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Day for Night on BW film


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#1 Gregory Almond

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 09:15 PM

I've been looking around and can't seem to find too much information about shooting day for night scenes.

I was wondering if i could get some suggestions, especially for shooting B&W negative, about the processes you go through to get this effect.

Thanks!

~G
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 12:25 AM

I imagine one could do well with a heavy red filter to darken the sky as much as possible and then underexposing.
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#3 Mihai Bodea

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 06:05 AM

there is no recipe for this one. all the day for night effects in the black and white era seem weird today, so using any technique those guys employed would render an unrealistic effect.
in France (and whole Europe) this kind of effects were know as "la nuit américaine"(there is a wonderful movie called this way that you'll have to see), as it was specific to the american style of cinematography; this was a "look".
you will have to test again and again with filters and exposure in different location and lighting conditions, and when you get what you like try to exactly replicate everything, and still expect surprises as the light changes fast.
you can try everything on a dslr first, that was not available for me, but you still need to go in the projection booth and see what it looks like edited on film.
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#4 Ira Ratner

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 07:56 PM

Mihai, if I understand you correctly, that technique was done with black and white film, correct? Or was it color?

And I remember that "nuit" means "night" from my high school French classes!

I'm going to see if that movie is available on DVD, because this really interests me. I'm a total amateur and hobbyist, but this is the kind of stuff that interests me, especially in Florida, where we have tons of sun, but I DON'T have lights for exterior night shooting.
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#5 Mihai Bodea

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 03:40 AM

actually the movie does not reveal a day for night technique, but it shows the life behind the camera in very subtle manner. it shows the way mechanics and human relations behind the camera affect what you see on the screen.
there are many techniques and situations in filmmaking available for the general public to see, yet, as a filmmaker, you still get your share of fun.
and they explain why they call it "la nuit américaine".
it is available on dvd or torrent.
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#6 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 04:26 AM

The principles are basically the same. Underexpose, and try not to have too many hot spots in your frame.

I think the best b&w film I've seen recently that used a lot of day for night was "Reflections in a Golden Eye", worth checking out just to see what techniques they might have used. And to name another Brando movie, "The Wild One" has quite a bit as well with some nice "night time" motorcycle rides.
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