Steven: So you had a set up with Russell Crowe in a car, a pod driver on top of the car. A bonnet beam with a couple of cameras pointed at the actor?
Brendan: Well sometimes Russell did his own driving. When he was, I was careful not to mount anything in front of him that would obstruct his view.
Steven: How did you deal with the windshield ?
Brendan: I used polarizers to see through the glass and kill flare, but still sometimes in certain directions, because of the angle of the glass, the sun would be shining down the lens. We would pick roads and directions to give us the best result with the glass.
Steven: With the windshield, and some flare and not using lights much, did you ever worry about missing performance? Was sound an issue? Were there other issues you had to deal with technically?
Brendan: The weather was the biggest issue. We would get rain sometimes. But you would never be fully sure as to when you would get it. You couldn’t dry out the background. So, we would do the opposite by doing a wet down first thing. So, if it did rain later, the background would match and we just put raindrops on the window. Continuity wasn’t perfect, but for most audience members, it worked.
Steven: How would you and the director judge the quality of the shot if you weren’t right there, with the cameras mounted on the car and Russell driving?
Brendan: We had wireless transmitters and a video set-up in a van. The van would either lead or follow the hero car. We also had remote irises on every camera, so we could adjust the stop without stopping or leaving the van. The DIT and the sound set-up was also in that van with us. I think this is the only efficient way to shoot car material; with the camera department and the sound crew in a purpose-built vehicle driven by a stunt driver.
Steven: Would you use any diffusion over the car? Or any lights at all in special circumstances?
Brendan: We did use some lights. An LED Skypanel, which like all of the lights we chose we could run on batteries. Again, a lot of what we did and our choices of equipment were dictated by the limitations of the weather, the schedule and what we had to do. I honestly believe that you need limitations. Having choices isn't necessarily a better thing.
Steven: Where was the Skypanel mounted? Did you have something inside the car? Where would you put it?
Brendan: I hate lights inside the car. I don’t ever believe them. Maybe sometimes at night, a little Micro flow to look like a light from the dashboard. As for the Skypanel, it would be on the hood, right through the glass. Very soft and at a low level. Just to fill in the face, but only when we were using the pod, so that the actors weren’t endangered.