Turn day into night using iMovie
Use color grading and add layered graphics to create a nocturnal look
Shooting video at night can be a challenge, especially when no strong light source is available. The quality of footage can suffer due to the camera’s need to increase its ISO speed to make it more sensitive to low light; a fast ISO can make the clip look grainy. To avoid these problems, many filmmakers shoot during the day and then grade colors and tones. This involves adding a cold blue hue and reducing saturation and brightness.
iMovie has a dedicated Day into Night effect filter, though the result isn’t particularly realistic. Instead, in this tutorial, we’ll demonstrate how to use iMovie’s grading tools to manually adjust a daytime clip’s color temperature and tweak its tones to create a more convincing customized nighttime scene.
By compositing a full moon graphic into iMovie’s timeline you can help sell the nighttime effect. We created this project’s moon in Photoshop. iMovie can interpret the transparency information in a Photoshop document so that any object can be added to a video clip on a separate layer. We’ll show you how to position and scale a graphic using iMovie’s video overlay settings.
We’ll also show you how to integrate the composited moon and the graded background footage more effectively by adding a camera move to the clip. The addition of a vignette effect also helps blend the elements together.
If you don’t have Photoshop, don’t worry — you can still follow the iMovie color grading techniques in our walkthrough to produce a convincing day-to-night effect.