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Day for night


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#1 Melissa North

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 09:46 PM

Hi,

I realise the topic of 'day for night' has been discussed quite a bit in previous posts, and I have read a lot of these posts, from which I have realised that 1. there are alot of different ways to create day for night and 2. I therefore have a lot of testing to do.

Im soon to be shooting a low budget short on super 16 (if I am given some super 16 footage to test on , its not going to be much), so for now I am doing tests on 35mm stills. I have shot on 16mm a few time but still have a lot to learn and there are a lot of things in this up coming film which I need to test.

We have a scene in a forest, many close up shots but also several wides, and many mtion shots (tracks etc). The largest light I have access to is a 2k Blonde, I know from helping on a previous production with the same equipment that a 2k in a dark forest is not adequate, particularly for wides.

So I figure day for night is probably the best way to go.

I have a few questions which if anyone could help answer I would be very grateful.

1. I really hope to test day for night on the stock I will be using eventually, but for initial tests do you think 35mm stills will give me a fairly accurate idea?

2. From previous posts I have quite a few different ideas of how to create D4N to test. But if anyone has some stills that they would be happy to post and share, with the particular techniques utilised to create D4N, that would be very helpful.

Thank heaps,
Mel.
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#2 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 05:41 AM

I really hope to test day for night on the stock I will be using eventually, but for initial tests do you think 35mm stills will give me a fairly accurate idea?


Yes, I think so... if your filtering solution can be tested as well, just the same as what you plan to do.
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#3 Melissa North

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 06:34 AM

Thanks Laurent.

It seems general questions regarding the topic of 'Day for Night' is one that few people reply to in this forum. I'm not sure why, perhaps I am soon to find out...

Thanks again,
Mel.
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#4 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 07:04 AM

Well... As you mentionned, it's been discussed often...
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 10:16 AM

Ad nauseum...

The general rules are:

(1) Use a tungsten-balanced stock (you may have to use blue filters with 35mm still film unless you get the tungsten-balanced E6 slide film),
(2) Shoot with no color-correction (or less than the full 85B color-correction, depending on the blueness you want) -- BUT first shoot a gray scale with the correct 85B filter, at normal exposure, so that the following footage without the filter, or a less strong filter, looks bluer and darker in comparison,
(3) Underexpose -- about a stop and a half, depending on how you tend to expose or read a meter -- remember that you can always make it even darker in post,
(4) Avoid the sky -- you will never make it black enough. If impossible to avoid the sky, try ND grads and Polas to darken it.
(5) Shoot in backlight or cross-light, whatever keeps more of the frame in shadows,
(6) Conversely, because your subject will be in backlight and underexposed, you may need more fill light (like from reflectors) to bring up certain areas in the darkness,
(7) Use ND filters so that you can shoot at a wider-open lens aperture to reduce depth of field.
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#6 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 04:48 PM

And don't forget that even star DPs got fired because of day for nights... It's a pain to really be satisfied with them... The best being NOT to shoot day for night...
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#7 Melissa North

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 05:58 AM

And don't forget that even star DPs got fired because of day for nights... It's a pain to really be satisfied with them... The best being NOT to shoot day for night...


Yikks!! Thanks for the warning...
Unfortunately, as Ive mentioned I dont have enough light to actually shoot at night, it may turn out that it will be better to change the scene to day- dawn or dusk perhaps, but Ill go ahead with my still tests and see what comes of them.

Thanks again.
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#8 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 07:58 AM

We sometimes get good results by the magic hour, when it's not night yet but already dark. It's easier to make it "night" at this time of the day... but you don't have a lot of time to shoot, then...
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#9 Melissa North

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 11:30 AM

Mmm... very good point. Its a short scene but quite a frantic scene and I imagine will consist of many shots. If D4N tests are not sucessful perhaps magic hour scheduled over several days is an option. And if this is not ideal for the overall schedule perhaps we need to rethink our approach to the scene: I dont think it is necessary (in terms of the story) for the scene to take place at night (although my director-writer may disagree). But it should in some way be distinctly different from the rest of the film as it is the only scene which is a representation of the characters imagination; there are many other techniques we can utilise to create this distinction. Anyway...I will do D4N tests first, I dont want to rule it out untill Ive really tried it.

In regards to 'magic hour' (this may seem like a silly question sorry) but do you think that pre-sunrise and sunrise light is much the same as sunset and post-sunset light? When I think about it I think of pre-sunrise as being quite 'light' but very cold-blue, then golden as the sun rises; and sunset as golden, but post sunset as dark and certainly not that blue that you get at dawn...Mmm, not sure if this is my skewed perception or if they are actually quite different and if they are why they are...
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 11:42 AM

If you're shooting before the sun rises or after the sun has set, the light is bluer, and definitely bluer on tungsten stock without the 85B filter. Not a real difference between sunrise and sunset other than the color changes constantly and the weather / atmosphere conditions are a factor. For example, in some cities there is more air pollution by the afternoon, so the sunset is redder than the sunrise. But again, I'm talking about sunlight, not ambient skylight after the sun is gone, which tends to be colder unless it was so overcast that it doesn't matter.

