Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Tip #57: Film day-for-night

(By Dan Parkes, Director)

As mentioned in the previous post, night shoots are never easy, so it is sometimes more practical to film day-for-night. By means of camera settings and filters and then some post-production colour correction you can take a shot filmed during the day and turn it into night. In Ambleton Delight all of the exterior night shots of the restaurant and Chris' house were done this way. But remember that day-for-night does not always work. Depending on the scene sometimes sunlight can be too strong, building or street lights are not turned on and it can become a post-production headache.

  • Underexpose the image, and then add different filters such as graduated filters to change both the quality and sharpness of the image
  • Use ND filters so you can shoot at or near wide open as you would actually at night
  • An overcast day is generally better -less shadows. If strong sunlight attempt to turn this into moonlight by underexposing.
  • At night colour has less contrast and is more subdued, as it is lit by moonlight. White balance on a yellow or orange card to force a blue tint.
  • Blue gels on lights can also help sell the effect (especially when filming night interiors).
  • Day for Night effects can be added in post in compositing programmes such as Adobe After Effects (check Andrew Kramer's tutorial on this here:

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