Day for Night with a DSLR
Posted 11 May 2011 - 12:22 PM
I've read that the old black and white classics of the 30's used infrared film and got spectacular results turning the blue skies solid black with noonday sun looking like moonlight. Could something similar be achieved with a DSLR and infrared filter?
Posted 11 May 2011 - 02:38 PM
This complicates what you propose, although people who are willing to risk destroying the camera have removed the IR filtering for astronomy-related work. I suspect the best approach in your case is to design the shoot to avoid seeing sky.
Posted 11 May 2011 - 03:24 PM
I would just rent a 1.2k HMI and honda generator. Maybe $250/day? If you have a tiny space and fast lenses you can buy a lot of 500w EBW photofloods and put them in china lanterns around the scene. If the director's unwilling to spring for that, he will get a "Hammer horror" look no matter how you dress it up. Although maybe you could do some night for night and day for dusk and motivate that according to the story and get away with it.
I've never done day for night, but if I were to, I would:
Try to shoot when the light is very harsh, like contrasty and with a clear sky, and the sky on the horizon is about 90 degrees from the sun, so....noon-ish? Shoot 3200K white balance but then desaturate considerably in post.
Use a good polarizer to darken the sky; the polarizer should be pretty effective since the sky near the horizon will be 90 degrees from the sun. You'll need to frame creatively to get as little sky in frame as possible and to make sure the sky you do get in frame is polarized correctly. Wide shots will be tricky, so I'd use an ND grad if necessary. Sky replacement in post is one solution, too.
Use the sun as a key light, filling faces with bounce board as needed. Expose so that the key is one and a half stops under, so maybe 30 IRE on faces? Normally during the day you'd be using the sky as a backlight or side light and so it might be a stop or two, possibly much more, hot...so this would be a drastic amount of underexposure.
Stack tons of ND filters to get a stop of f2 or so on the lens. That way you can believe there's not much light out there and you can blur out the background, making the tricky continuity of finding acceptable backgrounds a little easier.
Even with that kind of approach you'll probably get ugly results. It's day for night, after all.
Edited by M Joel Wauhkonen, 11 May 2011 - 03:28 PM.
Posted 11 May 2011 - 11:57 PM
I'm well pleased and a bit surprised at how well these cameras handle low light with little grain. I'm shooting at ISO 800 at F 3.5 and the tests looked very good from what I saw on the camera's monitor. When he puts the tests on youtube, I'll be able to view it on a good, large monitor.This is the first time I've done anything remotely like a dramatic film in over ten years as I've been primarily shooting news the last 7 years. The last time was a low budget horror film in 16mm, so I'm pleasantly surprised with what I got.Can't say I'm particularly wild about shooting video with a DSLR, they're quite fiddly.
Posted 12 May 2011 - 12:03 AM
Posted 12 May 2011 - 12:36 AM
Posted 07 June 2011 - 01:44 PM
Maybe a time lapse without people in it could substitute for an establishing shot...
But yeah, the major reason besides cost to ever fool with HDSLRs is that right now, the canon is king when it comes to low light shooting. There is a zone around 1600 iso with f/1.4 lenses that hasn't existed before.
Other than that, they are annoying things that break and annoy.
Another thing that is annoying is horror films - if people are going to all this trouble to make a film, please try to make a good one. The economics of the genre dont make sense anymore. The finished film will be lost in a sea of unoriginal dreck, languish on a shelf and all that effort will have been for nothing. The planet deserves better. My two cents, sorry.