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Day for Night


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#1 no_soft_shots

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Posted 12 February 2006 - 07:16 PM

Hi,

I have to shoot a scene day for night and I'm a little unsure how to expose or filter it to get a convincing look. I do not want a over all blue look but more of a soft, dark ambiance.

I'm shooting 35mm on 5279 or 5218.

Shooting with HMI uncorrected outside windows with diffusion to give a soft, very lighting blue moon light look. And hoping for a cloudly flat sky.

My question is should I underexpose? And is so by how much?

If I do underexpose should I pull the film back in processing so I do not get a think neg?

Or should I expose normal and graded in a day for night look?

Or should I use some type of filtration?

I do not want to underexpose as I don't want a contrastly, grain look.

Is there another way to achieveing the day for night look?

thanks

Paul
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 February 2006 - 07:43 PM

First of all, underexposing leads to a thin neg, not a thick one, and pulling also reduces density, so underexposing AND pulling would give you a VERY thin negative. You want to do one OR the other, not both.

Trouble with not underexposing at all is that it is a pretty extreme correction and you may not have a well-balanced negative.

The best thing is to be fairly conservative -- let's say a half-blue correction and maybe one-stop overall underexposure, which won't be enough to look dark enough but allows you to correct further.

Now, you could just pull-process by one stop rather than underexpose by one stop if you want less contrast. Or use a low-con stock or use a contrast-lowering filter, or some combination.

Underexposure doesn't lead to a visible increase in graininess IF you never brighten the image back to normal, but leave it dark. If you don't lift up the image, then the grain should look the same as the stock normally does because the printer lights haven't gotten lower. But the nice thing about day for night is that if you don't want a grainy image, it's easy to use slow-speed stocks - in fact, you'd probably have less grain than normal night photography where you'd be using the fastest film stocks.

5218 or 5279 is rather fast for day exterior work where you're trying to underexpose as well. You'd be using something like an ND1.2 at least if it's sunny, and you'd still be getting a lot of depth of field. Ideally, you'd want to be shooting more wide-open because deep focus looks wrong for night work because in real life, you'd probably never be able to light to an f/8 or more. Why not use 5212 (Vision-2 100T)?

It really depends on whether you get the overcast weather you want for a soft light look. In reality, moonlight would be rather hard on a clear night -- it's just that since our eye's iris opens up wide in such low-light, and most of the information is picked up by the rods instead of cones in our eyes, the image feels soft even though the shadows are hard.

You can also shoot at magic hour for a soft moonlight look (dusk-for-night).

The big problem with faking night is that you never really get the sky to look dark enough, so the effect looks the best when there is no sky in the shot, like in a canyon or something. If you do see some sky, try Polas (if it isn't overcast) and ND grad filters to darken the top of frame.
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#3 no_soft_shots

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 09:01 PM

Thanks David.

[/quote]
The best thing is to be fairly conservative -- let's say a half-blue correction and maybe one-stop overall underexposure, which won't be enough to look dark enough but allows you to correct further.
[quote]

Do you mean half-blue correction on the lens or on the lights?

I'm using HMI's and tungsten stock.

So would i use an 85 on the lens and half blue on the lights? then underexpose one stop taking into account the 85?

OR

No filter on the lens leaving the light go blue and underexposing one stop?

OR

An 85 on the lens with a half blue fliter, then underexposing one stop taking into account the filteration? This method would give me the widest stop for realisc depth of field.
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