Turn day into night us­ing iMovie

Use color grad­ing and add lay­ered graph­ics to cre­ate a noc­tur­nal look

Mac|Life - - CONTENTS - Ge­orge Cairns

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.

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