Let There Be Light

August 12, 2019

Little Ox Film Company’s resident cinematographer, Damien Kent, offers quick tips for filmmakers.

If filming takes place at night you need a camera that can see in the dark, right?

Actually, that’s not necessarily true. You don’t need night vision, exactly. What you do need is a camera with a high ISO and the least amount of noise. Right now, Sony’s A7Sii is the long-standing champion of this. Blackmagic’s Pocket Cinema Camera 4K is a new contender.

While having one of these cameras is very helpful, that is only one part of capturing shots in the dark. Lighting makes a huge difference.

One option is to have a light source in your shot – like a fire, lamp or flashlight.

Don’t have a light source inside the shot? No problem! Regardless of the current lunar phase, you can create moonlight as an easy way to light up a scene. Use nearly any lamp to do this by either adding a blue gel for that nighttime feel or cheat your white balance on your camera to make it more blue.

Watch out for shadows!

Diffusion and bounce cards can make light very soft, but in an open dark space they can still cast a harsh shadow. We’ve found one trick that works is to point your key light straight up, so that the only light that “lands” on your scene is what bounces off particles floating in the air. Anything else looks too fabricated. This technique wastes about 90% of your light source. So, this is where you want either a very powerful light source. Or you need a regular light source plus one of those excellent “low light cameras” on the market.

Little Ox Film Company specializes in making people look their best by day and by night.

Do you have any other tips for creating light in the dark? Let us know in the comments!

Want to know more about the video production process? Reach out to us with your project. We would love to chat with you.