How to shoots interior car scenes?

I need to do some diologue in a moving car. I was hoping to do it on a ramp being pulled by a car but we're going to be shooting 2 hours away on location, so that's become impossible. How would you guys do it?


Pro Member
It depends a lot on where the car is supposed to be and at what time of day. If it's at night on a fairly deserted road, it would just take a little lighting ingenuity. On the other hand, if the car's supposed to be driving through a lively city in daylight, you'll probably have to use greenscreen or rear projection. When/where is the car driving and what resources do you have access to?
We'll be driving in Los Osos, which is a small beach town in the San Luis Obispo area. The movie is set in 1999, so it's going to be difficult getting all the cars out of the way. And it's spring break, so there's going to be a lot of kids. I can't get anything there other than the car and the camera.


IndieTalk's Resident Guru
With your limitations you're going to have to shoot the scene
several times. Once with the camera op in the passenger seat
and the actor driving. Then with the camera op in the backseat
shooting the passenger. Try to drive at the same speed and not
stop at all to maintain continuity. Keep the shots as tight as you
can to not show too much of the background.

You have set yourself quite a challenge. I'd love to see it what
it's finished.
Another possibility...if you want frontal shots of the driver/passenger but don't want to mount a camera outside, mount a mirror on the dashboard on the passenger side of the car then shoot from the back seat into the mirror. Have someone else drive the car while the actor plays the scene in the passenger seat.

You can shoot both characters' angles the same way. Because the mirror flips the image, the driver/actor can just pantomime steering (or pick up a prop steering wheel if you want it in frame). Make sure no large print signs are visible through the car windows as they will be backward.

For the passenger angle, change the background outside and flip the image in post. (You can have signs visible for this one, since it will be flipped.) Best to shoot this on a one-way street so any visible traffic is not in the wrong lane.

For the record, I've never actually done this but I have done many similar tricks using mirrors/flipped images.
you could get a car mount and pop the camera on the hood for your master, and mount the camera on the doors looking in threw the windows to get your coverage. google car mounts. and you will probably want to ratchet-strap it down for safety unless you want to put the life of your camera in the hands of a suction cup lol.

is this day or night?
that scene was done with a car sitting still, some grips rocking it back and forth and some electricitions spinning the lights on their stands so they seemed to be passing the car windows (in other words the car stands still and the lights move). Add a fan when steve martin sticks his head out the window and you have a great illusion.
The green screen option is been used even before green was a colour that was seen on TV. Before they used to project actual footage.
Now with the green screen it looks more realistic, still you don't want the actors to drive while acting. It's ok the actor to follow the script while doing some complex action.
However, if by doing so he can crash or run over someone, that should be avoided. Too risky.
You can film some takes on an actual running car, but not the dialog parts at least for the driver talking.

I filmed some sequences in a car which I was driving. I only had to drive with an aptitude, and that was already distracting.