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Applying ND to car windows (5 replies and 1 comment)

simon m
1 month ago
simon m 1 month ago

Hi everyone, any tips on applying ND to car side windows? The car will be traveling at moderate speed, not stationary. Thanks.

 

dmullenasc
1 month ago
dmullenasc 1 month ago

I've never found putting ND gels on car windows to work very well, unless it is just the rear window when the camera is pointing back from the front windshield. When viewed sideways, an ND gel looks heavier then when viewed flat-on.  It's the same problem with heavily tinted car windows. Anyway, you might try hard acrylic ND's to avoid ripples; otherwise you'd want to use soapy water and a squeegee to get gel tight to the glass (hard to do with very curved surfaces.) You could also try bobbinet / scrim material if the window will be out of focus enough in the background. But generally I try to avoid doing any of that to a car window -- in fact, often I try and get tinted windows replaced by clear ones.

simon m
1 month ago
simon m 1 month ago

Thanks David, yes that's what I was concerned about. Shooting in daylight, and the inside of the car being several stops darker than the exterior, would you then use a bounce to bring more light onto the driver?

simon m
1 month ago

The camera we're using is not an Alexa, so we're working with 5 stops latitude above neutral grey, and in tests the background scenery clips and the subject is too far underexposed.

Wouter
1 month ago
Wouter 1 month ago

expose for the face

if a window is in the background and it clips, either ND that windows with hard acrylic ND or try sticking a band of diffusion on the windshield and make it light up with a very focused fresnel light. Or muslin on the inside, but leave enough open space as not to obstruct the view of the driver. 

Just try anything to lower the contrast of the scene. Either bring down the overexposed BG or bring up the interior ambient levels of the car. 

But you don't want to bring down the contrast too much, otherwise it will look fake. You still want the outside to be overexposed but keep it from clipping too much. 

Ain't no other solution besides doing it on a sound stage. 

dmullenasc
1 month ago
dmullenasc 1 month ago

I guess try and ND the one window in the BG and drive in backlight.

simon m
1 month ago
simon m 1 month ago

Alright, thanks gents. Just checking in case there was some other possibility I was unaware of.

cheers.

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