Hey everyone! 

I'm working on my new stop motion right now (as you could have seen because of the pictures I'm posting from time to time) and I have a question, yes even a problem with the light. I am working with a room made out of three walls and a floor. In the middle of the biggest wall there is a window through which you can see the greenscreen for the sky. The only problem for me is that there are some (many) scenes at night and without lights turned on, so obviously it should be dark. Could someone explain to me how I can manage to light the greenscreen (on a distance about one meter from the wall) with a normal lamp and still get enough "cold" light in the room to make it look like moonlight? I would be very happy with any ideas coming from you, maybe I just forgot about some simple way of doing it...

Thanks

Ben

(attaching a picture of the wall with the window if you need to see it for some reasons ;))

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If it is night, and the only source of light is the moon, unless you are seeing the moon through the window, can you not just rig a light with some blue gel to cast the right shadows?

If you are seeing the moon, perhaps having the light a bit higher out of shot will cast convincing shadows?

In the 'Advanced Art of Stop-Motion' (Ken Priebe) there is an example of a visible sun rising through a shot, somewhere in the examples at the back. This might help, but it looks far too advanced for me to get my head round...!

Well, the problem is that if it is too dark in the room the pictures are getting full of noise and I don't want to light the rest of the room because that would look strange too :/

Simon Tytherleigh said:

If it is night, and the only source of light is the moon, unless you are seeing the moon through the window, can you not just rig a light with some blue gel to cast the right shadows?

If you are seeing the moon, perhaps having the light a bit higher out of shot will cast convincing shadows?

In the 'Advanced Art of Stop-Motion' (Ken Priebe) there is an example of a visible sun rising through a shot, somewhere in the examples at the back. This might help, but it looks far too advanced for me to get my head round...!

To help with noise, you can try turning the ISO down and opening the aperture wider. That will help reduce noise and still absorb a lot of light.

As far as lighting itself, a soft light with a blue or purple color is pretty common for a night scene. Check out Corpse Bride, or Coraline... They both have pretty well-lit night scenes, but the color makes it look darker than it is.

Or if you're familiar with a photo-editing software, a lot of films in recent years have started shooting "day for night". So you shoot the scene with bright lighting, then change the color and brightness later in an editing program. 

Hope this helps, at least maybe it gives you some ideas to consider. :)

Yes, thanks, I think that first of all I will try to get the right lights to use and if this won't work I will just edit it. It's probably just my personal nostalgia and wish to make everything without a pc. I probably will post some results too...

Mike said:

To help with noise, you can try turning the ISO down and opening the aperture wider. That will help reduce noise and still absorb a lot of light.

As far as lighting itself, a soft light with a blue or purple color is pretty common for a night scene. Check out Corpse Bride, or Coraline... They both have pretty well-lit night scenes, but the color makes it look darker than it is.

Or if you're familiar with a photo-editing software, a lot of films in recent years have started shooting "day for night". So you shoot the scene with bright lighting, then change the color and brightness later in an editing program. 

Hope this helps, at least maybe it gives you some ideas to consider. :)

Noise should not be a problem because you can keep the ISO as low as you want and just make exposure time longer.

Biggest problem in my opinion when lighting night scenes with greenscreens is that you easily get awful green glow to the shadows from the greenscreen. To fight this make sure that there is enough light coming in from the window to beat that greenish glow. 

One thing I might try is to add very soft and very dim ambient light from the opposite side from the window. This way you would get little more detail to the shadows yet keeping the look of the image dark.

That sounds...makeable. I will try it, thanks! 
Lauri Harju said:

Noise should not be a problem because you can keep the ISO as low as you want and just make exposure time longer.

Biggest problem in my opinion when lighting night scenes with greenscreens is that you easily get awful green glow to the shadows from the greenscreen. To fight this make sure that there is enough light coming in from the window to beat that greenish glow. 

One thing I might try is to add very soft and very dim ambient light from the opposite side from the window. This way you would get little more detail to the shadows yet keeping the look of the image dark.

I often have a shot with a night scene outside the window.

