Shooting for Night at

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Photon Management

Photon Management
Shine an ever-loving light on you.

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old April 1st, 2005, 05:39 PM   #1
New Boot
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 17
Shooting for Night

I looked around this forum for a good explanation and haven't seen one yet. I have a few outside night scenes I need to shoot. Does anyone have any recomendations on lighting and camera settings. I have a GL 1. I also have Final Cut pro for editing and color correction.

I have seen some video shot where its grainy, others where the lighting looks unnatural and others where the whole image is dark or uneven. I am going for a natural look - like film I guess where the blacks are blacks, image isn't grainy and flesh tones and other colors look natural. I have seen it done before but just don't know how they accomplished it.

I am looking for a relative cheaper approach as opposed to getting a $10K lighting setup. Any tips would be appreciated.

Also - any tips for inside shooting in a dark room/hallway?
Thanks in advance.
Mike Grohowski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 2nd, 2005, 12:34 AM   #2
Major Player
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Toronto
Posts: 532
I would like to know the same thing as you Mike. The only thing I've been told is shoot during the magic hour (time between day and night) but usually pretty hard to achieve there's got to be another way I think.
Evan C. King is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 2nd, 2005, 08:26 AM   #3
New Boot
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 17
Magic Hour

Shooting at the magic hour still doesn't give you a night look. Your lighting is just softer and easier to film - but the look isn't a night look. I have also heard people say shoot day for night (shooting at magic hour) - which I think in a lot of applications - doesn't look natural. Also shooting at magic hour is not practical because a lot of times - depending on when you live the magic hour isn't so magical. I am in Florida and magic hour is when it rains. So if you have a 100 hour shoot - how many days is it gonna take you?

I also have a day for night filter on my computer which basically just blue's the entire shot which isn't natural - at least the way it applies the filter. A correct looking night shot has blue tint to the lighting but the entire shot isn't hazed in blue. I have tried lighting it - kind of bright but then it looks a bit fake. I know the answer is lighting, camera settings and probably gel's. But would like to hear from a few people who have done it with a Gl 1 or other prosumer camera convincingly and see how they exactly did it.
Mike Grohowski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 2nd, 2005, 08:57 AM   #4
Regular Crew
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 170

Hey man try the other Magic try the Magic Bullet for editors the night time preset I like the way it looks if done correctly :) Or if grain is the issue try grain surgeon for AE that a good plug-in
Dmitry Yun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 2nd, 2005, 11:00 AM   #5
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,750
As you guys are guessing, it has everything to do with lighting and very little to do with which camera you use to record it, given the proper exposure (although a 60i camera will deliver a more video/"soap opera" look than a camera that can provide a 24p or 30p cadence).

Depending on how big your night lighting setup is (how large an area you need to light), you can manage it with a few small lights or you would need a much greater than $10K package to do it convincingly.

My recommendation if you have a large area such as a street or woods to manage is to treat the foreground and background as two separate areas, and let the midground go dark. Rake the background trees/buildings with hidden uplights so that they separate against the sky, then light your foreground so that the faces are a little under exposure. A decent backlight will help provide some contrast and separation. Working this light from high (think the roof of a nearby building, or upper windows) will give you more flexibility in your angles. It's not necessary to have to think "moonlight" i.e. blue for night work--it depends on the scene. A city night scene is much more natural if the light is motiviated by streetlights, ambient etc. than a blue moonlight feel.
Charles Papert
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 3rd, 2005, 08:01 PM   #6
Major Player
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Durango, Colorado, USA
Posts: 711
Well, I've been waiting for someone to reply to this post for a couple days with no luck. I, too was hoping for some interesting information.

I haven't planned any night shots. Just happened to find myself in a spot where it seemed a good idea to step away from the party for a while to clear my mind and saw an opportunity to get a few minutes of maybe useful footage. That approach, obviously, only allows the obvious; open iris, slow shutter down, aim camera, and hope for the best, whic sometimes turns out OK.

Were I a photographer, or were I to think as a photographer with slow film, I would find exposure values for the high, mid, and low values, and the exposure value for my subject. The decision, then, is to to determine the exposure value that puts all image elements in the correct balance. Once done, lighting techniques and careful thought come into play.

In my line of work, event videography, I find the best foreground lignt I can, and let the rest of the scene fall into place as it will. I am in a situation where I can control lighting, I use all the resources I have (which usually isn't much) at my disposal.
Waldemar Winkler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 4th, 2005, 04:41 AM   #7
RED Code Chef
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Holland
Posts: 12,514
Mike: I've merged your two threads (please don't crosspost) and
moved it to our lighting forum where it is much better situated.

There have been discussions on this before, a search on "day night"
in just the lighting forum yielded the following threads (and more):

Faking it:

Shooting at night:

Rob Lohman,
DV Info Wrangler & RED Code Chef

Join the DV Challenge | Lady X

Search for quick answers | Buy from the best: sponsors
Rob Lohman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 27th, 2005, 12:57 AM   #8
Regular Crew
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 29
some of my questions concerning lighting were answered in those post. thanks.
Steve Law is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 28th, 2005, 01:18 AM   #9
Major Player
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 316
Rate my night shots... (in a car)

It was my first time using a real kit, so I'm sure I can improve. (still, it's 1000 times better than my last night shoot). I used 3 mole-richardson fresnel lights. (2x 650, and 1x300). A key, a filler, and a back light in their most ordinary positions. What do you think?
Bryan Mitchell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 28th, 2005, 03:11 AM   #10
Major Player
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Toronto
Posts: 532
it looks pretty good to me. are you the same bryan michell the post in the amf boards?
Evan C. King is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 28th, 2005, 10:35 AM   #11
Major Player
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 316
That is me. I learned of AMF from Bryan Harley's posting of his Time Traveling Jug movie here.
Bryan Mitchell is offline   Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

Omega Broadcast
(512) 251-7778
Austin, TX

(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

(800) 238-8480
Glendale, CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Photon Management

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:39 AM.

DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2015 The Digital Video Information Network