Replicating daylight at night has to be the hardest thing you can do as a DOP. Turning night into day won’t work if you’re filming outside but when you’re inside you’ll need powerful lights to try and emulate daylight.
The scenarios you might want to do this is when you are trying to control the lighting on location, or if you are in the studio where there are a lack of windows (for good reason!)
A light such as the Aputure 300D is perfect for these types of scenarios because of its power output and its high CRI and TLCI rating of 95+. It’s beam angle and a wide range of accessories and mounting options (and low heat output) make it a very solid solution.
Now, I don’t have an Aputure 300D. Instead, I have two VNIX 1500s panels from Pixapro and each of them is the equivalent to a 650-watt tungsten light. They are my go-to lights for lighting an interview or pretty much everything else. What I didn’t know is if they would be powerful enough to try to emulate this shot.
So can we turn night into day?
I’m going to try to do this with a 3 light set up. Most of us have a 3 light kit at the very minimum so I’m going to use my two VNIX 1500s panels and my Lenno 256 Flexible LED panels.
Our starting point…
The first light is going to try to replicate the sun coming through the window to the left of the frame. My reference shot above was filmed at 4 pm in the afternoon and the sun is streaming in (so much so I had to close the curtains to prevent over-exposure on the face).
The VNIX 1500s has a LUX rating of 12,800 at 1m and a 45-degree beam angle so it is a fairly focused light. I didn’t use any diffusion on the light and got it as close to the window as possible and turned the output to 100%. The sun is unruly without cloud coverage because it is a powerful light that is far away so it becomes a hard source of light.
The aim here was to not completely blow out the window but get it close enough because my camera, the Canon C100, isn’t a camera blessed with an infinite dynamic range so I made the choice of blow the window as I prefer correct exposure on the face.
The Fill Light
The second VNIX 1500s will be inside the room and will be used for general ambience and again I’ll increase the brightness to 100% but bounce it off the ceiling.
With sunlight, it floods a room and fills it so this is what we have to try and replicate.
This gives us our starting point.
I’m going to use two Lenno 256 flexible LED panels through a 5 in 1 silk which is going to act as our key light.
So here is our shot during the day.
And here is our shot, filmed at night with our daylight LED panels.
Alternatives to Lights
If you don’t have larger LED panels or big lights to able to do this? Well, you’ve got the option to gel the lights in the location to convert them from tungsten to daylight using CTB gels but you will lose some light output, or you can buy daylight balanced bulbs for the light socket itself.
Or you can replace all the light bulbs in the location with bulbs of your choosing that fit your colour temperature. This one is from Wilkinsons and is a 40w equievelant daylight balanced bulb at 6500 kelvin.
Do you think this works? Let me know in the comments on the video and if you’ve tried to do this yourself, then I’d like to see those videos where you have.