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Shooting at night help


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#1 jed read

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Posted 23 May 2008 - 05:51 AM

Hey I am 13 and I am really into cinematography. I am doing a film for tropfest jr and I am wondering how do night shots in the day. I heard you can set the white balance to inside or a blue tone then bring the brightness down in post. Does this work effectively? B) :D :D
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#2 Nate Downes

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Posted 23 May 2008 - 07:46 AM

No. Night isn't "blue". Night is high contrast, stark highlights with black backgrounds fading off.

That technique you're describing has been used as night, but it is not very effective. The best way to look like night is, well, to shoot it at night.
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#3 Greg Johnson

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Posted 23 May 2008 - 03:45 PM

Hey Jed,
What you're describing is called day for night. It's a technique that was used over 20 years ago when film stocks couldn't really handle low light, and technology, locations, budgets couldn't afford the use of large lights and power demands.

You'll see this technique used in the old Jame Bond movies, or one I remember is Where The Red Fern Grows.

I think Nate was being a little elitist and isn't giving you the full story. He is right that the correct way is to actually shoot at night, but this will require lights, power, and technique. On major motion pictures they have massive generators that are the size of trucks, and 20k lights as big as you that are put up on cranes.

Since you're 13 I assume you don't have an awesome camera, film lights, or much technique. So you're probably stuck with some halogen work lights and whatever you can find in your parents garage. (I've been there btw)

So given your circumstances I think day for night is a great idea. I think it's cool you're reading up on it and asking questions.

The trick is to shoot low-contrast, meaning shoot on a cloudy day, or even better at dusk / dawn when the sun isn't out. Be sure to not over-expose anything. Then in post you boost your whites and crush the blacks. If you want to add a little blue and sell it as the moon that's fine too.

Here is a pretty cool tutorial on some tricks: http://www.videocopi...orial.html?id=1

The benefit of shooting at night, if you have the budget for lights is that your continuity stays the same. You don't have to worry about the sun moving over the course of the day and changing shadows. You don't have to worry about the sun going behind clouds and messing with your exposure, or reflectors.

Anyway good luck, be sure to go out and try it a few times before you get everyone together to shoot so you know what you're doing.



- Greg
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#4 Nate Downes

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Posted 23 May 2008 - 11:54 PM

Elitist? Alright, let's go down to brass tacks.

If you're shooting for B&W, the best results I've gotten were with a deep red filter and a circular polarizer. They gave the harsh contrast you get with direct moonlight.

For color, it's a lot harder. if you have Final Cut Pro, the best results I've seen that didn't require an expensive colorist were found here. It's not perfect, but it can get that twilight feel close enough.
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#5 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 24 May 2008 - 03:00 PM

No. Night isn't "blue". Night is high contrast, stark highlights with black backgrounds fading off.

That technique you're describing has been used as night, but it is not very effective. The best way to look like night is, well, to shoot it at night.


Not necessarily. The distant background can't be lit and the sky will be black.

Here are a couple of Remington night scenes. This look can not be achieved by shooting at night.

Posted Image



http://www.artcyclop...on2-177-029.jpg

The skies would need doctoring in post.
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#6 Albert Smith

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 05:45 PM

A friend of mine created a very convincing day for night effect shooting in somewhat forested area so it was mainly shadowed but with beams of light from the sun shooting through and then in post just brought everything way down and left some contrast...worked well...I didnt question it at all....I would shoot tight and avoid anything bright in your background...wouldn't shoot the sky if you can avoid it.

Edited by Jake Zalutsky, 29 May 2008 - 05:50 PM.

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#7 Michael K Bergstrom

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 05:57 PM

Living in Alaska, with it's 24 hour sun/dusk in the summer, shooters up here have to shoot a lot of day for night. if done right it can be very convincing. On a recent project we shot a driving sequence day for night and it looks all right. Perhaps the DOP can chime in and give some insight on what he did to achieve it.
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#8 Sam Wells

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Posted 31 May 2008 - 12:40 PM

Here are a couple of Remington night scenes. This look can not be achieved by shooting at night.


This makes me think of some of my favorite day for night scenes which are in Jean-Pierre Melville's "Army Of Shadows"

-Sam
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#9 Daniel Smith

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Posted 31 May 2008 - 05:33 PM

Make the sky blue if you want, who says it has to be realistic. You are trying to make a movie here, not a soap opera. The most stunning movies are hardly realistic. Go for hyper-reality, make it look cool.

Great vid by the way, Greg.

Edited by Daniel Ashley-Smith, 31 May 2008 - 05:34 PM.

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