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Old August 28th, 2009, 02:48 AM   #1
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Difference between a morning and afternoon scenes?

I was wondering if there was anyway to give the impression that a scene is set in the morning as opposed to the afternoon without having to refer to it in the dialogue or performances.

I have a few interior scenes (in a room which has a large window and glass doors) some which are set in the afternoon and some set in the morning. I'm afraid that I will only be able to shoot in the afternoon (due to cast availability) which leads to my question...

Is there any techniques I can use (lighting, colour grading, foley, composition, or other) to instantly convey the feeling of morning as opposed to afternoon without having to refer to the dialogue or performances?

Thanks Everyone.
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Old August 28th, 2009, 06:49 AM   #2
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Well obviously the light will be coming from a different direction in the morning as opposed to the evening - just how much depends a lot of things. If you've got a big window that might make things difficult.

exactly what are the interior scenes? what time? are there sounds that are associated with that time of day that you can include? can the clothing convey the time of day?

can you give us some more detail on the scenes?
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Old August 28th, 2009, 08:56 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply Paul.

I have a dozen scenes which take place in the kitchen roughly half are set in the morning and half in the afternoon. They are basically some simple dialogue with a few jokes thrown in. If I had to give them a time it would be between 8-9am and 3-5pm.

I know the sun is going to move and the windows/doors are facing North-Northeast so they'll let in a fair bit of sun. It's likely that I'm going to have shoot both am and pm scenes in the afternoon, will the audience notice that the sun stays in the same place all day? I guess I'm really looking for is a "morning look" and an "afternoon look"... Does Magic Bullet have presets for them? (Just kidding, I use Apple Color)

I'll be happy if I can find a way to make morning visually distinctive from the afternoon scenes and not have to resort to using...
Character: Isn't it a lovely morning...
...at the beginning of every scene.

I know to establish that it's morning I can just throw a bowl of cereal at the characters but I don't want to have to spoon feed the audience every time the scene changes, just establish a different look for mornings and afternoons and get on with the story. How does one create a different look for different times of day? Can you make the audience believe it's morning using lighting, grading, etc? Does it even matter or am i just going crazy?

I hope you can find the right info in there... Sorry for rambling on so much.
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Old August 28th, 2009, 03:50 PM   #4
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First of all, renounce sunlight. You'll never get the light you want when you want it, and it won't be consistent from one take to the next. At best you can keep sheer curtains over the windows pulled to diffuse the light, but you might still have to gel it to correctly colour-balance.

I'm shooting a short film where I have to use a window, so I'm building a box to put outside to block out the light, and installed 1000w of lights inside to shine onto a white sheet to simulate daylight coming in.

As for differentiating between morning and afternoon: if there's no way to tell except by having a character say it outloud, then either it's not necessary to the plot or the writing's faulty. It should be apparent from reading the script, and not from the slugline.

Having your character eating cereals or eggs isn't spoonfeeding, it's what people do in the morning. If you feel that it's too heavy-handed or that what they're doing feels unnatural, again, maybe you need to question whether the scene needs to take place at all. Is the plot moving forward, or are we taking a break for some exposition?


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Old August 29th, 2009, 02:11 AM   #5
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Thanks for the insight Jacques.

I have couple of daylight balanced lights and some small tungsten lights (w/ CTB) that I plan on using. I might have to buy some curtains. I'll figure something out.

I think you're 100% right, plot and content come first. I think I've been missing that the last few days, now to get myself back on track. My concern was a scene in particular where there's minimal dialogue and they're eating pizza for breakfast. The pizza's sets up the humour in the scene and adds a little to the character development. Looks like it's back to the script.

And to answer my own question...
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...or am i just going crazy?
Yes.
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Old August 29th, 2009, 02:24 AM   #6
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okay - here's a kitchen - is it morning or afternoon? - it's clearly one or the other but without more information it's hard to tell. Throw in a boiling kettle and a toaster, some bowls on the table, a guy with a briefcase and it's morning. put some groceries on the counter, some pots on the stove, signs of meal prep, maybe a glass of wine and it's late afternoon.

The thing is - you can't do both and expect to get away with it - you have to change the light for one or the other. Decide if the natural light is going to be morning or evening - if it's morning then shoot those scenes and before you start the afternoon scenes, change the light - black the windows and throw your own lighting in, do whatever you can to make the light look different and dont forget the set dressing - it's not spoon feeding the audience - if you do it right they wont' even notice, they'll just think it's afternoon.

Jacques is right about the consistancy of the light, if the scenes are long or you have to do lots of takes you can/will have dramas with the light - you have to judge wether you can get away with it.
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Old August 29th, 2009, 08:31 AM   #7
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I see your point.

I apologies for using the term "spoon feeding" and I retract my statement.

Just one question... If I establish that morning is a certain lighting setup and afternoon is another, when I come back to that location later will the audience remember what time of day it is? It's not so important, just curious.

Thanks for the replies... It's much appreciated.
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Old August 29th, 2009, 03:13 PM   #8
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My concern was a scene in particular where there's minimal dialogue and they're eating pizza for breakfast. The pizza's sets up the humour in the scene and adds a little to the character development. Looks like it's back to the script.
Did they just get up? Unkempt hair, t-shirt & sweatpants (or bathrobe), beard stubble (except for the women :-) ).


