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Hello everyone,

I am shooting a short feature film soon and I have one quite long interior scene (kitchen/living room) which should be set in blue hour. I was thinking about many possibilities, but can’t decide which one is the best solution. Should I film it during a cloudy day, with some ND and CTB on windows, what light source should I use from the outside? Also, I am combining warm interior lighting with bluish outside light. How to balance those exposure levels of light sources and color temperatures to create proper realistic atmosphere? I really like how Mikhail Krichman did it in Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan, but I think they filmed it with natural ‘Nordic’ light. Any help? 🙂

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Have you done a test doing a day for night interior? You can ND the windows if you're using practicals inside, although using tungsten film lights may reduce the amount required. 

You need a daylight source outside, HMIs are the usual tool, how large will probably be limited bu your budget, but it needs to to be  put through a diffusion frame, to soften the light if you're going for that effect.

 

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13 hours ago, Mladen Teofilović said:

Hello everyone,

I am shooting a short feature film soon and I have one quite long interior scene (kitchen/living room) which should be set in blue hour. I was thinking about many possibilities, but can’t decide which one is the best solution. Should I film it during a cloudy day, with some ND and CTB on windows, what light source should I use from the outside? Also, I am combining warm interior lighting with bluish outside light. How to balance those exposure levels of light sources and color temperatures to create proper realistic atmosphere? I really like how Mikhail Krichman did it in Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan, but I think they filmed it with natural ‘Nordic’ light. Any help? 🙂

Hi, 

If your scene is composed of several shots and you think that the shoot of the scene is going to last for a couple of hours I'd suggest to look for a location that is north orientated or is in the shade for most of the day. 
If you get one of those locations you will be able to shoot for a couple of hours without the light changing much. 

You can add 1/4 of  CTB to the windows, put some voile nets / curtains over the windows and there you go. 

I did the above in a sequence from this commercial (00:40)
https://vimeo.com/430717354

The warm light inside the bathroom is a practical light and we shot in that bathroom for 2 hours (we did several shots although there are only 2 in the cut).

Hope it helped!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would avoid ND for windows. It sounds great in theory, but it's expensive, and the work is useless when clouds roll in. It sucks when you can't record because it's so dark outside, but you don't want to pull the ND off because it may get brighter again. I've found it easier to work around the limitation or lift the room and add sheers/blinds to break up the overexposure.

You can't choose to shoot on a cloudy day. So, I'd suggest to choose a location where you can shoot toward windows that don't visibly change exposure during the day, and use the skylight as your baseline. This will vary depending on the house. North-facing windows are great because it's consistent skylight. East or west side is great when the sun isn't punching through them. But south can be good if you can top the windows with floppies to cut sun from inside. But none of these will work if there's a white fence or building in the window for the sun to burn out. So be aware of what the sun will hit. I've shot at a house with tall trees encircling the yard, giving me an f8 for window exposure. I've shot at a house with no trees and sun-blasted fence that gave an f16 window exposure. So location matters.

After that, sheers and blinds are a great way to add texture and mood to your scene. Even half-pulled shades.

You can blue the skylight either with ctb gel or white balance to 3200. This is a creative decision. Some folks like it bluer than others. Keep in mind CTB also cuts light (1 2/3 stops I think).

Then make the practicals bright enough to be believable. (Yes houselights are warmer than skylight, so I'd keep them warm.) Add to the practicals with motivated set lighting for talent, like normal. LED sources make this very easy to adjust when clouds roll in. Perhaps look into the Philips Hue bulbs for practicals to control their intensity and color balance.

Blue hour is when the sun is gone, so there wouldn't be a need for exterior lights, unless for something specific to your situation. If you want a sodium "streetlight" through a window, for example.

These are my thoughts on the matter.

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Thank you all guys, your answers helped me to think about all the possibilities. I think I will put some NDs with CTBs on those windows to create a bluish, darker look. The sun is not my ‘friend’ in this situation. I will try to film everything before the sun comes to the ‘shooting side’ of the house, but I must be prepared for the worst scenario. I will bounce some 4k or 6k HMIs to make the constant soft lighting in that certain room and then I will spend most of my time blocking the sun and adjusting the scene temperature and amount of lighting with Spectro and Lightmeter. Any additional suggestions are welcome. 😊


@Brian Drysdale Day for Night isn’t an option, because of very young actor who wouldn’t survive the night awake 🙂

@Miguel Angel Thank you for your example, it helped me a lot. 
 

@Stephen SanchezI am not able to choose the certain filming date anymore, due to a very tight filming schedule. You can suppose we already spent the whole budget haha... it is not a high end project. Philips Hue Bulbs are cool, but I can’t find them anywhere near my location (village near small town). I will try praying for a cloudy day as my last option. 🙂

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A lot of times I see guidance questions, then the topic ends.

Do you mind posting your results, along with lessons you learned from this experience?

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Day for night is done during the day time. Usually it involves shooting without colour correction using a tungsten setting in daylight (traditionally tungsten film stock, but it work with digital) , so that the exterior goes blue.  

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