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Quick experiment inspired by @shian - producing "night" during the day
  • Shian mentions that it can be good to create "night" under normal lighting conditions, and then tweak the resulting footage, so you make better use of the camera's dynamic range, I tried this yesterday - a dull rainy UK summer day, with a 3W LED torch. I was really surprised how easy it was to create this slightly "fake" but very rich night look. This was done using Sony Vegas Secondary Colour Corrector to make the scene blue apart from the bright torchlight, which remains unaltered in full colour. No masks are required so it would work just as well with a handheld camera. It somehow looks more like a "movie" version of night than a real low-light shot would, and I hope it might inspire other people to try this at home. To complete the illusion, just add chirping crickets and sinister music. Enjoy!

    Cake 2.3, 14-140 lens. First 3 seconds are source footage.

    For those on mobile devices, video url is http://vimeo. com/45787332 (remove the gap in the URL)

  • 7 Replies sorted by
  • A friend suggested adding light beams - I can track the light source in AE but my attempts to create a beam of light have been too embarrassing to show on Vimeo. Even without, though, I love the way this technique preserves the detail in what look like the "dark" areas.

    EDIT: fount this: - going to have a go!

  • Wouldn't adding some smoke into the room help create a light beam?

  • @sam_stickland Yes, I think it would, if the beam showed up enough in the "daylight" footage to be above the threshold for the luminance key. But I'm not sure that would be the case - hence (as I'm going for a very "fake" look) I thought it might be easier to add them afterwards.

    However...I think I might try a night-time low-light version with smoke, just to see how the result of "real" night-time shooting in the same place is different/better/worse. I have some "smoke in a can" that I can use to generate smoke.

  • I stopped using smoke in a can cuz it left a weird oily residue on things. But get a fog machine from a party store, or halloween store, Guitar Center has some great ones. Any water based fogger will do.

    BUT be mindful that fog will wreak havoc with some patches. The higher data rate patches like Quantum 9B deal with fog really well. But with some of the others, it actually lowers the data rate, and causes massive macroblocking. I'm not sure if it's a GOP thing, a Matrix thing, or what, but keep that in mind. I first noticed it while shooting tests for a film I was shooting on EOSHD Roadrunner. The fog just ruined everything shot on that patch. But Quantum V9 handled it like a champ.

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  • @Shian I didn't have much time today but tried the fog in the daylight. Worked pretty well. I added Dense night and I was pretty much had nighttime with a good beam. Zeus helped!

  • @peternap Nice work. I'd love to see a before version as well.

  • @shian Thanks for the pointers, particularly as I was thinking of using the smoke in a can for some musical instrument videos. Sounds like that's best avoided if it leaves a residue - that could have been a pain! I'll delve into your tutorials on using the Ghears - I still haven't got my head around AE (but I'm starting to).

    I'm interested in @peternap's video too - nice quality of smoke. I'm guessing there was a "reasonable" amount of light, but not too much, same as I had in my shot. Really great though to keep all that detail. When I've seen genuine low-light video, noise-reduced with Neat or similar, it's so good it doesn't look like it's done at night.