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Day for night advice please


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#1 John Milich

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 01:12 PM

Hi again.  So I shot the first part of our little project which was a moon lit scene.  Thank you David Mullen, Phil Rhodes, Travis Gray and Guy Holt for the invaluable advice you've provided me on prior posts regarding this project.  The end result for me anyway, was exactly what I was after.

 

 I now have to shoot the last part this weekend which has a Sheriff walking up a driveway to the door of a house.  This is supposed to be at night.  We do not have the equipment or budget to light up a street at night, so I'd like to shoot this in the day.  There is also a dialogue exchange once at the door with the person inside the house, which would be under tungsten porch and foyer lighting.  To do this, would I balance the camera to 3200K? Which would obviously blue up the outside light.  Then play with the colour after in post?

 

Thanks


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#2 jeff woods

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 02:34 PM

If I'm doing this correctly in my head (and on the fly), you could go even more blue by adding CTO (Full maybe?) to your tungsten and balancing at 2700, or whatever the camera perceives as the new white. That way you could at least get closer in-camera before post.

 

Now, the amount of light outside vs. nighttime is a different beast all together...

 

-j


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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 05:15 PM

The problem with this is having the light inside the house appear realistically brighter than the exterior, which it would of course be at night. Pumping enough light into the inside of the house to achieve this may be as difficult as lighting the exterior, and that's assessing the situation just as a sheer quantity of light problem. Doing that and making it look pretty will be even more difficult.

 

Given the high sensitivity of modern cameras, have you revisited the idea of actually shooting it at night? Day for night is difficult even under ideal conditions.


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#4 John Milich

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 09:43 PM

I never thought of that.  The porch scene I was hoping to shoot at night.  I can actually light the porch.  It's the walk up to the house that was the concern.  Was going to use a glide cam, but can't pull focus on it so I was hoping to use a smaller aperture to keep focus.  


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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 08:02 AM

Why not make this much easier. You shoot the sherrif walking up the driveway at night as well. For lighting, you motivate based off of the car (i am assuming s/he has a car) headlights, maybe using PAR64 VNSPs to cheat them. They walk up rimed by the car headlights, to the porch where you can light easily. Pars have a pretty long throw.

Or you can fake a street light or a security light off of the house and have the car pull up and the guy walk through some light; then cut to the porch ect.

 

DfN isn't super easy to do in a situation such as this for the reason Phil mentions.


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#6 John Milich

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 10:24 AM

The scene is up in Northern Ontario cottage country.  Houses are spread out, lots of trees, no street lights so it's no suburban area.  It's quite dark at night.  The shot was supposed to be an over the shoulder of a Sheriff walking up the driveway using a glide cam set up following him.  There is no car.  The shot was holding on the house.  I was going to use a sound effect of a car rolling up a gravel drive way, door opens and closes, then he walks into frame, and he's followed up to the door where the dialogue between Sheriff and home owner take place.  It was to take place right at the door, with porch lighting, and the house interior light on as well.  My dilemma was with the glide cam and focus.  Perhaps I'll just nix the glide cam shot and go shoulder rig so I can keep the focus at f2.8.


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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 11:23 AM

Day for night exteriors around a house would only work if moonlight was the only light source in the scene, no porch lights, no window lights (unless you are prepared to put 10K's and Maxibrutes inside every window when viewed from the outside), and then you'd want to use a lot of ND to shoot at f/2.8 so that you didn't have a lot of depth of field, which is one of things that makes day for night look fake, so that doesn't solve your focus pulling problems.  Plus you can't really mix a day for night shot with a bunch of night for night shots unless you can light up the night work to almost daylight, lots of blue moonlight everywhere so that it almost looks like day for night.


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#8 John Milich

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 12:32 PM

Well that settles it then lol.  Guess I'm shooting this at night and will just alter my approach slightly.  


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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 10:36 PM

Hell w/o showing the car it'd make my life a lot easier. I'd just make very bright car-headlights. Or you could go with a silhouette against the lit up porch. Or you could "make" a street-light (like those sodium vapors a lot of farms happen to have, if it's period appropriate and aesthetically pleasing.) just spitballing here.


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#10 John Milich

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 04:53 PM

I have an ARRI 650, 150, and a 1k to play with. I may fake the shed light or stay fairly tight and try moon light with the 1k and CTB. Here's the house. scene takes place under the overhang with the white pillars. I couldn't fit the whole pic but the driveway is quite a bit longer

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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 04:59 PM

That's a beautiful house, and offers quite a few placed to put lights. Have you thought of throwing the 1K through one of those windows (and probably the 650 as well) to throw a shaft out onto the driveway?


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#12 John Milich

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 06:15 PM

That's a beautiful house, and offers quite a few placed to put lights. Have you thought of throwing the 1K through one of those windows (and probably the 650 as well) to throw a shaft out onto the driveway?

Hmm, no I didn't.  Would that be realistic, to have that much light pouring out of a window like that?  I know it would look good as the light could be shaped by the blinds and what not.  I also want  to be able to kick the actor off the black sky, and be able to justify the light.  Or am I over thinking this?  I was kind of thinking to put that 1k up high just off to the right side of that white down spout on the right of the photo to hopefully throw some moonlight across the porch.  But I also realize that may not be a good idea seeing as the whole yard would probably be flooded with that kind of light, and I don't exactly have a Musco truck.


