New day for night technique-Hoyte van Hoytema

Sep 06 2022

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Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema

Van Hoytema has shot several feature films, documentaries, and successful television series. His collaborations with leading  directors like  Christopher Nolan have won him critical acclaim and several national and international prizes.


He is a member of the American society of cinematographer Swedish society of cinematographers and the Netherlands Society of Cinematographers.

His recent film The Nope is most talked about for its stunning visual appeal and the new way of filming day for night sequence.

Director Jorden Peele’s new horror flick has designed to have a special look in terms of visuals…especially the night sequences.

So van Hoytema built an elaborate rig for combining 65mm digital infrared information with Panavision System 65mm film information, which was then layered together to create the special look.

In the film they wanted to create a surreal look of night still close to natural way our human eyes see…the  location is  middle of the valley and be surrounded by gigantic mountain ranges.

Van Hoytema in his expert interview says “When Jordan and I went on the night scouts around Agua Dulce, we saw that there was no available light whatsoever, and realized there was no way we were ever going to be able to light and photograph these large expanses convincingly.”

Van Hoytema brought a new idea of combining regular camera and a special infra red camera like a 3D rig combing these two visual footages in post to create a unique day for night look.

3D-stereo camera rigs on which they had two cameras,“One was Arri Alexa, specifically customized to capture infrared, the other a regular 35mm film camera.”

Infrared cameras are sensitive to very specific wavelengths of light, which is why the images they produce are monochromatic. When shooting natural sunlight with infrared cameras with a slight contrast boost, the images are brightly lit but the skies are dark. By having the 35mm camera that picks up the vital color and texture needed for the image, a perfect composition of the two images comes together in post.

very important is the two camera set ups should have identical lens, depth of field.

Creating day for night with these technique with mix of the two sets of images, the results were something beautiful and never before seen.

The Guide #38: Any chance of going to the cinema without being spoiled first? Nope | Movies | The Guardian

This technique allows audiences  to look deeper into the darkness of the image.

Nope is presented in Imax format..and the most of the film sequences are filmed using Imax cameras.

Article compiled by 

CJ Rajkumar