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Shooting Night for Day in front of 2 Glass Doors

Patrick Walter

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Hey Everybody,

I'm new to the forum, but I was hoping to get some advice from you guys here. I was asked to light a night for day scene for the web series that I have been gaffing on. This isn't the biggest of problems since it is an interior scene. I've lit this place before, and I've only had to deal with making small windows appear to have sunlight coming in. But in this shoot the main character has a conversation in front of 2 glass doors. It is in a garden level business with the glass doors opening onto a patio area in the front. To top it off, the scene is supposed to take place at dawn.

I can think of a couple ways of lighting this, one being more ideal on a visual standpoint but I am not sure if I have the lighting power to pull it off. I'll start with that one.


Idea 1. Have 1-2 lights aimed through the windows to give the character his rim light while aiming all other lights on the patio. This would hopefully allow the background to not be totally blown out and it would create a more interesting shot. My biggest concern here is that we will also be able to see the dark buildings across the street. This all depends on the camera angle, but obviously the DP is not going to want to shoot down on the subject to avoid this.


Idea 2. Use diffusion on the doors and blast light through them to give them a blown out look. Obviously this will make for a less interesting shot and I don't want this episode to look like a pile of trash as it is Ep. 1 and everything else we've shot has been looking stellar.


Idea 3. tell the producers to go **(obscenity removed)** themselves because shooting in the actual morning would look dope as hell and they need to stop being cheap **(obscenity removed)** bastards.


Personally I like the third Idea, but the DP and I have essentially already tried this. Any thoughts?


I have all tungsten lights.

2 1k's

Lowel DP kit with 3x500 w

200w tweenie

2 500w broad lights

and a few more random lights the rest of the crew might bring.


Hopefully i can get my hands on a couple 1.2 HMI's before this shoot, but it's up in the air.


I'd also take Ideas for gelling the lights to make it look more morning like. I believe a more orange look here is pretty common, but i'm open to experimental ideas.


Also not sure if it matters for sake of dynamic range, but we will be shooting on the FS 700.

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Do you really think you can get away with it with just those lights? For two large windows I'd have thought you'd want at least a 2k coming through each (or a 1.2k hmi). Some shear curtains pulled closed might help you get away with it, but I really think you need more light.

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Well if you can get some shear curtains or venetian blinds on to the windows to obscure the darker exteriors beyond the window, I'd say that should definitely be your starting point.

Here's a recent night for day shot I did, the light had to cover the full length of a doorway, and about the same area again with the full-length window next to it (i.e. a similar sort of area to your 2 glass doors).






These were done at about 9pm at night, with rain POURING down just 4 feet back from the doorway.


The main source firing through the doorway a 1.2k HMI PAR bounced into a white umbrella, and the shear curtains on the right of frame were lit up by a 4-bank Kino Diva on full blast. Fill from inside the room comes from a second 4-bank Kino Diva and a 2-bank Diva.


It's the brightness on that slither of bricks you can see through the doorway, and the glow coming from the shear curtains that really sells the look. If the door were just another inch further open, you'd see the blackness of the night that's right outside.


If you don't have a way to cover/obscure the glass doors properly, then I'd suggest putting some white fabric outside the glass and blowing out the windows for a quick establishing shot - I'd then move in quickly for mids/close-ups and frame out the glass entirely if possible (or just leave slight hints of it in the frame.


If you are able to bring in lights, two 1.2k HMIs would be best, one 1.2k HMI would be better than none, and a couple of Blondies would be a good cheap backup plan.

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