I have a light with blue gel, rigged to shine light in through the window.  An alternative, if you don't know where to get lighting gel, is to use coloured cellophane.  Another option is to use a compact fluorescent light with a cool colour temperature to give that bluish light.

I do have some firelight and warm light in the room, supposedly from a gas lamp up high, somewhere you can't see.  So it's not entirely dark apart from the moonlight coming in the window.   (Also it isn't a greenscreen shot, there is a painted night sky outside the room, that is what I am lighting with a compact fluoro.  So it's not quite the same setup.)  Like Lauri suggested, some fill light that is not greenish would help to kill any green light bouncing off the greenscreen.

What kind of camera?  With a DSLR, set the ISO to 100 or 200 to avoid noise, and take a longer exposure.  I use anywhere from 1/2 sec to 2 sec.   Open the aperture as well if you need to, but be aware that there is less depth of field with a lens wide open than when it is stopped down to f-11 or f-16.  Shallow depth of field makes it look more like a miniature. 

Thinking about the scene inside the room, you will need some light to be able to see anything much. Perhaps a gentle light with lots of tracing paper over it to soften the light and not cast shadows, i.e. just enough to act as a fill. You could diffuse it further by using a bounced light off a piece of white polystyrene or card or material. Only enough so the viewer can make out the action.

The other thing worth considering is deliberately overlighting the scene, so you keep the ISO at 100 and a reasonable depth of field, then taking the light levels down in post. Or alternatively you just use a very long exposure.

On old movies they often shot day-for-night, and basically just darkened the scene. It didn't work too well if you got the sky in it.

Have a bit of fun experimenting with some tests until you are happy with the results. In the end it comes down to believability (no shadows going the wrong way) and personal taste.

Do you actually need the greenscreen? Could you do the shot with a painted back ground? I did a star shot with some black paper and just made lots of pinholes, then put a light behind it.

Hey, first thanks for the many options you are presenting! I will be using a Canon Eos 600D as it is good enough and compatible with the live view options of dragonframe. 

StopmoNick said:

I often have a shot with a night scene outside the window.

I have a light with blue gel, rigged to shine light in through the window.  An alternative, if you don't know where to get lighting gel, is to use coloured cellophane.  Another option is to use a compact fluorescent light with a cool colour temperature to give that bluish light.

I do have some firelight and warm light in the room, supposedly from a gas lamp up high, somewhere you can't see.  So it's not entirely dark apart from the moonlight coming in the window.   (Also it isn't a greenscreen shot, there is a painted night sky outside the room, that is what I am lighting with a compact fluoro.  So it's not quite the same setup.)  Like Lauri suggested, some fill light that is not greenish would help to kill any green light bouncing off the greenscreen.

What kind of camera?  With a DSLR, set the ISO to 100 or 200 to avoid noise, and take a longer exposure.  I use anywhere from 1/2 sec to 2 sec.   Open the aperture as well if you need to, but be aware that there is less depth of field with a lens wide open than when it is stopped down to f-11 or f-16.  Shallow depth of field makes it look more like a miniature. 

I think that you are probably right and I won't need the greenscreen, then I have to think of how to make the background good enough. The idea with the holes in the black paper is nice, but I'm not sure if it will be "compatible" with the rest of the style of the film - We will see...

Simon Tytherleigh said:

Thinking about the scene inside the room, you will need some light to be able to see anything much. Perhaps a gentle light with lots of tracing paper over it to soften the light and not cast shadows, i.e. just enough to act as a fill. You could diffuse it further by using a bounced light off a piece of white polystyrene or card or material. Only enough so the viewer can make out the action.

The other thing worth considering is deliberately overlighting the scene, so you keep the ISO at 100 and a reasonable depth of field, then taking the light levels down in post. Or alternatively you just use a very long exposure.

On old movies they often shot day-for-night, and basically just darkened the scene. It didn't work too well if you got the sky in it.

Have a bit of fun experimenting with some tests until you are happy with the results. In the end it comes down to believability (no shadows going the wrong way) and personal taste.

Do you actually need the greenscreen? Could you do the shot with a painted back ground? I did a star shot with some black paper and just made lots of pinholes, then put a light behind it.

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