Which is another point, that in overcast day conditions, you can get a dusk-for-night look without waiting for dusk.
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#11 Stephen Williams

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 02:20 PM

.

Which is another point, that in overcast day conditions, you can get a dusk-for-night look without waiting for dusk.


David,

Zurich is the perfect place to shoot a movie at dusk!

Stephen
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#12 Melissa North

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 07:31 PM

Thanks all,

You've been very helpful.

Mel.
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 12:51 AM

Come up to Helsinki -- it's still light at Midnight now, and it starts getting brighter again at 3:30 in the morning!
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#14 James Cole

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 07:29 PM

I know this is an old topic but I just thought I'd add something because I tested some DV day-for-night stuff today. It's for a trailer that we intend to use to help get finance for a film set entirely at night. I had bright sunshine for most of the test, at around five-six pm, and I used a Sony DCR-VX2000E. I found that putting the inbuilt ND filter up to 2 and using its indoor white balance preset to get a blue tint, plus stopping down to F9.6, gave a really useful day-for-night look provided there's no sunlit patches in the shot whatsoever (which shouldn't be a problem on our trailer shoot). Even with sunlight in shot the effect is pretty good. Stopping right down to F11 gave a better night look but it lost almost all detail, even when I used a reflector and/or a light to try and kick up some highlights. F9.6 is every so slightly warm on flesh tones but if needs be we can correct that digitally. All in all, I was quite happy with the look.

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#15 Dan Horstman

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 04:31 PM

I've shot day for night a couple times and the one that looked the best was shooting Kodak 320T underexposed by 3 stops and pushed 1 stop in processing. This was shot in the woods in the late spring before leaves sprouted in the middle of the afternoon. Upon viewing the work prints (where I instructed the timer to keep things cool but not blue and told him it was supposed to be day for night) everybody asked what lights I used to make it look like a full moon? Answer...just the sun.

I tried other things before this...but now will only use this method as it is the only thing I've seen that looks close to what night actually looks like. Now I use the 200T Vision 2 instead of the 320T and it looks just as good.

Edited by Dan Horstman, 27 July 2006 - 04:32 PM.

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#16 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 05:08 PM

Here's my first attempt at Day for Night (without any correction in post)

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#17 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 05:14 PM

I've shot day for night a couple times and the one that looked the best was shooting Kodak 320T underexposed by 3 stops and pushed 1 stop in processing. This was shot in the woods in the late spring before leaves sprouted in the middle of the afternoon. Upon viewing the work prints (where I instructed the timer to keep things cool but not blue and told him it was supposed to be day for night) everybody asked what lights I used to make it look like a full moon? Answer...just the sun.

I tried other things before this...but now will only use this method as it is the only thing I've seen that looks close to what night actually looks like. Now I use the 200T Vision 2 instead of the 320T and it looks just as good.


Interesting, tell me more... Explain why it's better to underexpose 3 stops and push one than just underexposing by 2 or 2 and a half stop ? Because of the contrast ? The grain ?

And what about the timing in post ? Did you have to overprint ? underprint ? was it ok like this ?
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#18 Dan Horstman

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 12:09 PM

Interesting, tell me more... Explain why it's better to underexpose 3 stops and push one than just underexposing by 2 or 2 and a half stop ? Because of the contrast ? The grain ?

And what about the timing in post ? Did you have to overprint ? underprint ? was it ok like this ?


We wanted to just barely see skin tones and the highlights on the trees etc. So we underexposed by 3 in order to be just on the edge of what the film could render. We pushed one stop because my director was scared we wouldn't get anything...so I did that to hedge our bets a little...and it worked out so well that now I just do the same every time.

It also made the blacks crisper and upped the contrast. We printed the whole movie to one light that we established in tests. On these shots I told the timer what we were going for and that he could play with it a little to give us the best night look in his oppinion. I have the timing report at home somewhere so I'll see if I can find it and I'll post the lights used. But I don't think they were much different than the lights we established in our tests.

Edited by Dan Horstman, 28 July 2006 - 12:11 PM.

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#19 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 12:11 PM

You have more guts than me -- the trouble with 3-stops under is that it may be perfect for what you want but the image may crap out at 3 1/2 stops under, so your margin for error in exposing is slim.
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#20 Dan Horstman

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 12:22 PM

You have more guts than me -- the trouble with 3-stops under is that it may be perfect for what you want but the image may crap out at 3 1/2 stops under, so your margin for error in exposing is slim.



It really works best when the sun is directly overhead so you don't get big shadows. If it is slightly overcast that is even better. And you really need to take spot readings on every highlight and midrange area to see how this is going to render on the film since you only have about 1/2 to 1 stop of effective lattitude doing it this way. Don't trust the incident reading.

I've played a lot with underexposure and pushing film. (A symptom of buying a camera fresh out of film school and not having enough left over for lights)

My favorite is shooting 7250 in dark bars, wide open (for me F 1.6) cross processing and pushing 2...there is almost nothing on the film for the colorist to work with...but damn does it look great for gritty hard rock shows.
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