How to Build A 'Day For Night' Look - Color Correction Technique

How to Build A ‘Day For Night’ Look – Color Correction Technique

June 30, 2013

What does it mean to shoot film or video as 'Day for Night'? Learn the terminology and how to do it in this video tutorial.


Color Correction Technique: Day for Night

‘Day for night’ is a grade that every colorist needs to have in his or her tool box

It’s a common request from clients who have shot during the day but want the image to look like it was shot at night. Why the heck would a client shoot ‘day for night’?

Wouldn’t it be easier just to shoot at night?

The answer can be complicated but most often it has to do with scheduling, overtime or both:

• Some locations can only be accessed during daylight hours. Other locations may be deemed too dangerous to shoot at night. In both cases, scheduling forces the hands of the production.

• On union jobs, there are frequently rules in place forcing extra compensation to shoot in the evening. Or if the night shoot has to happen on the same day as the day shoot? Now we’re talking overtime. And since a true night shoot might require a production pause for a few hours to get past ‘magic hour’, why pause shooting? Just shoot late afternoon or early morning and then do a ‘Day for Night’ color grade.

Learn how to color correct ‘Day for Night’

Since this is a common request from clients, tt can be a lifesaver to have a couple of different options prepared and ready to go. In this example, I’m building a look based on the request for a day to night timelapse effect.

This is also part one of the series where I focus on building the look—and in the next part I’ll be showing you an easy way to blend between complex grades to build a night to day timelapse effect easily!


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Homepage Forums How to Build A ‘Day For Night’ Look – Color Correction Technique

  • Hi Dan, I was wondering how you’d approach a day for night shot which isn’t as wide and features actors? Have you got any tips on how to work with their skin tones and how to make it feel like night time when there isn’t necessarily any sky in shot?


  • Dan Moran

    Hey Mike! I think the big question in that situation is where are your actors? Are they on a street or near a house etc? If they are in a street scene I would try and introduce some sodium street light vibes (or at least thats what most of them are here in London) on the actors skin using windows to emulate the light coming from them above. Its a tricky one but the main thing about a Day for Night is getting rid of a uniform blue wash type look. Hope this helps but if you can send me a still of the shot your working on I might be able to suggest more! D

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