Topics

Backprojection for driving scenes

Yaniv Linton
 

Hi all 

I'm about to shoot a Tv drama series, and trying to choose how to approach the driving scenes. 
I tend towards backprojection for the ability to get the backgrounds that I want. 
If I Shoot live on real roads I lose that control. 
And going green screen, I can't be in full control on the chosen plates in post, and I can't make sure I light the interior of the car according to the specific plate I want. 

I'm looking at True Detective ( season 1 , haven't seen the second) as a reference I like. 
Anyone knows how they worked on those driving scenes? 

Any thoughts on backprojection ?
type of screen / projection? 

Thnks a lot ,
yaniv linton 
DP
Tel Aviv

 

This came up recently.

At the BSC show in London in Feb, VER were showing the LED projection system.  They had a back screen and monitors on the sides and overhead the car.

I personally haven’t used it, but the results on the monitor they had there looked great.  Sorry can’t remember what the camera was.

Michael Sanders
London Based DP.

+ 44 (0) 7976 269818




On 4 Sep 2018, at 09:17, Yanivlinton@... wrote:

If I Shoot live on real roads I lose that control. 
And going green screen, I can't be in full control on the chosen plates in post, and I can't make sure I light the interior of the car according to the specific plate I want. 

Sean Harris
 

I worked on a production (as BB Electric) that used rear projection screens & big projectors.  Our challenge was avoiding  spill of light (m18 thru lite diffusion  to light thru the windshield) on the rear projection screen, but with the aid of 12x12 solids, it looked great.  I think the DP wanted a little more punch out of the projectors, so go big.  Sorry as I do not rem. the manufactor/model # of the projectors.

Sean Harris
Gray TN

On Sep 4, 2018, at 7:24 AM, Michael Sanders via Cml.News <glowstars=me.com@...> wrote:

This came up recently.

At the BSC show in London in Feb, VER were showing the LED projection system.  They had a back screen and monitors on the sides and overhead the car.

I personally haven’t used it, but the results on the monitor they had there looked great.  Sorry can’t remember what the camera was.

Michael Sanders
London Based DP.

+ 44 (0) 7976 269818




On 4 Sep 2018, at 09:17, Yanivlinton@... wrote:

If I Shoot live on real roads I lose that control. 
And going green screen, I can't be in full control on the chosen plates in post, and I can't make sure I light the interior of the car according to the specific plate I want. 


Sean Harris
Director/DP
423-202-4855




Graham Futerfas
 

Hi Yaniv,

I shot the background plates for "True Detective" Season 1 in New Orleans\Louisiana.

The car interior scenes were already shot on Greenscreen when I arrived, and I worked closely with the VFX supervisor when we spent days driving around the specific locations they wanted.

The company I was working with at the time, 24 Frame, had custom-built a stretch limousine (and now has other vehicles) with 7 cameras and rack-recording equipment, so that all of the cameras could be recorded and played-back in sync. They also provide the Projectors and Screens for TV shows and movies that want to do what you’re suggesting — live HD playback with the screens and reflections all done on stage. www.24Frame.com

The Cadillac limousine was great, because it had a super-soft suspension (this was before Movi gimbals were available), and had plenty of room for all the cameras to shoot. The cameras were mostly hidden inside the vehicle or on a custom plate\case on the back, so people didn’t just stare at the cameras from other vehicles. We used Sony F3’s and sometimes F5’s with 14mm lenses for the main plates, and these little Panasonic cameras for the upward-facing reflections for the windows.

The advantage with True Detective was that we knew the angles ahead of time, and could just capture those few angles properly, instead of worrying about all the angles in 360-degrees. We wouldn’t just capture 90-degrees left or right, but also a 45-degree rear-facing plate, which they really used that angle in the show.

The best on-set HD Projection experience I saw was on the movie “Alexander and Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day”. They had the budget to shoot lots of tests and get their lighting right. I always suggest shooting daylight-balanced sources on stage with the projectors, instead of tungsten, because that’s the native color of the projector and it gets muddy if you try to warm it up. “Alexander” rigged some automated moving lights above the car to create moving-light bounces and effects, and really took the time to get the plates the way they wanted them.

You also need to flag all the light off the projection screens, and the car you’re shooting will probably also reflect a lot of you light, so duvatyne the side of the picture car out on stage. Egg crates and light control are very important. Even a little spill onto the screen can cause milkiness in the blacks of the image.

The biggest challenge for us, shooting plates, was getting long sequences without stop lights or traffic. If you’re doing a scene on a stage with projection, it’s best if the plates are going at a consistent speed throughout the scene. If you have stopping, or braking, it needs to be consistent across the edit, depending on how many characters you have.

Also, we shot plates for stunts sequences and things of that nature, where the actors wouldn’t have to do any type of precision driving. There was usually a camera set up facing forward and played back on a monitor for the driving actor, so they could see where they were supposed to be going down the road.

Let me know if you have any more questions. Like I said, with gimbals and isolators, you can create even smoother footage than we did, but I spent a lot of time in the back of that ol' Limousine.

