Day For Night!

I spoke to Matt downstairs in the AV suite about my opening shot and he explained to me that it would be easier to shoot the location in the day and then convert it to a night shot using the program Magic Bullet.

I did some research on how to make a day shot look as night and found out that it is a commonly used technique in cinema.

Day for night, also known as nuit américaine ("American night"), is the name of a cinematographic technique to simulate a night scene. Mainly intended to avoid costly (and technically challenging) night filming, outside scenes can instead be shot during the day, with special blue filters and under-exposed film to create the illusion of darkness or moonlight. Lighting the characters two to three stops more than the background also helps the effect, but doing so requires powerful lights to compete with the sun. Many of the night scenes in the film Jaws were done this way.

While this technique has largely disappeared owing to advances in film technology and increasing viewer expectations, it was recently used in the 2007 film 28 Weeks Later, due to the impossibility of shooting in an entirely dark London.

Interior day-for-night shooting can be more time consuming and labor intensive. Grips need to cut all the daylight entering onto set. If the scene is "blocked" or staged away from windows or other openings to the outside, the light may be simply blacked out with cloth or plastic sheeting. However when windows or doors are seen from camera, these openings must be "tented" to allow some exterior dressing to be seen.

While never fully successful in creating "realistic" night, the special visual style of the American night nowadays has many fans among historic movie buffs, thanks to its frequent use in early B-movies, Westerns, and film noir. Day-for-night shooting seems to have become more common in recent years which goes against the trends of a decade ago.

The title of François Truffaut's film Day for Night (1973) is a reference to this technique, since the film is about the process of moviemaking.

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