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    Day for Night Question
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    I'm in pre-production on a film that's going to be shot mostly in the woods. There are a large group of scenes that take place at night and I'm considering day for night. If I were to go this route, how would I make light sources, like flashlights, show up?


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    Quote Originally Posted by kennethhurd View Post
    I'm in pre-production on a film that's going to be shot mostly in the woods. There are a large group of scenes that take place at night and I'm considering day for night. If I were to go this route, how would I make light sources, like flashlights, show up?
    They would have to be extremely bright, noticeably brighter than the ambient light level. There are really bright flashlights for this but I don't know what they are. Maybe I can find out. Guessing, this might work if you have decent shade in the woods but the sun bouncing around is hard to compete with. Test it with a still camera.


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    Cinematography/Lighting Mod Ryan Patrick O'Hara's Avatar
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    We are talking about really bright flashlights...

    You'll really need a combination of very overcast weather and very thick canopy foliage in order to get light levels during the day that won't kill a flashlight. Not sure that is going to happen in 99% of the world. You could consider shooting in dusk/twilight and dawn time, when the sun is beyond the horizon or just over it. That doesn't give you much time to shoot per day, however and wouldn't really be that efficient.

    If you are paying people money, you won't be able to take a 5 day production and shoot over a course of 20 to get that special time of day. I can tell you that even if you get high-powered beam flashlights that show up in-camera, they probably won't illuminate the area around them, and probably won't look real.

    If you have a big bounce card and a couple cheap par-64's you could probably illuminate a general area and just fake most of the action around that.

    Not to be a dream killer, but daylight is going to demolish the effect a flashlight has on an environment. Unless their flashlights are 1.8k HMI's, I don't think it will work.

    If cinematography wasn't infinite, I'm sure I would have found the end by now.


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    They're Surefire brand flashlights.

    How shady is it in the forest?

    I'm sure PRO is right in his comments that the flashlights won't produce much if any of a beam.

    I wonder how dark your forest will be during the day. In my experience, hiking, never have tried to light one except at night, they can be bright or fairly shady. Go to cinematography.com and search for keywords such as flashlights, forest and day-for-night in the lighting forum.


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    Senior Member craigbowman's Avatar
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    The same kind of smoke used for rain visibility during day for night shooting works for flashlight visibility as well.


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    Quote Originally Posted by craigbowman View Post
    The same kind of smoke used for rain visibility during day for night shooting works for flashlight visibility as well.
    Ah, smart.


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    Thanks guys! This is all very helpful. I've got until November before I start shooting, so I've got some time to do some tests. I haven't scouted the locations yet, but I'm going out there in the next few weeks, even though I know everything will look different in November than it does in July.


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    Quote Originally Posted by kennethhurd View Post
    Thanks guys! This is all very helpful. I've got until November before I start shooting, so I've got some time to do some tests. I haven't scouted the locations yet, but I'm going out there in the next few weeks, even though I know everything will look different in November than it does in July.
    Yes, if this is a deciduous forest and the leaves have dropped it will be one bright place.


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    Senior Member Jordan Scott Price's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Patrick O'Hara View Post
    Unless their flashlights are 1.8k HMI's, I don't think it will work.
    Where you kill dreams, I see solutions!



    Kidding. I really don't see this doable as day for night without a lot of expensive and dangerous rigging of diffusers to spread the variable sunlight more evenly and screens to bring the light level down to flashlight-acceptability.


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    Cinematography/Lighting Mod Ryan Patrick O'Hara's Avatar
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    If it's not super important that the audience recognize the flashlight they are holding (if they are high tech police agency, or this is sci-fi or something) you could use battery powered 200w HMI's called Sun'Guns. They are small enough to be a big flashlight, but odd enough that they'd never pass for a maglite. You could run the cables up their sleeves and it would look like a handheld unit.

    A possible, but far fetched solution.

    If cinematography wasn't infinite, I'm sure I would have found the end by now.


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