Faking a dusk look, during daytime

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  • #215522

      Hey guys !

      Just looking for some advice on an upcoming student film I’m shooting. It’s an 8 page script, that all takes place outside a community hall during dusk. It’s a single conversation, all in real time. We have the budget for a 2-3 day shoot, and the director is very adamant on shooting during dusk/close to blue hour, however the producer made it clear that’s unrealistic, due to lack of time.

      So, it’s my job to try and fake the look during the day. How do DoPs usually deal with shooting a long EXT. sequence like this, that doesn’t involve scheduling for the 1hr of accurate light everyday?  Luckily, where we’re shooting in the UK it’s often overcast, providing a nice, soft source which is what we want. I’m just worried about the colour being convincing, as I don’t want to leave it to the colourist. I was just wondering if anyone had any advice for dealing with this situation? I’m not sure whether it’d be best achieved through white balancing the camera, using filters, or just grading it.

      I’ll attach some stills of what we’re hoping to achieve.

      Thanks in advance ! I’d appreciate any advice, including any issues you think we might run into.


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    • #215526

        It’s an 8 page script, that all takes place outside a community hall during dusk. It’s a single conversation, all in real time.

        That’s tough luck for a student film! I am not sure writer/director are aware how much work and planning it will take just to create consistent dusk.

        I suspect there is a good reason why the story needs to happen at dusk (because if if not it might be a lot easier for everybody to rewrite it).

        You can try to fake dusk or you might even try to rehearse all day long, find efficient ways to capture it and then shoot at actual dusk and pray everything works out. In theory you could shoot at dawn and dusk, giving you more overall time. As consistency in light is still not guaranteed, you might want to shoot a different location every time if possible (do they move around or maybe just sit and talk?).

        Someone with more experience may have better advice though.


          Thanks for the advice Stip.

          So the characters do move around the outside of the hall (some static shots, tracking etc.) so we’re hoping to shoot one area per day, so inconsistencies won’t be as noticeable.

          My main issue is actually achieving the dusk light, as I don’t want to leave it up to the colourist. My only thought is changing the white balance for a cooler look, and under exposing a stop or two. Still yet to do tests !  Would appreciate anymore advice you have though 🙂


            Here is a recent photo I took at twilight on a cloudy day. I shot in raw so could process the photo to any color temp setting. The thing to remember is that the level of blue is a creative choice. Also, in real twilight, the light gets more blue minute by minute, and how clear the sky is will affect the color.

            Traditionally, in older movies, day-for-night or dusk-for-night was achieved by using 3200K tungsten-balanced film and removing the 85 correction filter. But keep in mind that when the movie was color timed later, the degree of blue was often adjusted to taste. Also, the blue will look more blue if there is something lit with warm tungsten light in the shot.


              A good place to start would be to go to the location at Dusk and shoot a few reference stills.


              Figure out if you need to shoot towards the horizon where the sun is setting and how you can design the blocking to work in your favour.


              Start by avoiding the things that are impossible to recreate

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