Day For Night

la nuit americaine

Day for night, also known as nuit américaine (‘American night’), is the name for cinematographic techniques used to simulate a night scene; such as using tungsten-balanced rather than daylight-balanced film stock or with special blue filters and also under-exposing the shot (usually in post-production) to create the illusion of darkness or moonlight. Historically, infrared movie film was used to achieve an equivalent look with black-and-white film.

Another way to achieve this effect is to tune the white balance of the camera to a yellow source if there is no tungsten setting. Another way to make a more believable night scene is to underexpose the footage to the desired degree of night/darkness. This depends on the amount of light shown or believed to be in the given scene. The title of François Truffaut’s film ‘Day for Night’ (1973) is a reference to this technique.

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