It’s a very convenient process for Television shows with fast schedules. The director can walk right up to the actors at any time and talk with them, and there’s no equipment rattling down the road on a process trailer to ruin the sound. Resets are at the push of a button instead of driving around the block, and the lighting doesn’t change every time you take a turn in the road. You can be in the location you want, and you don’t need police lock-ups, base camps on location, etc.

Best,
-Graham




---
Graham Futerfas
Director of Photography
Los Angeles, CA
www.GFuterfas.com
---

Ted Hayash
 

I would add air conditioning onto Graham’s excellent run down of reason to shoot these types of scenes on stage. It may seem obvious but controlling temperature and humidity is paramount in keeping the actors camera ready. Adding environmental effects like wind is also helpful and controllable on stage too. 

Ted Hayash
Cinematographer 
Los Angeles

 Ted Hayash
Ted Hayash
Director of Photography 
www.tedhayash.com


On September 4, 2018 at 15:36 GMT, Graham Futerfas <gfuterfas.cml@...> wrote:

Hi Yaniv,

I shot the background plates for "True Detective" Season 1 in New Orleans\Louisiana.

The car interior scenes were already shot on Greenscreen when I arrived, and I worked closely with the VFX supervisor when we spent days driving around the specific locations they wanted.

The company I was working with at the time, 24 Frame, had custom-built a stretch limousine (and now has other vehicles) with 7 cameras and rack-recording equipment, so that all of the cameras could be recorded and played-back in sync. They also provide the Projectors and Screens for TV shows and movies that want to do what you’re suggesting — live HD playback with the screens and reflections all done on stage. www.24Frame.com

The Cadillac limousine was great, because it had a super-soft suspension (this was before Movi gimbals were available), and had plenty of room for all the cameras to shoot. The cameras were mostly hidden inside the vehicle or on a custom plate\case on the back, so people didn’t just stare at the cameras from other vehicles. We used Sony F3’s and sometimes F5’s with 14mm lenses for the main plates, and these little Panasonic cameras for the upward-facing reflections for the windows.

The advantage with True Detective was that we knew the angles ahead of time, and could just capture those few angles properly, instead of worrying about all the angles in 360-degrees. We wouldn’t just capture 90-degrees left or right, but also a 45-degree rear-facing plate, which they really used that angle in the show.

The best on-set HD Projection experience I saw was on the movie “Alexander and Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day”. They had the budget to shoot lots of tests and get their lighting right. I always suggest shooting daylight-balanced sources on stage with the projectors, instead of tungsten, because that’s the native color of the projector and it gets muddy if you try to warm it up. “Alexander” rigged some automated moving lights above the car to create moving-light bounces and effects, and really took the time to get the plates the way they wanted them.

You also need to flag all the light off the projection screens, and the car you’re shooting will probably also reflect a lot of you light, so duvatyne the side of the picture car out on stage. Egg crates and light control are very important. Even a little spill onto the screen can cause milkiness in the blacks of the image.

The biggest challenge for us, shooting plates, was getting long sequences without stop lights or traffic. If you’re doing a scene on a stage with projection, it’s best if the plates are going at a consistent speed throughout the scene. If you have stopping, or braking, it needs to be consistent across the edit, depending on how many characters you have.

Also, we shot plates for stunts sequences and things of that nature, where the actors wouldn’t have to do any type of precision driving. There was usually a camera set up facing forward and played back on a monitor for the driving actor, so they could see where they were supposed to be going down the road.

Let me know if you have any more questions. Like I said, with gimbals and isolators, you can create even smoother footage than we did, but I spent a lot of time in the back of that ol' Limousine.

It’s a very convenient process for Television shows with fast schedules. The director can walk right up to the actors at any time and talk with them, and there’s no equipment rattling down the road on a process trailer to ruin the sound. Resets are at the push of a button instead of driving around the block, and the lighting doesn’t change every time you take a turn in the road. You can be in the location you want, and you don’t need police lock-ups, base camps on location, etc.

Best,
-Graham




---
Graham Futerfas
Director of Photography
Los Angeles, CA
www.GFuterfas.com
---

Graham Futerfas
 

One more thing that really sells the effect — shake and vibrate the camera a little bit. If it’s too clean and perfect, it doesn’t look like you’re driving down the road.




---
Graham Futerfas
Director of Photography
Los Angeles, CA
www.GFuterfas.com
---

Yaniv Linton
 

Thanks a lot! 
Graham and everybody,
This platform is amazing

Can I please ask why did you shoot all the plates with a 14mm? 
And why a small Panasonic for the reflections? Because resolution was not an issue? 
What exactly did you shoot with it? I mean to get the reflection effect. Or is it mostly done in post..?

Did you use any specific gear to move / shake the camera ? Or just by hand?

Thanks again ;)) 

Yaniv Linton 
DP 
Tel Aviv 



יניב לינטון 
0545-676973


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‫ב-5 בספט׳ 2018, בשעה 7:11, ‏‏Graham Futerfas ‏<gfuterfas.cml@...> כתב/ה:‬

One more thing that really sells the effect — shake and vibrate the camera a little bit. If it’s too clean and perfect, it doesn’t look like you’re driving down the road.




---
Graham Futerfas
Director of Photography
Los Angeles, CA
www.GFuterfas.com
---

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