Watch: Tips on Creating Realistic Day-for-Night Shots in Post
If you need to turn your day shot into a night shot, then you should check out these helpful tips.
Whether due to a scheduling conflict or last minute decision, eventually you're going to have to shoot your night shots during the day (and vice versa), and since it's bound to happen at some point in your filmmaking career it would be wise for you to learn how to shoot "day-for-night" shots. There are many different techniques you can use to pull off this effect with lighting, but in this video, Aidin Robbins of Digital Blast offers up several tips on how to do it in post. Check it out below:
The most ideal approach to shooting day-for-night, in my opinion, is capturing the effect in-camera, meaning you rely on lighting techniques, like colored gels and light placement, instead of post-production techniques, like lighting effects and adding VFX assets. This is because you can never really guarantee that you'll be able to pull off the effect or make it look realistic, which renders those shots (and all that time/money/energy) totally useless.
However, if you have no other option, Robbins' tips will absolutely come in handy. I especially like his clever approach to adding grain to shots. Many of us would think to add some grain to our day-for-night clips, because yeah, footage shot at night tend to have more of it, but fewer would think (or know how) to add grain only to the darkest parts of the shot. Very clever, very useful!
From there, though, perhaps the most important post work you'll be doing to capture this effect is color grading, especially if you didn't use any colored gels to light your scenes. This is relatively straightforward—night shots are typically darker, less saturated, and have more blue tones, so adding those looks to your grade will really help sell the illusion that your daytime shot was captured during the night.
Do you have any tips on creating the day-for-night effect in post? Let us know in the comments below.