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Day for Night


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#1 Jeremiah de Guzman

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 12:25 AM

Hi all.
I'm trying to find out how to do a proper day for night using an Sony Ex/Panasonic with 35mm adapter setup. I dont know if its just a matter of shooting in overcast skies and slapping on nd filters. Can anybody direct me to a thread regarding this matter?

Jeremiah de Guzman
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#2 Patrick Nuse

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 02:56 AM

Hi all.
I'm trying to find out how to do a proper day for night using an Sony Ex/Panasonic with 35mm adapter setup. I dont know if its just a matter of shooting in overcast skies and slapping on nd filters. Can anybody direct me to a thread regarding this matter?

Jeremiah de Guzman


ND filters just change your exposure. they are mostly used to allow a more favorable F-stop for changing your depth of field or to avoid having to use high F stops that the lens will not perform favorably under. Day for night is usually done at dusk so you can more easily control the scene with your own lights. you need to make it appear as if the practicals in the scene are providing the light, such as street lights, store windows or signs etc. then there is the sky itself. you'll likely need to avoid having it in your shot if possible. otherwise you may need to use a grad or something like that to cut the exposure of just the sky. The right filtration will finish the effect or tweaking the color in post. Typically the things that make a scene look like night is a contrast of warm practical lights against a blue ambient lit background.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 10:36 AM

You're describing Dusk-For-Night, which is useful when you have light sources in the frame and want a soft light. Trouble with dusk is that it lasts for such a short time.

Day-For-Night generally means shooting in daytime, either in overcast for a soft light or in sunlight for hard light and dark shadows.

The general rules are:

Shoot in backlight or sidelight for maximum shadows in the frame
Underexpose
Get a bluer color cast
Avoid the sky or darken it with Polas and ND Grads
Avoid deep focus by using heavy ND's

If you are underexposing, your shadows will go blacker so sometimes you actually need to add more fill light for areas where you want to see detail in the darkness. Reflectors are useful for this in sunlight.

I would only underexpose mildly -- you can always darken it in post. Same goes for the blueness, I'd only go for a half-blue color. You can always make it bluer in post, or blue-green if you want.

Day-for-Night doesn't really work if you have light sources in the frame because they don't expose realistically. It also only makes sense in a location where the only source of light would be from the moon (like in the rural countryside), not somewhere like the city where there would be brighter artificial sources at night.
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#4 Jeremiah de Guzman

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 03:50 PM

Thanks a lot for that replies! It points me in the right direction. Its a good thing we're shooting in a wooded area so there won't be a lot of practicals (except for flashlights). Speaking of which, would it better to get a high wattage flashlight bulb?
Thanks a lot.

Jeremiah

Edited by Jeremiah de Guzman, 23 May 2009 - 03:52 PM.

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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 05:20 PM

Thanks a lot for that replies! It points me in the right direction. Its a good thing we're shooting in a wooded area so there won't be a lot of practicals (except for flashlights). Speaking of which, would it better to get a high wattage flashlight bulb?
Thanks a lot.

Jeremiah



Well, I thought I made it clear that day-for-night doesn't work when you have other sources in the frame because they will never expose realistically, even if you found the brightest flashlight in the world. You'd want to shoot dusk-for-night for any shots with the flashlights on, and that's a short window of shooting time.

Or add the flashlight effect in post to daytime footage, which would take a lot of skill to do.
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#6 Jeremiah de Guzman

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 11:05 PM

Well, I thought I made it clear that day-for-night doesn't work when you have other sources in the frame because they will never expose realistically, even if you found the brightest flashlight in the world. You'd want to shoot dusk-for-night for any shots with the flashlights on, and that's a short window of shooting time.

Or add the flashlight effect in post to daytime footage, which would take a lot of skill to do.


I thought flashlights wouldn't matter since their hand held. Just goes to show I need to learn more about the craft. :lol: Thank you for your reply. It really cleared things out for me.

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#7 Keith Walters

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 02:11 AM

Hi all.
I'm trying to find out how to do a proper day for night using an Sony Ex/Panasonic with 35mm adapter setup. I dont know if its just a matter of shooting in overcast skies and slapping on nd filters. Can anybody direct me to a thread regarding this matter?

Jeremiah de Guzman

You're really asking how to do something that for most practical purposes, is simply not possible. In terms of incident photons, the actual ratio of illumination between the same scene at midday and midnight under a full moon is massive. It can easily exceed 100 million to one, ie anywhere between 26 and 32 stops!

So the only way you could ever realistically duplicate the effect of effect of the "pools" of light you get at night from artifical lighting, would be to use massively powerful floodlights everywere and huge amounts of ND to reduce the ambient daylight to nightime levels. Shooting on a gloomy overcast day would certainly help but they tend to be hard to organize...

Or you could what most people do and simply come back when it's dark, with some much smaller lights :rolleyes:

You often see attempts at "day-for-night" in old Hollywood movies when film stocks were too slow for anything else, and it just looks so "wrong". Everybody knows what campfires and car headlights look like at night; and it's not the washed-out looking effect you see in the movies.

But if you're on a budget and you really HAVE to shoot during the day, then your only option is a lot of ND and people holding pieces of cardboard covered in Aluminium foil :(

One trick I have seen with flashlights is to massively over-run a Krypton bulb (eg run 3 Volt bulb off 9-12 Volts). They don't last long but they sure are bright!

Edited by Keith Walters, 24 May 2009 - 02:15 AM.

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#8 alfredoparra

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 12:06 AM

here's my day for night shots, in the night effect clip deep in the back its black and white, I did this is adobe after effects, took about 15 minutes

before

http://s291.photobuc...t=cementary.flv

after

http://s291.photobuc...rrent=color.flv
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#9 Chris Burke

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 07:50 AM

Thanks a lot for that replies! It points me in the right direction. Its a good thing we're shooting in a wooded area so there won't be a lot of practicals (except for flashlights). Speaking of which, would it better to get a high wattage flashlight bulb?
Thanks a lot.

Jeremiah



how ever you end up doing it, I would suggest that you have a very good monitor on set so you will get very good feedback of your image and can tweak it as needed. From Alfreddo's post, it shows how much you have to underexpose. The highlights are the real tell tale for me, they look like day, too hot. A while back when I shot a short on a Beta SP camera, we did day for night in camera with the built in ND and color correction wheel getting the almost monochromatic blue look. I probably got us half way there in camera, then it was adjusted in post.
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#10 Bob Hayes

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 09:02 AM

One of the first films I ever shot had lots of day for night. It took place in oak groves in Southern California and it turned out pretty good. As long as I side or back lit and avoided the sky. I didn’t have any practicals to deal with. One thing I’ve notice is our idea of what night looks like is based on movies with lit night exteriors. That isn’t what night really looks like. When the moon is high and full it pretty much looks like day for night. Single source, no fill, high contrast.
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