Nighttime shoots can pose special challenges for movie makers. Lighting directors and cinematographers require the use of powerful lights (and generators) to illuminate certain scenes but they never want to lose the atmospherics that only nighttime can create. It takes experience to be able to strike this balance. As you struggle with this dilemma, here are some tips from the experts on how to shoot effective nighttime scenes.
- Shoot at a wide angle: A wider iris lets more light come into the camera. This helps capture the details of the scene you are filming. When objects and people are seen clearly during an otherwise dark night scene it can be far more impactful to the viewer.
- Use Snow: If you are on a low budget try using snow as a natural reflector for the light. Of course, man-made reflectors are more effective for this purpose, but the virtue of snow is that it is free.
· Wet the ground: Wet pavement is another natural reflector that can provide a moderate level of illumination. Additionally, using streetlights, neon signs, etc. can add to the ambiance of certain scenes.
- Shoot at dusk or twilight: Dusk and dawn can create excellent low light conditions that are soft and natural but that still allow viewers to see what is happening.
- Use reflectors and white cards: White cards and reflectors can not only help to illuminate your production, they can also help bring out certain colors in your scene. They create a soft, warm feeling that is less harsh than direct lights.
- Stick with a manual focus: Do not rely on auto-focus too much when filming night scenes. Doing so will cause the camera to switch back and forth between objects.
- Highlight only a few small areas: Rather than trying to illuminate every object and person in a scene, focus instead on certain items in a shot.
- Do a test before the actual shoot: Finally, don’t leave it to chance that all your brilliant strategies will work exactly the way they should. Test different scenes with different light setups. Keep testing as long as it takes to achieve the ideal shots.
To summarize, use every resource at your disposal when shooting nights scenes and realize that they are different than shooting in the daytime or when shooting indoors. Also, know that night scenes can be more expensive since they require special equipment and take extra steps. One way to save is by using a dimmer rental from our site. We have wireless DMX also that will make your production come off the way you desire.