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Brandon McCarthy

Interior Day for Night with Windows

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Hello everyone! First timer here. I stumbled on this forum while searching for the answers to this question, so I hope you can help!

 

I'm developing a short film that takes place in a bar at night with a window facing a busy street. Long story short, I'll need to shoot day for night to keep my location costs down. I'm familiar with the concept of exterior day for night, and I've seen many videos and articles telling me to block out the windows so as to block out the light for interior day for night. However, I can't seem to find anything about when you need to show that window and the exterior at night. I've narrowed it down to only a few shots with the window in frame, but there's no getting around that location's window.

 

I am having difficulty wrapping my head around how to have the shots showing the window to be a night-time street while shooting in the day time. The only thing that comes to mind is shooting with a green-screen to block the window, then go back at night and, without the actors present, shoot the same angles at night, then put it in place of the green-screen in post. If this is the only way, how would you light the green screen while also blocking the sunlight from spilling in?

 

Or is the dreaded rotoscope my only option? Create a matte for the window frame by frame, then adjust the levels and such to make it night, adding lights for headlights and tail lights. In which case, is there anything to be done for lighting to improve the quality or workflow of the rotoscope?

 

Thank you!

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You can't really put ND gel on the window and shoot the view day-for-night since it's not some "moonlit" landscape in the countryside but a busy street with traffic, meaning you need to see lights on, which means that view has to be shot at night for real.

 

So if you really can't shoot inside at night, then your idea of using a green screen and shooting plates at night to composite into the window should work, assuming you do everything correctly in terms of the green screen, the plates, and the composite.

 

You basically need a pretty big black tent for the window, enough to create a black box that is oversized enough to fit some lights inside to both shine into the room from the outside (as street lamps) and to light the green screen.

 

If all of that is too much to handle, then drop some venetian blinds over the windows, close them way down, put a small black tent outside the windows and cram some small lights to rake the blinds, or perhaps hang a neon sign on the window that you see through the blinds and forget about seeing moving traffic out there.

 

Or save one angle in the room for when it's actually night and get permission to shoot one shot at night. Daylight hours are short anyway this time of year so odds are higher of working until dark.

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