Posted 17 April 2009 - 12:01 AM
Are there any online resources that discuss the basics of moonlighting?
Posted 17 April 2009 - 09:05 AM
If the story calls for the building to be dark, I'd go for beauty, as was previously suggested.
Depending on how wide your building shot is, the size of the building, your composition, and the size of your lamps, you will probably need more than one moonlight source. It can look pretty bad when ground level items are nicely moonlit while rooftops and trees go to total darkness.
Also depending on the situation, if there is any dark dead space visible around the sides of the building, I'd consider having some lights back there to suggest sources (streetlights, porch lights, etc) in the distance. 1k fresnels pointed toward camera work pretty well, if you can get them far enough away. If you can't get that far away, snoot the lights to make them appear smaller (blackwrap works just as well, and is cheap).
Lastly--and not to sound presumptuous, but only because shooting at night is such a different animal at the low/no budget level--spend as much time as you can outside at night before you shoot, preferably in a location similar to that which you will be shooting. I once spent an hour a night each night for a month just observing moonlight in its different phases. Take someone with you when you can, but also go alone a few times. Best education ever. And still difficult to replicate, especially when shooting on a very low budget , as you mentioned. I've certainly learned that--especially at that level--it takes a good many lamps to make something look dark. Make the best with what you have available. One location I shot could have turned out beautifully with only 3 lamps, but the shot that we finally deemed necessary to the story required 7 when I only had 5 (I wasn't able to scout the location prior to shooting, unfortunately). In the end I sacrificed the rooftop and treetops to darkness because there were other story elements more important to the shot than my aesthetic taste. Shot selection and composition will make or break you. Be prepared to make such sacrifices, but also be prepared to fight for better choices in serving the story.
Have fun. Let us know how it goes.
Edited by Shane Bartlett, 17 April 2009 - 09:08 AM.