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Day for Night shooting on Red

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Ian SpilsburyDay for Night shooting on Red
by on Feb 12, 2012 at 6:36:20 pm


I will soon be working on a short project where a couple of the scenes will need to be modified to create a 'night' look.

I've seen a tutorial on Videocopilot that I will attempt but if anyone has any better/other suggestions, I'm all ears ;)

My main question, at the moment, is in regard to the workflow with RED.

I'll be using FCP to edit the project, and I'll be transcoding the footage to Prores files for editing (and relinking back later on for colour grade and final export).

I've been told that you cannot add effects to the native RED footage. Is this true? And if so, any suggestions as to what I should transcode these clips to fr this purpose?

Also, any suggestions as to whether the effect should be added before or after the final colour grade?

I'm probably missing out some important information, so please let me know if theres anything else I should be aware of, or of any more info. that's needed before advise can be given.


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: Day for Night shooting on Red
by on Feb 12, 2012 at 8:26:18 pm

Converting everything to ProRes will save you headaches. As long as you use the best settings in conversion (some would say that even 4:2:2 is enough) you should be fine. Cut, add effects to the ProRes and render back ProRes, then grade and export away- no need to go back to RED unless there's lots of money involved and a super demanding client.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist

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Angelo LorenzoRe: Day for Night shooting on Red
by on Feb 12, 2012 at 8:27:22 pm

Well since you're asking in the After Effects forum, I assuming you're doing your grading and conform in AE, and just the cutting in FCP. Consider grabbing Automatic Duck. It's now free and, if I recall correctly, it will take a FCP timeline with prores and replace them with the R3D files when creating the After Effects project (basically putting the R3D files online for you).

But to answer your question, you can add effects to R3D files in After Effects... I have a full timeline of Epic footage right in front of me. is worth buying and below is some info on "day for night" distilled from the book.

When shooting day for night make sure the DP is looking after the following:

- Keep the depth of field shallow: a visual cue that confirms a low amount of light

- Frame the skies out out of exterior scenes or consider using graded ND filters

- Avoid objects with high saturation. Low light situations usually result in muted colors in the shadows.

- Throw as much of the background into shadow as possible. Deep, evenly lit scenes don't transition easily to day for night.

- Under expose by 1-2 stops. This helps mute color and contrast but maintains healthy midtones and highlights.

For color grading, day for night usually means "relighting" the scene by drawing multiple masks to reenforce shadows or pools of light with lift and gamma controls. While cooling the color of a scene might seem like a good choice, make sure it works in context. If a scene is lit by sodium street lights, incandescent bulbs, or candles then you go more yellow/orange.

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Dave LaRondeRe: Day for Night shooting on Red
by on Feb 13, 2012 at 5:34:51 pm

Also, watch out for lighting conditions that are prone to create shadows that are a dead giveaway that the scene is shot in daylight. Unless the scene is intended to be night under a full moon, the high-contrast shadows of a clear sky at noon don't play well. An overcast day is usually better. You may also want to consider shooting dusk-for-night as well.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA

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