Is this a believable nighttime scene,

Lil Chillbil

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 30, 2012
1,322
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California
I shot this footage in the middle of the hottest day on record. so it wasn't night at all and the small fire we had going was barely coal at this point because we ran out of twigs and grass.

I was just wondering after doing some after effects I thought I would ask the photo pros if this frame was a believable night with fire.
 

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rei101

macrumors 6502a
Dec 24, 2011
976
1
Nope.

You could use the exposure to get more light into the camera. Night does not have to mean "no light". And you need to show the luminance created by the fire affecting everything around. That fire is there but is not emitting light.
 

snberk103

macrumors 603
Oct 22, 2007
5,503
87
An Island in the Salish Sea
No. The shadows and lighting are wrong. The fire should be throwing light onto the kids, and the subsequent shadows. All you've done is darken the photo. Also, the shorthand for 'night time' is to make the photo a bit bluish. It is a cultural thing (that may or may not be technically true)... but when people see a dark and blue scene it reads as 'night'. With the fire, though, the light on the kids should be warm and the light on the background should then be blue. Just a hint... don't get carried away.
 

joepunk

macrumors 68030
Aug 5, 2004
2,553
13
a profane existence
What I'm seeing is like one of those bad 1960's monster movies where the crew is filming in daylight but the scene is supposed to take place at night. And the audience knows it.

I've only seen those really bad monster movies on MST3000. But, I can't for the life of me remember any names.
 

Nishi100

macrumors 6502a
Mar 27, 2010
867
0
I know this looks really bad, but I started with your edited (darkened) image, I did it really quickly and it's the process that you'll want to see.

The first image is your edited image.

With the second image I just darkened and added a blue tint to the outer 1/3 of the image. I also added a simple feathered mask around the fire with a orange tint with higher brightness and lowered contrast. If I were to spend more time on this I would make the mask not a simple and round, but smoothly uneven.

With the third image, I added highlights using an adjustment layer with higher brightness and an orange tint, then just masked out parts that I though should be bright and feathered them out. I used a yellow-green colour the further away the highlight I was concentrating on (some of the highlights that I've done are a bit too strong). This shows that the fire is casting light on not just the floor.

In the last image I did the same as above (using masks), but this time I used a black colour, to add shadows (underneath boy's leg / where arm is at angle). This gives the impression of only one light source. A problem with my quick mockup is that there's not enough distinction between highlights and shadows, especially on the guy with the green shirt on. And my highlights don't look like they're coming from the fire, they look light they're coming from the left of the picture (oops :), you get the concept though)

What you might also want to do is to mask out a few objects on the ground, and then add a elongated black mask over them, so it looks like the fire is casting shadows.

The hard part is animating everything to make it look real -- the fire, the light from the fire has to flicker, the shadows will change, tracking everything, making the shadows change to the fires shape etc.
 

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Lil Chillbil

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 30, 2012
1,322
95
California
I know this looks really bad, but I started with your edited (darkened) image, I did it really quickly and it's the process that you'll want to see.

The first image is your edited image.

With the second image I just darkened and added a blue tint to the outer 1/3 of the image. I also added a simple feathered mask around the fire with a orange tint with higher brightness and lowered contrast. If I were to spend more time on this I would make the mask not a simple and round, but smoothly uneven.

With the third image, I added highlights using an adjustment layer with higher brightness and an orange tint, then just masked out parts that I though should be bright and feathered them out. I used a yellow-green colour the further away the highlight I was concentrating on (some of the highlights that I've done are a bit too strong). This shows that the fire is casting light on not just the floor.

In the last image I did the same as above (using masks), but this time I used a black colour, to add shadows (underneath boy's leg / where arm is at angle). This gives the impression of only one light source. A problem with my quick mockup is that there's not enough distinction between highlights and shadows, especially on the guy with the green shirt on. And my highlights don't look like they're coming from the fire, they look light they're coming from the left of the picture (oops :), you get the concept though)

What you might also want to do is to mask out a few objects on the ground, and then add a elongated black mask over them, so it looks like the fire is casting shadows.

The hard part is animating everything to make it look real -- the fire, the light from the fire has to flicker, the shadows will change, tracking everything, making the shadows change to the fires shape etc.

thanks for the advice, I will do what you said and get back to you guys once I get the editing done
 

Laird Knox

macrumors 68000
Jun 18, 2010
1,766
938
It won't help in this case but one way to get the effect is to gel your strobes with CTO (correct to orange) and set the white balance to tungsten. This will give you the look you are going for.

That technique should work with continuos lights as well but I don't work with video.
 

snberk103

macrumors 603
Oct 22, 2007
5,503
87
An Island in the Salish Sea
thanks for the advice, I will do what you said and get back to you guys once I get the editing done
Editing isn't going to entirely fix it. It is not just about the colour of light, it is also about the direction of the light. The shadows clearly show that the light on the kids in the photo is from overhead instead of being from the fire on the ground. You can't (easily) edit that out. You would be better served to simply plunk them outside when it is dim and put a large lightbulb in place of the fire, and then photoshop the fire in over the lightbulb.
 

Lil Chillbil

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 30, 2012
1,322
95
California
Editing isn't going to entirely fix it. It is not just about the colour of light, it is also about the direction of the light. The shadows clearly show that the light on the kids in the photo is from overhead instead of being from the fire on the ground. You can't (easily) edit that out. You would be better served to simply plunk them outside when it is dim and put a large lightbulb in place of the fire, and then photoshop the fire in over the lightbulb.
At this point, I know I can make the scene "believable" so pretty much its only a 34 second clip in the movie and we got a very good take on that. So learn my lesson then movie on