Lighting Plane Interior (2 replies)

10 months ago
Mikeoconnor 10 months ago

Hi Guys,

I'm having trouble finding material on lighting a plane interior.

I'm shooting a small online commercial in a couple of weeks. The primary set is a scale section of plane interior built for staff training purposes. For all intensive purposes, it's a standard 5 seat wide and 5 seat deep section of plane interior, only it's on the ground and inside.

We don't have all the budget in the world and we'll need to move quickly. So I'm looking for cost efficient ways to light this small space in as broad a strokes as possible to limit the amount of manoeuvring needed between slates, whilst still maintaining a bright commercial look.

At the moment I'm imagining some LiteMats or similar on the ceiling to give some general top/space light and bringing as much diffuse light as I can afford through the tiny windows on either side. I'll probably then have another LED panel I can move for each take to add fill where needed.

Any tips would be very welcome. My main concern is making this look high key and commercial yet still realistic all without filling the small space with kit that needs to be moved every time we change setups.

Through initial discussions, we're not worried about the movement of light to create a sense of motion, that I think is above and beyond what will be possible on our budget. But we would like the lighting to be somewhat convincing and not obviously setup just off camera.

Thanks for your help!


10 months ago
Mike 10 months ago

Being a commercial, I assume it’s going to have actors with dialogue seated near or next to each other. In film or TV production there will normally be a number of sets designed and built specially for the various scenes. In your case you are really restricted for space as it’s already purpose built for cabin crew training. These mock cabins already have lights installed so you should try and take advantage of those first to see how the light falls. It’s difficult to know what you need as you have not mentioned what exactly you are filming. Obviously, LED’s are compact and resetting is not problem especially if they are dimmer-able but I certainly would try and light the cabin from outside the windows to make it more authentic. Moving a light source slowly up and down will creat a sense of movement but it all depends on the script.  There are a whole stack of complete aircraft fuselages near you with plenty of space to film so you are not limited to one aircraft type. I have filmed in a number of aircraft including a Catalina which is impossible. The cosiest one being a Short Sandringham flying boat which once belonged to Maureen O’hara, but we had the whole aircraft and the space in the hangar to light it but the galley scenes were impossible to light as they had no windows. Never had LED’s then (BBC drama). Spot lamps in the cabin ceilings are quite intense so try using those with additional bounce may be enough. It all depends of what you are trying to achieve but side lighting is the way to go if it’s talking heads etc.

Let us know how you get on.

9 months ago
zakaree 9 months ago

Honestly I would try your hardest to key from the windows (assuming its daylight outside the airplane)

rent a m18 and blast it through some diff and let those windows go nuclear.


inside just throw up some led panels high and front light the passengers.. you can throw another LED panel behind and to the side (which ever side is not in the shot) to give a slight back light just for shape.. then neg fill the side opposite of the window

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