September 24, 2019

Need to Shoot Day for Night? Follow These Tips

Shooting Day For Night - Aputure
If you know the correct lighting techniques, your shoots don't have to be restricted to a specific time of day.

Lighting is an incredibly powerful tool on sets. You can create different atmospheres, times of day, and special effects that will take your project to an entirely different level.

Even on simple projects, a cinematographer might be asked to shoot day for night -- meaning you're shooting in the daytime, but need a set to appear as it would at night. The easiest way to accomplish this is by removing light from your set. But what if you want effects, like the glow of fireworks, to also come into play?

Aputure gets help from cinematographer Seannie Bryan to shoot their own day-for-night fireworks scene. Watch their video below.

The lighting set-up

The scene called for characters to be having a conversation in a bathroom, at night, during a party with fireworks going off outside.

The shoot took place during full daylight with an open window. Time for the cinematographer to do some creative problem-solving!

Aputure - Day for Night
Credit: Aputure

To block out the sunlight, the crew used two black floppies as a tent around their two 300D II lights. The lights had gels on them to create the colors of fireworks.

Inside the bathroom, the window had a white screen on it to diffuse the light coming through the window. Above the actors, a 300D II was mounted inside a light dome. This served as the key light.

Bryan notes that it would have been easy to remove this key light to give the scene an entirely different feel. It would have been darker and more ominous with only the light of "fireworks" coming through the window.

Shooting Day For Night - Aputure
Credit: Aputure

Also in the interior, the crew rigged a Tri-8 LED as an eyelight.

Eyelight means that an actor's eye is catching some light source, adding life and depth to their performance.

Shooting Day For Night - Aputure
Credit: Aputure

Bryan also points out here that the actors' blocking is slightly unconventional. This is in service not only to the lighting, but also to the small space and the fact that there's a mirror in it. She suggests that it's okay to get creative or break the rules in cases like these.

What's next? Learn more about lighting!

We've got so many lighting tips for the aspiring filmmaker. If you're getting ready to shoot some Halloween shorts, learn some spooky lighting. Here are lighting techniques that only require a single light. Want to build your own lighting kit? We've got tutorials for that, too!

Do you have any fresh hacks for shooting day for night? Let us know in the comments!     

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