Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Day for night
Untitled, San Francisco, August 2007.
In cinematography, "day for night" refers to shooting night scenes during the day in order to avoid the expense and hassle of filming at night. With this technique, day is made to simulate night with the use of filters, old film stock, underexposure, and other sorts of tweaks. "Day for Night" is also the title of a hilarious film by François Truffaut about everything that could go wrong while shooting a movie, a must-see for film lovers.
These dark pictures resemble night scenes, but they were actually shot in late afternoon daylight when San Francisco light is at its harshest. The trick, which works best in uneven lighting conditions, is achieved by metering exposure against the brightest part of the frame. This underexposes the other elements or turns them completely black. When subjects enter the bright light, they are perfectly exposed. The light sets apart their faces and gestures from the rest of the scene, as if lit by a strobe, albeit, a natural one.