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day for night shooting in the woods

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Kenneth Cleeton
day for night shooting in the woods
on Nov 23, 2009 at 11:34:48 pm

I have read several of the posts about day for night shooting and some of them have been helpful and some not so much. Therefore, I have decided to pose the question again.

I am filming a short film in late spring/early summer. The entire film takes place in the woods, the jungle to be more precise. The last quarter of the film takes place entirely at night. I simply do not have the budget to light and film a night scene during the actual night. What is the opinion on how this would look and how to do it?

Thank you in advance for your help and opinions.

K.L. Cleeton
Co-Owner/Lead Editor/Event Specialist
2FAST4U Productions

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Richard Herd
Re: day for night shooting in the woods
on Nov 24, 2009 at 9:22:36 pm


With available light, it will look unconvincing (but might as well experiment BEFORE the shoot). The contrast ratio between the sunlight and the shadows will be the exact problem of exposure. Plus, the camera cannot be tilted up.

Also, I just called Home Depot after chatting with them on line. A 5600w generator costs $62/day to rent. Money well spent!

Now, what about sync audio? Jungles are noisy anyway. Might want to seriously consider ADR.

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Emre Tufekci S.O.A.
Re: day for night shooting in the woods
on Nov 24, 2009 at 9:50:15 pm

The couple tricks I use:

-Underexpose about 2 stops
-If there is no moonlight in the shot use silks and overheads to cut out shadows
-Use a high(er) end camera where I can get the DIT to really push the toe and knee to create a flat image
-Sometimes remove the 85filter (not always recommended)
-Do test shots and send it to the compositor/fx/Colorist to make sure they are happy.

Here are 2 images that I filmed at noon that was created using the same techniques.

The problem with shooting at wooded areas is the high levels of contrast you get. With the sun streaming down from the leaves and branches you can easily have a 7-9 stop difference between light and dark areas.This ruins the D4N effect.

Also sky replacement becomes an issue with all the detail that need to be worked over. We you techniques that use luminance differences along with tracking software to do complex roto jobs like leaves and branches but that even requires a lot of man hours.

In woods you have a few option and requirements:

-Smart blocking to stay away from complex roto jobs
-Silks and overheads to reduce contrast
-Good weather

But always test test test...

Emre Tufekci

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Michael Szalapski
Re: day for night shooting in the woods
on Dec 17, 2009 at 11:05:43 pm

You may have seen this post already, but in case you missed it, there was a recent discussion on the After Effects forum on day for night.

I agree with the other posters; TEST IT as much as possible before you actually begin shooting with your actors. Also you'll have a terrible time of it, if you've got sunlight streaming through the foliage. Perhaps shooting on cloudy days would help.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.

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Ruben Barrientos
Re: day for night shooting in the woods
on May 18, 2010 at 3:18:15 am

well you can record in the morning, an on post production change what you recorded before and using AFTER EFFECTS change the morning to night!
is not the same but is better

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