Shooting interior vehicle shots can easily turn into a big number, creeping over you like Freddy does, while you sleep. Traditionally, they can be shot for real, on a low loader or with a specially modified vehicle. You can also shoot them in a nice warm studio, which is what we were tasked to do.

For Netflix’s, The Innocents and BBC’s Poldark we brought the studio technique into the 21st century. For both shows, a handful of shots had been acquired by traditional means, leaving a section to be shoot on a Green Screen stage.

It’s possible to shoot background plates with a single camera or an array, depending on budget and technique. We opted for a current technique borrowed from the VR world, which was 360° capture. We used two systems, a 5-way A7 rig and larger format rig consisting of two, back to back, Weapons. The latter provided the higher res plates and conformed to the HDR standard.

Sony A7 rig for a lower res output.

The rig was mounted on a stabilised arm, which underslung the cameras, providing a relatively clean Field Of View. The locations were locked off enabling us to shoot long, uninterrupted, passes of background material.

Weapons back to back
A shot inside the cab of the two camera outputs
A section from the stitched LongLat frame

On the Stage

In preparation for the Green Screen shoot, we stitched all of the plates into Long Lat sequences and designed a VR playback system capable of a real-time output. A key part of the system was the ability to create virtual camera, select an angle from the LongLat’s and output the result without a perfomance hit. This allowed us to select the same angle as the practical camera and output that view onto the LEDs.

In this case, the LED’s provided an interactive light source from the passing environments that matched the background. The same technique could be scaled to provide an in-camera effect without the need for any post-production.

A Previz render of the proposed set-up
House lights panoramic shot of the rig
A camera position with the LED array in the background

The results speak for themselves. The background material and light movement feel realistic and convincing. The set-up was straight forward and removed a lot of the guesswork from shooting Green Screen; perhaps the future of in-vehicle shooting…?

Below is a short reel of the ungraded results, split-screened, before and after. Car movement vibration was added during the online in order to match shots with the low loader material.