Search CML website & discussions
Interior Of A Stretched Limo
Published : 21st August 2003
I'm working on a production that is based on and around a
stretch limo. I haven’t seen the car yet ( arrived only
yesterday from overseas). From the photos that I have seen
of the interior there isn't much in the way of installed lighting
fixtures. I have at my disposal an array of equipment from
the "pocket par", 200w and kino’s and a 12v/220v
Can any one suggest, possible stand alone lighting set ups
interior day, that I can use to light the passenger section
of the limo, the is no and on the windows yet.
The limo is here for a week then continues to Europe for the
rest of the shoot, so the setup has to travel as well.
Gaffer Tel Aviv, Israel
You didn't mention what style or look the project demands,
or even the type of project, so it's tough to really make
A stand-alone lighting setup - by this I'm guessing you mean
one that doesn't need to be maintained, or altered when changing
angles. In a limo this is tough if not impossible - there's
never enough space, even in a stretch to hide the lights for
multiple angles. I'd think that trying to build the lights
into the architecture of the limo might prove fruitless unless
you could get enough ND to make the small lamps, say, 24 watt
HMI par units or single kino tubes, effective. ND helps, until
someone has to open the door, and enter or exit.
Then the outside will blow out, especially on tape. Of course,
the darker you make it outside, the more likely you'll see
reflections in the windows. Altering the vehicle, perhaps
installing a huge sunroof with a translucent shade that pulls
over it to create a soft top light, sounds like it might be
out of the question.
Make sure you get someone to install the ND on the windows
so that you can use the small HMIs and perhaps a Kino Flo
Diva Light. A couple of those 24 watt HMI units might prove
useful to help create contrast once you've established some
sort of base level, whether it be built into the architecture
in some way, or placed near camera.
The pocket par is a great light for this especially with the
Chimera - but the Kino Flo Diva 400 and Diva 200 are really
great because they're dimmable, and dimmable at the lamp head.
The Diva Light would plug right into your inverter.
What I often do is use a magic arm on a baby plate nailed
to a pancake to hold the light - this often helps me get the
light over the seat or some place that might be tough to place
it. A low baby stand works too - sometimes it's better. Often
the light ends up on the floor so that it's not seen reflected
in the window.
You didn't say wether you're shooting film or tape.... Dimming
the Diva Light alters the color temperature, but the advantage
is that it's fast, convenient, bright for its size and type,
and all one unit - no messy cables.
Another idea would be to tape/velcro/bailing wire/otherwise
affix as many kino flo tubes as you can to the ceiling - I
mean at least 2 4' 4-banks and maybe some 2' types as well.
This will let you alter the light level at the ballast without
changing the color temperature, and evenly illuminate the
interior. You could still use the other light next to camera
to fill in the eyes of your subject.
I haven't mentioned putting any lights outside because I'm
assuming the limo will drive around, and I assume therefore
that you can't have anything outboard in traffic. Also, these
ideas might not work for a drama or action piece - in those
cases I might try to find a way to use more direct light instead,
or perhaps more available light, or try to put the car on
a process trailer or at least tow it from another vehicle
so that it's easier to control the lighting.
I didn't mean to ramble on so much, but I guess I really like
Ted "likes a challenging lighting setup" Hayash
Los Angeles, CA
You didn't mention if you were doing exteriors as well. A
setup I've used is to tow a small trailer with a “put
put” generator on it. You can then fix a 2x4 to the
roof -in front if you're shooting backward or in back if forward.
You can then shoot the light of your choice thru the window
on to your talent. Usually if you're restrained in your 2x4
length, you can take it in most traffic situations.
One trick you might try is to get a couple of those so-called
"million-candlepower" 12-volt searchlights and plug
them into the limo's cigarette lighter sockets (undoubtedly
each socket has its own fuse or breaker, but you might check
that). Then bounce one off the ceiling about halfway between
the camera and the subjects, and play with the positioning
Then tape some white paper to an out-of-frame window and bounce
the second searchlight off it. That should motivate its direction.
You could also use both lights that way and forget about the
If you're aiming any lights from outside into bare windows
from less than about 30-50cm away, use Kino Flos rather than
quartz lights, or the heat may crack the glass.
Marin County, CA
I would suggest using, together with ND and CTO gelling the
windows, small enclosed compact fluorescent lamp battery operated
lanterns (or torches, whatever you want to call them). There
are some very inexpensive ones (I bought them for about $10
each at a supermarket) by Osram, called Dulux Mobil, in 5
watts and 3 watts lamps fixtures.
They are lightweight (even with batteries - ordinary R-6,
four and two respectively), so you can Velcro them unobtrusively
(no grip equipment, no cables) to the inner surface of the
Limo wherever it best suits every shot and reposition them
very easily. They give 4,200 ºK light with a CC 25G tint.
5 watt ones provide some 25 ft-cd at 0.5 m. / 7 ft-cd at 1
m. 3 watt ones deliver about 12 ft-cd at 0.5 m.
You can also build for them inexpensive gel holder/barndoors
out of black semi-rigid plastic sheet fitted with Velcro and
filter them also inexpensively with small (3"x2")
pieces of gel. I just found these fixtures at the time I was
facing the need for lighting a night interior of a cab in
movement for a very low budget video production with a relatively
run & gun Dogme flavour for which the director wanted
a real looking lighting, what, for night scenes meant sodium
vapour lamp yellow light. These fixtures appeared as a God's
Of course, they are not the answer in case there have any
interior shots in which either the door or the windows of
the Limo have to be opened in daylight.
Madrid (Imperial Spain)
For car interiors, I've just stripped the tubes out of a kino
4 ft. 4 bank and gaffer taped them to the interior of the
The kino raises the interior light level up just enough to
keep the view out the windows from blowing out. Also, if you
place two tungsten balanced tubes on one side and two daylight
balanced tubes on the other side, it looks like sunlight is
coming in on the side with the tungsten tubes.
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
West Coast Systems Administrator, Cinematography Mailing List
Doesn't anyone use GAM stick-ups anymore? These little guys
can take 125 watt 12v bulbs and plug into a lighter and can
be bought for $35 bucks or rented in kits for $6 bucks.
If you can't find one, you can make one real easy out of lamps
you purchase in an auto store and some aluminium wire. Maybe
I'll write an article about making portable lighting equipment
like a stick up on my website.
>Maybe I'll write an article
about making portable lighting equipment like >a stick up on
Yes! Please do! I've made a couple of Cig-Lighter lights.
They're pretty… skanky…but they work. I'd love
to see what you've come up with.
12 On / 12 Off!
>I've made a couple of Cig-Lighter
lights. They're pretty skanky
I dated a German girl in 1979. Her dad was one of those old
school German craftsman. He worked at a sheet metal facility.
I gave him a drawing once of a reflector unit that looks exactly
like the Stik Up. Anyway he made me anincredible unit that
I wanted specifically for a car.
A few years laterwhile working at Silvercup Studios, I sold
the unit for $100 bulks to someone who thought it was an amazing
idea. A few years later GAM came out with the Stik up. To
this day I always wonder...OK, I'll make a couple of portable
fixtures out of common material and write an article on my
website along with the other noise there.
HellGate Pictures, Inc.
New York, NY 10028
I for one would love to hear which of the excellent solutions
proposed the original poster actually implemented...
Los Angeles, CA