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Day Exterior Tips/ Continuity (2 replies and 2 comments)

3 years ago
HonJazzz 3 years ago

Dear Roger and Forum,

I was wondering how you maintain day exterior continuity for a scene that may only take up a few minutes on screen, but takes days to shoot. I would appreciate any advice about maintaining a "Hard Sun" look, "Cloudy Look", and what can be done to counteract the weather to get your desired effect. 

In your experience, are producers generally understanding and open to rescheduling if the weather isn't good for continuity, or do they expect you to pull out all the tricks and attempt to make it work even though it may not be perfect that way.

It would also be fun to hear any interesting or funny set stories you have about quickly getting an important shot just before a cloud moves in, or out from in front of the sun.


-John Hasbrouck


1 week ago
johram 1 week ago

What a great tips, thank you so much. I work as a publisher and beginner UX/UI designer. And at this time I'm trying to use photos in my articles which was made by me. I feel that your tips will help me to make this much more better. 

Johra from»

Roger Deakins
3 years ago
Roger Deakins 3 years ago

Weather is always a problem. But you can help yourself by scheduling the shots by the time of day. For the extended border bridge sequence in 'Sicario', for instance, I broke down the shots we needed into a quite specific shooting order so that we could take best advantage of the angle of the sunlight. I also held shots inside the vehicles so that we had somewhere to go if we got cloud cover.

But for all the planning you can do it still pays to be lucky - and flexible.

A production will often have weather cover but this can be problematic where there are a number of actors involved and where each has a set number of days contracted to shoot within the schedule. On 'Skyfall', a pretty costly production, we were stuck in London with sunny days where we wanted cloud and we just had to deal with it. On 'Another Time Another Place', at the other end of the budget spectrum, the director and I would have breakfast in the mornings, look at the weather and then make the final decision on which scenes to shoot. Sometimes you have more flexibility on a small film!

On one film, 'Courage Under Fire', we wanted a scene to look as if it were dawn. It was quite an involved sequence and would take some time to shoot so we considered shooting over a few early mornings or ... burning tires. The latter is an old trick and one that I am a ashamed to admit to having used. For all sorts of reasons ... not to be recommended!  However, at the end of shooting a night scene with battle tanks and all sorts of exhausting effects work we were having breakfast and about to wrap when we noticed a grey dawn. I think we ended that 'night' shoot at about 1.0 pm having completed our 'dawn' scene in one go.

3 years ago

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question. Planning shots by the time of day makes a lot of sense and having a backup plan to shoot if the weather suddenly changes is a great idea too. I was always amazed by the Night to dawn exterior in 'No Country for Old Men' when Josh Brolin's character is running away from the bad guys that are chasing him in an old truck. I'm assuming this sequence took a few different days to shoot because of how little time you would have to shoot in dawn before the sun fully rises. It's interesting that you mention there being more flexibility on a smaller budget film than a big one. That's one of the many reasons why I love independent film. Thanks for sharing your 'Courage Under Fire' story. I can't imagine using burning tires for any effect!

Thank you,

-John Hasbrouck

3 years ago

The reply by Mr. Deakins is simple and to the point, but VERY insightful. I've always had the fixation in my mind that movie directors and cinematographers are omnipotent when it comes to producing a movie as it pertains to controlling the lighting conditions, actors, the whole nine yards. I'm now very encouraged by Roger's reply because I'll feel more relaxed and confident going forward when shooting outdoors, i.e. won't feel pressured or inadequate when weather doesn't cooperate, so just wait it out and/or work around it.

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