Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Night and Day-For-Night On The Same Scene

I am shooting a night scene on a distant cliff overlooking the sea with a city in the distant.

It is important for the story that city's night lights will be seen in the distant during the scene. It is also vital to see the sea below the cliff.

I thought about shooting most of the scene at night and some of it during the day, while implementing day-for-night technique in order to capture the vast ocean.

Could this work? Will the shots ever intercut smoothly on the same scene? Had anyone had any experience in cross mixing night shots with day for night shots on the same scene? Any tips on how to do it right? Colour issues? Contrast issues? Should I forget the whole cross mixing idea and stick to one method?

Looking forward to reading you comments on that.

Film is a low budget production, on 16mm. I will be using Kodak Vision2 500T for the night scene.

Addie Reiss
Tel Aviv, Israel

Addie Reiss wrote :

>I am shooting a night scene on a distant cliff overlooking the sea with a  >city in the distant.

The essence of day-for-night (DFN), of course, is the underexposure that simulates the low-light level of dusk-into-night. The idea is to show enough detail to tell the viewer what's happening, but to keep it cloaked in sufficient darkness to suggest to that same viewer that, even with the enhanced details visible, what he is seeing is still taking place at night.

One approach is to tint everything blue on the theory that it mentally enhances the night-time theme. While it isn't strictly accurate (moonlight is just a neutral-grey reflector of the sun, and isn't really blue, although compared to terrestrial tungsten lighting may actually appear so) it can work in your favour to tie DFN together with night-for-night by tinting both a similar blue.

Ira Tiffen
Night-for-night (at the moment)

Unless you can get some lights on in that city in the background, it may be a useless venture.


Gerard Brigante
BL 4s Owner / OP

Without knowing the scene and all the shots, it's hard to say if you could pull it off by shooting some day for night and some at night. I'd certainly be weary that it could ever be made to match and would try to cover it in such a way that you don't go back and forth.

But if you want a wide shot with the city and the ocean, I would try shooting at twilight (dawn or dusk depending if the city is east or west) so you have city lights, with an ND grad covering the sky, city and probably cliff right down to where it meets the ocean. I would have different strength ND’s handy, and I would also bracket my exposures.

Jendra Jarnagin, DP
New York

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