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Old August 30th, 2009, 06:54 PM   #9
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I think for this particular scene I'm going to have to go with Paul's suggestion "a guy with a briefcase" although it will be a "girl with a briefcase (or at least preping herself for work in some way)"...

And to answer Jacques' question: Yes, one on the characters just got up, but his hair will be unkempt regardless of what time it is. And i don't know about the beard stubble... I might have to give the actor two weeks notice for him to grow it! :P
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Old August 31st, 2009, 12:19 AM   #10
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Aaron,

another trick is people are usually rushed in the morning and not rushed in the afternoon. So you can have them rushing about to leave (even checking the time), versus the PM, where they're loosening the tie, kicking off the shoes, pouring a drink, etc.

And depending on your audience... yes, the audience will remember that the last time it was morning the sun was coming in the other window.
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Old August 31st, 2009, 10:15 AM   #11
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And to answer Jacques' question: Yes, one on the characters just got up, but his hair will be unkempt regardless of what time it is. And i don't know about the beard stubble... I might have to give the actor two weeks notice for him to grow it! :P
Ask the actor to show up unshaven that day and have the makeup artist darken the stubble to make it more noticeable.

Of course, I'm imagining how *I* look at breakfast: unshaven, ratty t-shirt, squinting (no contacts yet), unfocused, shuffling, groaning. And it's usually 11:00. If your character is a *normal* person who's not self-employed and doesn't go to bed at 4 a.m. then you probably want to disregard my advice. :-)


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Old September 1st, 2009, 06:57 AM   #12
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Morning (and late afternoon) sunlight is more likely to directly penetrate into a room than middle of day, so if you have the firepower with your instruments, go for direct splashes of light in both foreground and background to "signify" the morning scenes. One convention is to flag this light off the faces to avoid overexposure. An example of this (I love that I am using this as a lighting reference, but I caught this scene on a pay channel recently) is in "The House Bunny"; see the section from 1:03 to 1:27. The instrument in use there was most likely an ellipsoidal like a Source 4, judging from the razor-sharp edge and the subsequent color fringing visible on a couple of shots which is what made these particular scene memorable (not particularly in a good way) to me! But in any event, you get the idea.
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Old September 1st, 2009, 09:29 PM   #13
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another trick is people are usually rushed in the morning and not rushed in the afternoon. So you can have them rushing about to leave (even checking the time), versus the PM, where they're loosening the tie, kicking off the shoes, pouring a drink, etc.
These work well for the female character. Thanks for the tip.

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Of course, I'm imagining how *I* look at breakfast: unshaven, ratty t-shirt, squinting (no contacts yet), unfocused, shuffling, groaning. And it's usually 11:00. If your character is a *normal* person who's not self-employed and doesn't go to bed at 4 a.m. then you probably want to disregard my advice. :-)
Perfect! You're hired! Only difference is he's unemployed. :P Definitely sounds a lot like the character, thanks for the inspiration.

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Morning (and late afternoon) sunlight is more likely to directly penetrate into a room than middle of day, so if you have the firepower with your instruments, go for direct splashes of light in both foreground and background to "signify" the morning scenes. One convention is to flag this light off the faces to avoid overexposure.
Cheers, this is an answer that I was originally after. I don't know if I can currently pull this off with the gear that I have, but I'll look into it. I don't think I can justify the expense to hire any stronger lights. I appreciate the input though.

Thanks again all, I will definitely use some of these tips (that ones complement the characters and script) and will keep the rest in the back of my mind for further reference.
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 12:28 AM   #14
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Perfect! You're hired! Only difference is he's unemployed. :P
Great. I'll be on set at the crack of noon. ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Fowler View Post
I don't know if I can currently pull this off with the gear that I have, but I'll look into it. I don't think I can justify the expense to hire any stronger lights. I appreciate the input though.
I once had to have a character open a door onto blinding white light. I set up a white sheet just outside the door and used 4 X 500W shop lights. Great result, but I almost melted the plug. :-)

Shop lights are pretty cheap (2,000W worth will cost you less than $100), and they're great for all-purpose lighting on set as part of your kit. Just make sure you're not overloading the circuit. I wired 110v plugs to my oven's 220v outlet because that's 35A right there and I can run a lot of lights off it.


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Old September 2nd, 2009, 01:46 AM   #15
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As a viewer, I associate light that is slightly 'bluer' than whatever the norm is for the movie as morning light. Light that is slightly redder, as afternoon.

Any transition other than a straight cut (dissolve, fast wipe, tacky 70s diamonds ;-) ) indicates passage of time to me, even if nothing else changes in the scene.

Birds are really noisy in the morning, not much in the afternoon. (aside from the cliched rooster crowing).

I hear children playing in the afternoon after school, never in the morning.

On a residential street, cars go fast in the morning, slow in the afternoon.

Windows are closed in the morning to keep out the cold, open in the afternoon because it is hot.

It makes no scientific sense, but I associate hard light with morning, soft light with afternoon.

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