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Day for Night advice


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Hello,

I could use some advice for shooting day for night scenes.  I have a scene where a car drives up to a house, the characters get out and then a wide shot of the house with the characters in front of it.   We will be shooting right around noon.

I'd like to create some kind of a street light feel but if I ND way down I don't know how I can get any light to power through it.

Thanks

Ben

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Since there are car headlights involved, you’d be better off shooting dusk for night (magic hour). If you get lucky and it’s overcast, you could do your tighter coverage in daytime where light sources are not in the frame; or silk everything in the coverage to match the soft light of the wide dusk shots.

Maybe you could get away with DFN if the car is only pointed right into the lens and the lights go out the moment the car stops, and then the bright headlamp glow could be added in post and hopefully no one will notice that the ground in front of the car isn’t being lit by the headlamps. But any other angle and you’d expect the car headlamps to sweep objects in reality as it pulls up. And in DFN, the real headlamps aren’t going to be strong enough to light anything.

DFN works best when the only light source in the scene would be the moon.

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1 hour ago, David Mullen ASC said:

Since there are car headlights involved, you’d be better off shooting dusk for night (magic hour). If you get lucky and it’s overcast, you could do your tighter coverage in daytime where light sources are not in the frame; or silk everything in the coverage to match the soft light of the wide dusk shots.

Maybe you could get away with DFN if the car is only pointed right into the lens and the lights go out the moment the car stops, and then the bright headlamp glow could be added in post and hopefully no one will notice that the ground in front of the car isn’t being lit by the headlamps. But any other angle and you’d expect the car headlamps to sweep objects in reality as it pulls up. And in DFN, the real headlamps aren’t going to be strong enough to light anything.

DFN works best when the only light source in the scene would be the moon.

Thanks David,

Always appreciate your expert advice.  I'll see if I can convince them to move it to dusk.  I think I can avoid seeing headlights.  I just need a close up of a reflection in the review mirror and then the 2 passengers in the back getting out of the car

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The advice to shoot at dusk is really essential.  Headlights and lights perhaps in the house will really sell the effect.

A couple things though:

Dusk for you may only last about 30 minutes.  Be prepared in advance for any lighting that you'll do, and be prepared to quickly lower the intensity of your lights as the night grows closer.

Even at dusk, a wide shot of the house may require sky replacement as a digital effect in post production.  So be ready for this added expense.  Also, in this digital effect one can add shafts of light coming from the house windows or even enhance the light coming from the car headlights.

If you really must shoot this at noon, you can still do the sky replacement and animate the headlights and the light they throw in the digital effect, but it gets more complicated and expensive.  And possibly less convincing.  If the wide shot that shows the sky is done with a locked off camera, this effect becomes easier for the digital artists and may be less expensive.  I once did a wide, moon lit shot, in the desert in the daytime and replaced the sky myself with a starry night and it was very very convincing!  All the coverage was shot not to include the sky...

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 7/21/2019 at 9:22 PM, David Mullen ASC said:

Since there are car headlights involved, you’d be better off shooting dusk for night (magic hour). If you get lucky and it’s overcast, you could do your tighter coverage in daytime where light sources are not in the frame; or silk everything in the coverage to match the soft light of the wide dusk shots.

Maybe you could get away with DFN if the car is only pointed right into the lens and the lights go out the moment the car stops, and then the bright headlamp glow could be added in post and hopefully no one will notice that the ground in front of the car isn’t being lit by the headlamps. But any other angle and you’d expect the car headlamps to sweep objects in reality as it pulls up. And in DFN, the real headlamps aren’t going to be strong enough to light anything.

DFN works best when the only light source in the scene would be the moon.

Hi David,

Based on your advice I managed to get them to shoot dusk for night.  Phew!

I have another car question for you though.  I am doing a free drive with hood mount for straight on and hostess trays for back passenger windows (separate setups).  I'm wondering if you have any advice on shooting through the windshield.  I'll be using RotoPola but since it's free drive I don't think I can rig anything overtop to help with glare/reflection.  Should the polarizer be enough to see the subjects?  Also, we'll be shooting around midday.

Thanks again for sharing your expertise.

 

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On 8/8/2019 at 7:41 PM, Ben Kahn said:

 I am doing a free drive with hood mount for straight on

If by ‘free drive’ you mean that the actors will actually driving the car, then a hood mount from a straight on position is extremely ill advised from a safety point of view. Your actor, who will already be splitting their attention between acting and driving, will not be able to see where they are going. I’d guess that this would probably be both uninsurable and illegal.

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I don't think a pola would be enough since you are also underexposing for DFN, it's hard enough to see them in the daytime when you can overexpose a bit.  You'd probably need to have a light on the hood for fill, which means towing the vehicle.

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On 8/9/2019 at 3:32 PM, Stuart Brereton said:

If by ‘free drive’ you mean that the actors will actually driving the car, then a hood mount from a straight on position is extremely ill advised from a safety point of view. Your actor, who will already be splitting their attention between acting and driving, will not be able to see where they are going. I’d guess that this would probably be both uninsurable and illegal.

Hi,

By "free drive" I mean with a stunt driver so we are cleared to mount to the car.  Thanks

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