January 10, 2015 at 4:10PM

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Shooting a night

Hey guys. I'm in the process of writing a few scripts. Two of them take place primarily at night. I was wondering if anyone had advice or techniques on shooting films outdoors at night?
Also I was wondering about the possibility of battery powered lighting equipment? I assume that one would need a generator on set for that anyway.

Thanks everybody!

7 Comments

Owning or renting a camera that performs well in low-light would be the first thing I would look into for any night shooting. The Canon C100 or Sony A7S cameras both perform very well in low-light situations, and can easily shoot at 10,000 ISO or higher with good results.

Other cameras like the Canon T3i/T4i/T5i, Canon 70D, Nikon D800, Nikon D750, Nikon D7100, Nikon D5300, Panasonic GH3/GH4, Sony A6000 can produce good results in the 800 to 3200 ISO range.

You will also need some sort of additional lighting, as "found" lighting is usually not very flattering on your actors and will need to be "boosted" with portable lights. For portability and to avoid the use of a noisy gas-generator I would look at portable LED lights that can be positioned to reveal the faces of your actors in each scene. ( most LED lights have dimmers so you can easily match the brightness of the "found" lighting at your location )

1x1 LED lights like the $400 F&V K4000 can run for 2+ hours using the large V-Lock batteries that I would rent for the shoot. ( unless you want to own these expensive batteries )

Smaller LED lights like the Aputure Amaran HR672W LED lights ( $280 ) or the Aputure Amaran AL-H160 LED lights ( $60 ) can also run for 2 hours using fairly cheap Sony F970 batteries.

Whatever you do, make sure you test your camera and lights before the day of the shoot to make sure you are getting the look you are after.

January 10, 2015 at 4:53PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31449

A7s beats anything with lowlight. You can blow out the night sky inan urban area...
Not that that's what you want, but it means you can shoot at almost any aperture you'd like to.

But yeah: test, test, test

January 12, 2015 at 2:45PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9032

Thank you so much guys. I think I'm going to experiment with the Aputure Amaran AL-H160 LED before moving onto anything more major. These productions are a ways off so I have a bit of time. I'll also definitely look into renting an A7 for the nights scenes. I have a Nikon D5100, a Bolex 16mm and Panasonic DV 3CCD all of which perform decently in low light indoors with standard Tungstens and LEDS, but outside is quite a different story, hence this post.

January 12, 2015 at 11:20PM

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Good test of what the Canon C100 Mk2 can do at 20,000 ISO and above...

Canon C100 MKII High ISO Tests
http://vimeo.com/116863754

January 15, 2015 at 4:46PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31449

the canon 5d mark II is good too but the sony is best.

February 2, 2015 at 5:15AM

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Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director
7754

I was curious why no one suggested shooting in evening light instead of night time and then doing the night time effect. I am so new, it is probably obvious why not, but I expected to hear several suggest this way. I thought i read somewhere that you can now make the scene look realistically filmed at night?

Good luck with your project, love that you are planning so far in advance!

August 17, 2015 at 1:21AM

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Searean Moon
Director/Writer/Producer
195

probably due to time, you only have a limited time to shoot because the "evening light" is changing fast and becomes "night light"

October 6, 2015 at 5:35AM

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Denniz Hout
Director, Editor, producer
215

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