Cinematography Mailing List - CML



Taxi Window

Published : 9th November 2009

We're doing a studio green screen shoot next week with a London Taxi.
At some point there's going to be shot through the windscreen.
To minimise reflections I have a pola filter on board but suddenly thought, well does that mean I need to polarise the light source - surely yes. But then something else hit me - won't the windscreen be polarised, so does that mean if I use a pola filter I'll end up with black?

Any thoughts - a confused bunny.

Michael Sanders
Lighting Cameraman/Editor - online reel:
Glowstars TV Ltd.
m: 07976 269818

Hi Michael

My advice would be to stay away from Polaroid filters as they will give you patterns in the glass.
The "filmic" solution is to remove the glass ! probably not possible here.

So your other option, depending on if the shot is supposed to be in daylight or nighttime, is to use a big soft. Assuming your using some small lights in the cab Kino micro lights are good so are Rosco panels.

John Rossetti - London

Most vehicle windows are not polarized, but due to stresses on the glass when it is put into the vehicle, be prepared to see some weirdness.

Are you inside looking out or outside looking in?

Mark H. Weingartner
LA-based VFX DP/Supervisor

>> To minimise reflections

Are you really sure that you wish to do this?

Talk to whoever is doing VFX and they may want the reflections to make it more "real".

Geoff Boyle FBKS
EU Based
Skype? geoff.boyle
US +1 818 574-6134
UK +44 (0) 20 7193 3546
mobile: +44 (0)7831 562877

Geoff Boyle wrote:

>>Talk to whoever is doing VFX and they may want the reflections to make it more "real".

These reflections will firstly be of your lighting rig and, secondly, will be static, is the taxi supposed to be moving?

Ed Mash

Oh really!

Reflections of people or cab make it more real.
Kit reflections are a different problem and dealt with Duveteen.

Geoff Boyle

Exactly! If the taxi is moving then it's always best to shoot a moving "reflection" plate for reflections which the post boys drop over the window ...IMHO

I wasn't sure from the original post if the shot of the window involved a moving taxi. Anyway I can't recommend a polariser, even if you get the front screen clear then the rear window can look "lumpy".

Ed Mash

Thanks for all the replies so far..

Apologies for not being more informative - my head is currently spinning with loud tinnitus!
What I know so far is that there will be a "driver" and a "passenger" having a conversation. The moving background behind the taxi will be cartoonish (Think Hanna-Barbera) and the logical place for the master shot is above the bonnet so shooting through the windscreen.

We have got a stunt half a taxi for most of the shots but the master shot will probably include the bonnet and a bit. For some reason the director isn't involved in the post and there seems to be some confusion about what actual shots are needed.

The stage is pre lit with space lights so my plan was to light the actors with a couple of 10K's though a silk and a flat head 80 as a fill. But kit and light reflections are my first concern - especially being so low down and the windscreen having a rake to it.

Thank you all as ever.

Michael Sanders
Lighting Cameraman/Editor - online reel :
Glowstars TV Ltd.
m: 07976 269818


I've been shooting some car studio back projection, and got rid of the reflections reflecting a plate projection from a camera pointing upwards on the windshield. You need just one screen and one more projector which need not be HD, as you are just reflecting. And you also save in post!

All the best

Henrique Leiner
Diretor de Fotografia
Av Armando Lombardi 350 lote 09
Barra da Tijuca 22640-000
Rio de Janeiro Brasil

If you need reflections in the glass use an over head front projection screen with the appropriate images projected on it. Position the screen to reflect into the camera. no post

Nick Hoffman icgdpny

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