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#13 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 06:17 PM

I mean; realistic in reference to what? Of course no one really has 1Ks in their living room shooting out of a window-- but then again; how often are people rim-lit by the moon with a glisten in their eye? Realistic is all well and good, but at the end of the day it's all about what is believable in the world of the film.

 

I'll give you a great example of something I've shot. Once I was filming a kid on an MX red, and the scene was the kid sitting on the bed, so I threw up a 1.2K HMI through both windows, one in front of him, and one behind him. The one in front I threw through the lace curtains, and the one behind we put through a little opal on a 4x4 frame. Now when you looked at it in the room, it looked like the planet had 2 suns-- but when you're looking at the shot in the monitor, it looks good. Now I know there's "2 suns" in this room, as does the gaffer and the dir ect, but I don't think anyone in the audience ever noticed, nor cared-- certainly no one I showed it to ever asked me  "hey why did you have two sources like that?" We often "cheat" reality quite a bit so long as people are engrossed in the film they're not going to start dissecting the shooting so long as it flows.


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#14 John Milich

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 06:21 PM

I mean; realistic in reference to what? Of course no one really has 1Ks in their living room shooting out of a window-- but then again; how often are people rim-lit by the moon with a glisten in their eye? Realistic is all well and good, but at the end of the day it's all about what is believable in the world of the film.

Good point.  And to that I guess it's the eye that sees it so bright, not the lens.  I do like the idea and will play around with it.  Thanks for the advice


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#15 John Milich

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 11:00 AM

So my shoot went well.  After seeing it, there are some things I would have done differently, i.e kicked a bit more light off the back of the subject to create more background separation.  All in all it worked out well.  On an earlier post, it was mentioned to expose a touch under for scenes like this.  I've pushed and pulled exposure with film long ago, but digital scares me a bit.  Would you get a good night lighting result by exposing spot on, then playing with it in colour correction with software such as Colorista II by Red Giant?  I exposed this recent project about 2/3 under overall and it yielded good results.  Just wondering what you guys do.


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#16 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 11:48 AM

Depends on the camera a bit. Some of them do better with over exposure than others-- but since you can normally see what you're getting i find it best to judge by eye and temper by experience-- e.g. get it lit to look good, and then go hmm.. meter says I should be at a F4, but that looks too bright; so i'll maybe close down a stop and a half.


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#17 John Milich

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 12:06 PM

Depends on the camera a bit. Some of them do better with over exposure than others-- but since you can normally see what you're getting i find it best to judge by eye and temper by experience-- e.g. get it lit to look good, and then go hmm.. meter says I should be at a F4, but that looks too bright; so i'll maybe close down a stop and a half.

Right now I'm shooting on DSLR with a 7D and T2i.  I actually did come across the scenario you mentioned, where the meter told me one thing, but it looked a little bright on the LCD display.  My question is, how accurate are the on board displays?  i know once the footage is viewed on the computer, it's vastly different from monitor to monitor.  I tend to trust my meter, it's given me great results especially since the one I use has the software to calibrate it to the cameras sensor/lens combination, and It displays midtone measurements.  By using this midtone information I know if I'm to far one way or the other regarding exposure, as the cameras dynamic range is displayed right on the meter.  I remember well, shooting on the ARRI BL 16mm a long time ago, and obviously then, all you had was the meter to go by.  I tend to treat the digital realm, at least on DSLR the same.  Maybe I'm not making full use of the technology as it stands today.


Edited by John Milich, 01 November 2013 - 12:08 PM.

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#18 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 12:19 PM

No, I think you're on the right path. Personally, I do about the same most of the time. I don't really trust monitors, and much prefer my meter. And then it's down to your experience. That all said, there is an expression i've come across recently which I find quite fitting for this type of stuff-- that the onboards are generally "good enough for government work." What I take it to mean is that if you assume the monitor is the worst possible viewing condition you have-- and normally it is on set-- then if it looks "Ok" there it'll also look "ok" in more ideal situations. But you can't control, obviously, for ever variable an mis-set tv or PC out there so I think it's all about making the most informed judgement you can based off of what you have around you-- meters, monitors, computers for DIT station, and just having done it day in day out for awhile.


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#19 Eric Wobma

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:33 PM

What we often do in the Netherlands is: mount two equal lights (2k's, or 1K's or Parcan's, or anything) as the headlights of passing cars on a Western Dolly or a Wheelbarrow or anything that moves nicely. Find an angle that makes it logical that cars pass there without actually coming across in the rear of the frame.

Have your Best Boy fast-walk a steady course for practically all the night.

 

You have extra backlight on occasion, not every time, but thanks to walkie talkies you can have it when you really need it.

 

Sound effect of passing cars right from the start + this effect will make sure the audience is used to it BEFORE you really need it.

 

Many Greetings from Amsterdam,

(and excuse me if my English is not rock solid all the time …)

 

Wob


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#20 Eric Wobma

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:56 PM

Sorry all, my fake headlights thing was meant for a genuine night shoot only.

 

Day for night shooting is always hazardous.

In the Netherlands practically impossible because we almost always have a lot of clouds during the day.

(As we all know: if you see obvious clouds in the night, something is wrong. There are a thousand-and-one examples for this blatant mistake. One of them is the fun scene in LIFE OF BRIAN where John Cleese as the Roman Centurion teaches Brian to spell properly in Latin when his night watch catches Brian…)

 

All crew members hate night shoots, and understandably so. They all to the same job they were doing if it was day time.

But lighting crew and camera crew, they should have a ball !

Night shoots is so much fun !!

 

Thanks for having me here !!

 

Wob


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