Day for night is a film technique that makes it look like the shot was filmed at night, but in reality, the shot was filmed during the day.

The most common reason to use this technique is because filming at night can be difficult and expensive.

Not only are there safety concerns during filming, but there is also extra equipment needed to light the scene.

Imagine you’re a filmmaker and you want to shoot a scene at night. You have no budget, so you can’t close down a street and shoot in the middle of the night with artificial light. What do you do?

If you’re resourceful, you’ll figure out a way to shoot during the day and make it look like it’s nighttime. That’s called “day for night,” which is a technique that has been used in film since the early 1900s.

Takes are often done when the crew can’t film at dusk or dawn because of union rules or weather, or when filming in an area where there’s very little twilight, like Alaska.

How To Schedule A Day For Night Scene

What Is A day for night scene?

Day for night is a type of filmmaking and photography technique used to create a setting that mimics a night time scene.

The name day for night comes from the fact that you’re using normal daylight conditions, but creating something that looks like it was shot at night.

One of the most common uses for this technique is in movies, where they use this special effect to create scenes that take place at sunset or sunrise.

In the world of film, day-for-night cinematography is a filmmaking technique in which scenes are shot during daylight and then processed to appear as night.

Day-for-night shooting is often used when there isn’t enough time to shoot at nighttime or when the logistics of filming at night are too complex.

For example, if you’re shooting an action sequence that requires multiple takes, it would be much easier to do this during the day than at night.

 

 

As an example, in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly when Blondie rides into town at sunset, they used a day for night shot.

That way they could shoot during the day and have the town look like it was shot at sunset. If they had tried to do it at sunset, they would have had to wait hours for the light to get just right.

They could have also used location lighting and added some CGI to help them with their lighting, but by shooting during the day and using this technique they saved themselves both time and money.

What Is Day For Night In Filmmaking?

First, let’s talk about what exactly day for night means. In short, it is when you film a scene in daylight and then the colorist or cinematographer makes changes to make it look like the scene is taking place at night.

There are many reasons why this technique may be used. The biggest reason is that shooting at night is much more difficult than shooting during the daytime, especially if you plan on using natural lighting.

The contrast ratio between light and dark areas of the frame will vary significantly as the sun rises and sets. If you shoot at dusk or dawn, you may have to spend time adjusting your camera’s settings to compensate for these changes.

In addition, shooting at night requires additional lighting equipment and crew members. This could drive your production costs up significantly depending on how long you need to shoot for and how many different locations are involved.

Another reason that this technique may be used is that sometimes a specific location will only allow filming during daylight hours because of noise or other factors.

One of the most common uses for this technique is in movies, where they use this special effect to create scenes that take place at sunset or sunrise.

Day for night shooting is often used when there isn’t enough time to shoot at nighttime or when the logistics of filming at night are too complex.

For example, if you’re shooting an action sequence that requires multiple takes, it would be much easier to do this during the day than at night.

An example is in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly when Blondie rides into town at sunset, they filmed a day for night shot.

That way they could shoot during the day and have the town look like it was shot at sunset. If they had tried to do it at sunset, they would have had to wait hours for the light to get just right.

They could have also used location lighting and added some CGI to help them with their lighting, but by shooting during the day and using this technique they saved themselves both time and money.

Why Do Filmmakers Use Day For Night?

There is a reason why filmmakers use day for night in their films; they want to save time and money, while maintaining high quality of the movie. 

It is important to understand the concept behind it and its usage.

Truly, this is my favorite movie effect. It provides an opportunity to create a very special kind of image with a beautiful mood, good composition, and fantastic feeling.

Telling a modern story with an old Hollywood style seems to be the main trend in movies these days, so you can expect more movies shot like this one. 

Day for night shots are done using some tricks that transform daytime into night time. The most commonly used method is shooting during sunset or sunrise which adds some orange, pinkish, or purplish hues to the scene (depending on the time of day).

This color correction can be pretty expensive and time consuming if you want to achieve the best results especially if you are not familiar with video editing software that can help you with such tasks. However, there are simple ways to get good looking day for night shots without spending too much time on post production if your camera supports it.

Steps To Scheduling A Day For Night Scene

It is a common problem that arises when you require a day scene, but the light does not allow you to shoot during the day. It is quite easy for professional photographers to schedule a day for night shot once they know the steps.

TIP 1 – Location: The first thing you have to do is find a location with good lighting and shadows. Look for great lighting in the morning or evening.

Selecting a location that has a great view can increase the quality of your photo. You can also look for spots on the beach where there are lights at night or use models that have neon lights.

TIP 2 – Preparing your equipment: The next thing you have to do is prepare your equipment. Make sure that all your equipment works properly and that you have fresh batteries ready.

TIP 3 – The model: Make sure you set up all your equipment before you call in your model. This way you won’t waste time setting up and adjusting things while your model waits for you.

Shooting Day For Night

In the late 1950s, American film director Vincente Minnelli and cinematographer Robert Surtees shot a movie in the studio — on a soundstage. The film was Some Came Running, starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Shirley MacLaine.

In it, there is a scene where MacLaine’s character waits at a bus stop. In the background is an illuminated billboard for Studebaker cars.

The scene takes place during the day. But the surroundings are much darker than they actually would have been during the day.

To make this work, Minnelli and Surtees lit the set with bright lights to make it appear as if it were daytime. They used filters to make other aspects of the scene appear darker than they actually would be during a bright day.

They used black lights to give portions of the Studebaker sign a bluish-green glow that would be invisible during daylight hours but very visible in the dark. 

This technique became popular in movies of the 1960s when filmmakers wanted to shoot scenes at night but didn’t have access to outdoor locations until later in the day or evening because of union restrictions or concerns about weather or light levels.

Why Shoot Night Scenes During The Day?

Last year I posted a tutorial on shooting night scenes during the day.  The idea is you have to shoot your scene during the day so it can be illuminated by light from the sun.

You then edit in black and white and add some noise reduction to help get a film noir look.

Here’s a sample shot where I shot this building at sunset and then edited it in Photoshop. 

In the comment section of that tutorial, a reviewer asked, “What if you want to shoot at night? Is it always going to be daylight when you are shooting?”

I think most people would agree that shooting at night with ambient light isn’t ideal unless you’re in a very well lit city.

So how do we solve that problem? Well, we use flash. 

I don’t really like using flash for this technique because it tends to flatten out the image.

While shooting at night with a flash gives us a more even look, it doesn’t give us the dramatic shadows we’re looking for in our final image. 

Color Grading Day For Night Footage

Color grading day for night footage is a difficult process to get right. You’ll need a combination of filters, color correction, and grading techniques to achieve the best possible outcome. 

Let’s get started!

Step 1.  Filters & Correction: The first thing you need to do is apply some filters to your footage. For this edit I am going to be using the flare filter and then adding a blur to it.

The flare filter will create that soft glow on the buildings which will act as the night time effect.

Step 2: Color Correction: Now we are going to slowly dial in the temperature of our footage.

This can be done by clicking on the eyedropper tool and selecting a neutral color in the frame. Then while holding shift, click on an area of blue or orange light that is blown out.

This will bring your image closer to a daylight look. If you find your image is too warm or too cool, simply drag the temperature slider until you have it where you want it.

If you want more control over how much blue or orange you take away, use the color wheel sliders under HSV control. Once again click on blown out areas of light with this tool as well.