We’re not talking about the timelapse holy grail here. We’re talking video. One of the most difficult things to do in film is to show the passing of time in a single shot. There are many ways to do it, but rarely is it all caught in the same take.
This video from the folks at Aperture’s A-Team shows us how it can be done with a little forethought and some fancy trickery with your lighting setup. It’s actually not as difficult as you might think, although it definitely takes some planning and there are one or two tips that can help improve your odds of pulling it off.
Typically this sort of shot is done as a timelapse. But when you can’t film your actor sleeping all night or you’re on a time crunch, what else can you do? Well, you can get fancy with your lights and shoot it all in a single clip.
The technique here essentially involves creating two completely different lighting setups and having them both positioned and ready to go at a moment’s notice. You need to have your white balance and colours set appropriately for all the lights, but essentially you have one setup that’s lit to look like night and then another that’s lit to look like that early morning golden glow. Then you transition from one to the other over the course of a few seconds while you’re recording.
To light the scene, they used some of the new Aputure Nova P300C panels. These are RGBWW lights, which can be set to just about any colour you can imagine. So this allowed them to easily have some set up to look like moonlight while others have the appearance of the gold early morning sunlight.
That sounds a lot easier than it actually is. You’ll want to be fairly tight on your subject and it might take you a few goes to nail it the first few times you try it, but once you do, it’s a fantastic effect that can show the passing of time in a very short shot. The moonlight was faded out and the morning sunlight faded in simultaneously using the Sidus Link app on a couple of phones (one to control each lighting setup).
Showing the passing of time can also be done quite effectively with a matched jump cut, which also allows you to get a little more extreme with your lighting. The team adds an Aputure LS 300X to the existing lighting setup and demonstrate how you can do that one, too.
Even if you don’t want to do a transition from one to the other but just learn how to simulate the look of nighttime moonlight or early morning sun, the video’s well worth a watch and offers up some great tips.