For all the independent filmmakers out there, I have some cool tips on how to create cool cinematic night scenes, which you can do on a tiny budget or no budget at all. All you need to get started is a camera, tripod, lights, gels, and an actor (if necessary). For post-production, you’ll need to have an editing software downloaded so you can edit your beautiful shots. Adobe Premiere Pro is great to use. You can also use DaVinci Resolve, a free software. Free is the golden word when it comes to indie film, so I would recommend it.
Let’s say you want to shoot inside a car at night. Maybe you’re going after a moonlight effect or streetlight look, but you’re unsure of how to go about it, let alone trying to make your scene look believable. Well, first things first.
- Lights! If you’re going for a moonlight look, use a LED light and put on a blue gel, this will change the tone of the light. Depending on where your car is located you can place the light at the back. For a streetlight look, use the same sort of light, but put an orange gel on it and place it near the driver’s seat, wherever your actor is, or perhaps you don’t even have an actor in your shot. Make sure your angle is good and it looks like a street light.
- Aesthetics! You want to make your shoot pleasing to the eye, right? Well, this may take some creative thinking, but that’s what filmmakers are good at! So, if you ever want a grunge look, smearing dirt on your windows make a great effect! Or if you want to create a neighbourhood scene, place lights around your car, making different distances and blur them out. Bam, you’re all set in a neighbourhood.
- Editing! So most of the magic comes when your editing away and playing around with the visual effects which you can stylize how you want. Colour grading is a great tool to use as well. If your lighting didn’t quite look the way you wanted, no worries! Just play around with the colour.
Now, I’ve used a car scene for my example, but you can use these tips for any other shot, an apartment shot, an alleyway, the woods etc. For more filmmaking advice, check out the link below. Keep being creative and carry on!