INSIGHTFUL TIPS ON FILMING DAY FOR NIGHT
Shooting at night can be extremely challenging because obviously it’s dark and you may not have lights to light up a scene as you desire. The recommend solution is to shoot day for night. That’s the obvious, but how it’s done may not be. You have to be very careful shooting day for night or else your footage may render useless or look extremely amateurish. First, take the following practical advise and do the following when shooting day for night:
- Don’t shoot exterior lights (street lights, car lights, etc…) during the day that will be used as night shots. Otherwise on your “night” shots the street lights, that are supposed to be on, will be off and the cars will be driving with their headlights off, when they’re supposed to be on. Doesn’t make for convincing night shots.
- Do your best not to shoot the sky and absolutely do not shoot the sun! The reason is because at night you don’t see clouds in their full formation as you do in during the day and certainly you do not see the sun at night.
- Some filmmakers prefer to shoot day for night shots during dusk or twilight hours. The reason is they believe these time reflect night times better.
HOW TO USE A ZOOM LENS IN POOR LIGHTING
Most DSLR camera kits come with a zoom lens therefore it’s important to highlight the following when using a zoom lens to film in poor lighting conditions.
When using a zoom lens in poor lighting conditions and you want to get a close up shot, don’t zoom in! It’s already dark enough and by zooming in you’re increasing the F-stop, thus reducing further the amount of light you let into your camera. To your naked eye it may look as if the lighting has improved, but it hasn’t. What your camera did was increase the ISO to compensate for the loss of light. But in return this adds an incredible amount of noise to your image, which is not good. When you go to edit or see the footage on a large screen you’ll see endless colorful dots spread all over your footage, rending it practically useless.
What you want to do is decrease the F-stop, that is, open the lens up all the way. This will allow the most amount of light available into the lens. And now to get the close up shot you just move the camera closer to your subject.
These are practical and insightful tips to improve your night and/or day for night shots. To make the most of these tips we encourage you to practice and rehearse with these tips in mind before your actual shoot date. Remember, practice makes improvement. Now, go ahead and get your night shoot on.
If shooting at night is absolutely how you want to get your shot, then you can certainly improve your odds of getting the shot you want applying the aforementioned. We’re including one more tip. Here it is:
- Shoot in a well lit city/street. Study the location and see how well it is lit. Maybe the street lights, lights from cars passing by and house lights may be all the light you need. However, be very careful with how much you raise your ISO even in a well lit street area. The reason is because when you go to view your footage you’ll notice that your image and/or the street lights are flickering.
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