increase the ambient light in the car is to change the light in the ceiling and put another source (LED for example).


Small bonus for those who wish to turn in a car on the day. Two years ago, I shot a short series 60 X 2 minutes 30, the name of CO ! Olivier Sarrazin and Dominique Thomas. The shooting happened at 95 % in a car : – at the judgment – roll In (road, highway, path, etc) I had everything ! The problem is that the budget was not extraordinary. We have not been able to get a car dolly on the duration of the filming which was 20 days. The toy vehicle was a Zafira 7 seater. One of the lead actors (Dominique Thomas) was playing and drove for almost 20 days and you know what ? There were 7 cameras…the director and the sound engineer were hidden by a decoration in the back with the 7 returns videos. The director has taken advantage of any turn in GO pro, the car has been customized to hide and accommodate the go pro and the microphones of the sound engineer.

Ok, this is great and the lighting ?

Zero ! No need for lighting. We were shooting day, we took a sunroof that did go a little more light and the tower was played. The only constraint we had was to be able to see the outside. The go pros calibraient on the light in the car so that we see the actors, but the outside was burnt (all white). We had to ask the gélate (Gelatin) on all the windows. We cut the gélates to the glass and to hold them, we splashed the glass of water using a sprayer from home (a pchittt what !), we asked the gélates on the glass, wet it and using a mini raclot we have removed the excess water between the gélate and the glass and the game was played ! The gélates stuck perfectly and the outside was perfectly crisp and clear.

Sometimes it only takes a little ingenuity, elbow grease, and that is all ;o) I put you the link of a episode still available on the net, the parody of’Highway to hell. This is not my favorite, but you’ll see at least the concept ;o)

You say also that if you turn of day you can always ” lead “ the faces of your actors with just a reflo…the car must be off eh ! I am also reporting what has been done by a local chain…it was filmed in the north. You will see the principle and the installation.

That’s it for this article on how to illuminate a car at night… I hope it will help you ;o) Thanks to you the blog has more and more success, then click on the ” like “button at the top of this article ;o) Thank you to all who make this small gesture, thanks to that, the blog is doing well. Do not hesitate to click where you know (the pub to the right of the screen !) ;o) it helps keep “how to make a film” completely for free ;o) You can also share it on google+ Thank you again to all of you ;o) Tell me about your experiences of filming the night just below it. You can now return to the plan of the site (Article Tab) to read other articles, you just have to click on the link.

Soon, Tom

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