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Old January 23rd, 2008, 11:48 PM   #1
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Shooting Day-for-night. Sony Hvr Z1 + Mini35-400

This is an old one and probably well answered previously, so links to old threads would suffice and be appreciated if anyone has them conveniently to hand. I had saved some of my own but they went to heaven along with the last computer when something malevolent came down the power lines.

The scenario is a light aircraft landing in darkness without lights operating on an unlit bush strip in moonlight.

For obvious safety and air-legislative reasons, you do not ask people to land aircraft on unlit strips without landing and nav lights operating, even assuming they were mad enough to do it.

This leaves CGI and day-for-night as the options. For large aircraft, CGI and models seem to work but for light aircraft - not so good.

My imaginings are, shoot sun-high in clear winter day for best contrast, attempt to artificially overlight foreground subjects like humans to appear as if lit by a low level source in darkness, not to use black stretch, shoot for best contrast and not attempt to underexpose the shot, except perhaps to exploit audience knowledge of low light artifacts like grain associated with both digital gain and high speed film low light origination.

Any off-top-of-head advice will be appreciated. I will continue to do some research of my own.
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Old January 24th, 2008, 10:20 AM   #2
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Bob,

Several years ago I did a airline commercial, the take off sequence and the part where the aircraft flew into the sunset with warm clouds and the logo appearing was all done by CGI which i also do. The nice part about it was my client got to choose the kind of clouds they want as backplate. They allowed me to shoot the backplate through the window of their planes at different times of the day.

Question, why wont CGI work for small planes in your scene?

You can shoot the scene minus the aircraft at the color temp of the day you want then add the CGI plane after. You can even composite live actors in the windows for added realism.

Ted
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Old January 24th, 2008, 11:28 PM   #3
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Ted.


Thanks for your response.

Part of the problem such as it is - I am totally dumb and stubborn with CGI, lots of learning to do and only Premiere Pro to do it on, not After-Effects, although Premiere Pro seems to be quite capable.

The other is the proportion and scale of a light aircraft (Kitfox or Gazelle) relative to the human size.

The average Joe Blow might not spot a CGI'ed light aircraft but effects shots of light aircraft I have seen have been unconvincing, more like a moth on a stick. Maybe I have not seen the right movies.

Small aircraft tend to be antsy and nimble in their movements on approach and landing and the perspective as they approach towards camera seems different somehow, again probably to do with the size of the aircraft relative to its progess towards the camera.

You have given me some food for thought however. If an Cessna 152 Aerobat could be glided inverted over a locked off camera position against a clean blue sky, a composite over a background plate shot from the air might work.

Last edited by Bob Hart; January 24th, 2008 at 11:35 PM. Reason: error
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Old January 25th, 2008, 03:26 AM   #4
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Bob,

You can also shoot an aircraft exposing day for night or afternoon, shoot a bush setting, and composite both shots to rough up the sides of the normal airstrip. The key is to motion track the landing shot so the "added" bushy landscape follows the camera motion of the landing shot. It can be done. Ive done real estate promos,-a pre selling video where I add CGI finished landscaping over the barren terrain. Theres a real car moving on a road against bare bushes and the finished property grows around it.

Your scenario is a potenial CGI or composite candidate. Or it can be both CGI and composite work.

Ted
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Old January 26th, 2008, 08:58 AM   #5
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Ted.


Thank you for your advice and inputs.

I'll have a good think about how I might do this. When a jack of all trades like me, it is impossible to know everything and green screen, layers and all that was something that went in the need to know basket - as in -
do I need to know that? No.

Now I do.
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