Categories: vfx

Using A Green Screen To Shoot The Interiors Of A Vehicle

Shooting the interior of a car, spaceship or airplane may be an integral attribute of your story’s narrative. Compositing the interior against a background that is believable can result in VFX sequences that are truly breath-taking.

Seamless integration of vehicle interior scenes involves pre-production, production and post-production processes. During pre-production, the team brain-storms the particulars of the shot. This involves putting into place the complete scene even before it is shot, with the help of animatics or storyboards. It also includes placing the actors and camera to optimize the lighting of the scene.

The background of a scene

If you are looking to use VFX for films, you have to take into consideration multiple factors when shooting a scene that involves the interior of a vehicle. This includes the season (weather and climate), time of day, the speed of the vehicle in question, the locale along with its identifiable landmarks right down to the name and number plate.

It is imperative that the background to your shot is in-sync with the plot of your narrative. For instance, if your vehicle is racing across the beach, it doesn’t hurt to have a pier around. Similarly, if the location of your vehicle is close or identical to the adjacent scene, you could use a single still, especially if the characters in the scene are mostly going to be stationary. You could even shoot the scene yourself.

The resulting shot would have the same look-and-feel as the moving ones. Additionally, you would achieve your objective with a substantially less effort since the car is already parked. Furthermore, this gives your shot the same look as the succeeding sequence minus the hassle of having to shoot the exterior video all by yourself.


Is your vehicle moving in the scene? If so, the interior of the vehicle has to mimic motion. The actors in the shot should appear as moving in tandem with the exterior. In lieu of using an actual rig to manually move the car, you could consider adding a virtual camera shake in post.

Using after effects, you could apply camera shake not only to the interior of your car but even to the number plates to depict motion. One neat alternative to create motion in an interior shot is to have members of the crew physically shove the outside of the vehicle during the course of the shoot.

If you are using your crew members, please note – the rocking motion should not be vigorous or violent, like a tornado or an earthquake. Instead, a coordinated and smooth motion can portray a successful illusion of locomotion.

The latter method enjoys myriad of advantages. It’s free, cuts time during the post-production process and, if executed properly, is every bit as life-like as the real thing.

Practical lighting

Before the inception of shooting, contemplate about the plate the shot will be composited with. It could be a busy thoroughfare around late evening or the middle of the day with an abundance of sunlight.

To ensure the quality of your shot, make sure that an object or a stage-help hand is constantly waved in front of the protagonist’s face in the presence of key light. The speed should be the same as that of the background plate. If there are a lot of obstacles along the way or the pace is brisk, you should create a flicker. For a slow drive, the motion should be more subtle.

Any and all shots should undergo an exhaustive introspection in advance. All said and done, if you are taking a course to learn VFX & your gut tells you that your best chance at a perfect shot is in a real-life environment, go for it! There are both pros as well as cons to shooting the entire scene outside and you will certainly relish the challenges as well as the opportunities.


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