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Old January 11th, 2004, 05:08 PM   #1
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Think Fast! Fake night

Okay, so here's the deal. I'm scheduled (could fall through) to shoot a movie this Thursday and Friday. The setting is at a house, inside and outide, at night. However, the producer wants to shoot all day, which means that I will have to simulate the night for a good part of the shoot. For the exteriors, we'll obviously have to wait for night. But what about the interiors?

"Simple Josh, just black the windows from the outside with black visqueen." Ah well, not so simple. See, this location, so far as I know, is still not locked down. Therefore, I have not been to see it. Consequently, I have no idea how I will want to light it. What if I want to do streetlights or something coming through the window?

I was thinking the way to go about this would be to make a "tent" of darkness outside of the windows, able to block out light, but large enough to fit lights with stands in . Anyone done this? If so, how? I need something pretty simple; I'm no engineer.
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Old January 11th, 2004, 07:46 PM   #2
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You could set your camera up to shoot "Night for Day" if you have this setting available on your camera. If not you could get a filter for your camera and just shoot it straight up during the day and it will look like night.
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Old January 11th, 2004, 08:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
But what about the interiors?
You want to shoot indoors with everything looking like there's no or few lights on? Use blue lighting or a blue filter. For covering up the windows, perhaps it's easier to shoot at night, or buy 3 dozen black garbage bags and some Scotch tape. Maybe a dull black sheets of cloth first, against the glass, then the plactic over that to better block the outdoor light---fastened on the windows from the outside.
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Old January 11th, 2004, 10:11 PM   #4
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I get where you are going with this, Josh, no worries.

Tenting is a standard practice for shooting day for night interiors. It's easily achievable with standard grip gear, although we're not talking stuff you can throw into a hatchback. 20x20 solids rigged off a length of speedrail held by multiple combo or mambo stands, then spring clipped to the building is usually the way. I've made miniature tents with C-stands and duvetyne, or smaller rags like 12x12's which give you just enough room to hide light inside.

If you have the means to bring on an experienced grip to that job, it will be well worth it to avoid having to re-invent the wheel!

Once you have your tent, you can dress the inside with some greens (tall potted plants) if appropriate; a 650 from the side playing across the plants gives some nice texture and depth and avoids that "black hole" look.

As far as lighting through the window, I would only see this being necessary if the interior lights are supposed to be off and thus the only light in the room would be from outside. For streetlights in the city, an orange sodium discharge look works (1/2 CTO plus a little yellow yellow or green). Moonlight could be 1/2 or full blue. Don't overdo the intensity of the light from this direction or it might look fake.

<<Who want to shoot indoors with everything looking like there's no or few lights on?>>

If it fits the mood of the film, why wouldn't you? How about the climax of "American Beauty"?
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Old January 12th, 2004, 01:49 AM   #5
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I'd really prefer not to do any camera tricks, and Charles, while your suggestions are good, I need low budget, Home Depot solutions. Would I love to have an experienced grip? Sure! Am I being paid a third of what I should be getting, and therefore know that there is no way in hell that will happen? Also, sure!

I wasn't thinking I'd be using the illumination from outside as the main source, merely a possible backlight, or background pattern or something (streetlight through the blinds or whatever). As I said, I don't even know if this'll be an issue, being as I haven't seen the location (the one that isn't even finalized.)
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Old January 12th, 2004, 04:36 AM   #6
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Gotcha...I suppose you could try the biggest rolls of black plastic drop you can get at Home Depot, taped together if necessary, and probably doubled to keep the day from showing through. There may be noise issues with this if it's windy. It sort of seems like it might be ambitious to try this without some of the right tools at your disposal since it will chew up a lot of rigging time and could potentially all come crashing down mid-shoot!

Your best hope is that there is some sort of patio outside the windows with an overhang, which makes it much easier to suspend the black plastic.

You will have to hide the lights from one side or the other to avoid them being photographed, which might end up limiting your possible shooting angles inside. The more jerry-rigged the backing, the longer it will take to get in and out and seal it all up again if tweaks are needed mid-shoot, which is an important consideration if you are that short on manpower.

Not to talk you out of what can be a nice effect, but it's a bit fancy for what sounds like a low-budg shoot with very little pre-production or scouting time...?
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Old January 12th, 2004, 09:33 AM   #7
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sigh. . .yes, you are probably right. What about some kind of stakes? Shove two pieces of something in the ground a certain distance from the window, drape the visqueen over them. . .oh darn I don't know.
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Old January 12th, 2004, 04:57 PM   #8
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even though you probably can't afford it i am gonna advise on the how i set up tents when ever required by a dp. i usually use an 8x8 frame for most windows. i table (put up horizontally) the the frame on two 3 riser reflector stands. keep the side facing the window clear, and place an 12x12 solid to one side, then add a 20x20 solid over the top and let it drop down the other side and back, use duvatyne to fill any cracks, and bag the stands. this allows me to raise the tent about 12 feet high so you can get a downward angle on the light through the window, also leaves room for color and diff frames and cuts. grip gear is cheap to rent, compared to most things in the film business. hope this helps.
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Old January 12th, 2004, 07:06 PM   #9
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Thanks. I'll see, but I'm thinking of just letting this one go.
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Old January 12th, 2004, 08:33 PM   #10
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No wait! Here's one more way to do it!

Only kidding.

Mebbe you can get Riad to key grip your next shoot, Josh!
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Old January 12th, 2004, 10:20 PM   #11
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All this work to shoot a night shot to which I ask is it not easier to put a filter on the lens and shot during the daylight. As for the inside shots you could throw more up lights and get a better lighting for the inside as well. One last thought for n a night shot if you are shooting to where there is no light or some then a filter is better as this way you will not get all the grain from a camera trying to get all the available light.

Ruling all that I said out would be if you want the atmosphere of a real night.
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Old January 13th, 2004, 12:54 AM   #12
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I've tried the day for night thing. . .just looks weird--like dusk at most. Way more trouble than simply covering the windows from the outside with the visqueen. Maybe our schedule will allow for scenes with light sources from outside to actually be shot at night who knows.

Charles, I wish we had a key grip. As it is, I will be he. This guy's paying me out of his own pocket--there is no budget except what he's willing to spend. But I think I can manage, I got my little clips for my belt loops, to hang stuff from (tape, etc.), and I'll go out and buy a cowboy hat tomorrow.
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Old January 13th, 2004, 01:53 AM   #13
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Sometimes it's just a matter of clever scheduling, figuring out that if the shoot does run into night, you have to save the particular shots that require night such as a character walking through the front door and shooting those night for night. This comes up ALL the time with Instant Films, when you end up with a script that is essentially real time, a continuous scene; you start shooting at 1 pm Saturday and end 12 hours later, either blacking the windows until sundown or lighting the window sheers after sundown, depending on whether you've decided to play the scene for day or night.
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Old January 13th, 2004, 02:22 AM   #14
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Yeah, I thought about that. Another fun thing, aside from not having seen the location, of course, is that I have a regular part-time job at 8am the next day.
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Old January 18th, 2004, 01:13 PM   #15
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Once when I had a bit of time, I boxed out the windows just about a square foot out from the window frames on the outside, backed it with duve and put a nook up at the top to hit window boxes with plants in them oin the sills, this way there was something outside the windows and it didn't just drop off to completely flat black out there. then we had some slashes of light across the floors that looked sourced from them, but with this setup we had prep time, something you don't seem to have. I offer it not as a solution for this time, but only because this topic of having to shoot for night in a location you can only get during the day came up.
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