View Full Version : Shooting a scene inside of a moving car

09-27-2008, 11:40 PM
Low budget short film, and I'm wondering how I can shoot a conversation between two people in the front seats who talk as the car moves. I would like to have one set up seemingly in between them that captures the conversation in your traditional shot-countershot way, plus another set up capturing the conversation from outside the passenger's window capturing a two-shot. How do the pros do it? Crazy car mounts? Green screens? How do low budget independent filmmakers do it?

09-28-2008, 12:17 AM
You could:
-have 2 cameramen sit in the back seat and film profiles from the back for the main angles using car mirrors and exteriors for cut-aways... as kind of a more "gritty indie" choice..
-rent camera mount(s).. the professional but expensive option
-lie down on the hood of the car with one camera per outstretched hand... the crazy stunt-man don't-try-this-at-home method...
-film from one side in another vehicle with a two shot of both actors in frame using tighter cutaways to switch between takes and scrap the shot-countershot thing... filming from another vehicle is hard though and will cause many many takes...
-use a greenscreen and film the thing in your garage while stationary... might be more effective but unless you get the chroma right it could come off looking fake
-shoot each scene twice for each actor's take... hardest on the actors but would definitely get you results... we did this once, where the actor not being shot would read from the backseat... though I tell you, it's not easy to be a camera-man and driver at the same time...

I think the easiest low-budget solution in this case would be to simply change the angles so you can shoot it with what you have... if it's one camera, maybe do a panning shot from the back seat for your master and then individual takes for each actor from the front with some cut-aways to give you coverage to edit with... if you have two cams, maybe try getting the shots from the backseats, or get creative with some mirrors from your house... or have all the dialogue happen at a red light or stop sign... or maybe turn all the dialogue into a voice-over and just use exteriors of the moving car... there's lots of options- just figure out what you have versus what you want and then shoot it the best you possibly can... and if you can't, either re-write, re-plan or re-do.

That's the best i can come up with, hope it helps!

09-28-2008, 07:40 PM
You can do this with a green screen. Check out for tutorials on how to do this. It's actually a pretty cool trick, and I've done what you are looking for without the car actually moving using this tutorial.

Will Vincent
09-29-2008, 11:37 AM
EvsFX, I think the one you're referring to is not a free tutorial, but rather the one on the Serious FX & Compositing dvd ( It's a good dvd; worth the price.

09-29-2008, 12:29 PM
There's always using a window mount, they can be had on Ebay for under $10. Shoot the scene from each window's POV and then drop in some shots from behind the occupants like Spatula said.
Do all the audio in post.

Take a couple of other outside shots from another car or even from a fixed tripod of the car going by for the establishing shot.

Seems like a long while back there was a posting by Sonnyboo demonstrating multiple car shots to add excitement to a driving scene.
It had no dialog but the concept could be adapted to making an interesting auto conversation scene.

09-29-2008, 03:12 PM
EvsFX, I think the one you're referring to is not a free tutorial, but rather the one on the Serious FX & Compositing dvd ( It's a good dvd; worth the price.

Will, you're probably right, I bought most of their products,so I mainly use their DVDs anyway, so it could be in fact on a DVD and not on their webpage and I'm just forgetting, but like you said, their products are well worth the little bit of money they do charge.