In Southern California’s summer, day exteriors are a leisurely thing.
The sun rises at 5 am, and it’s not fully dark until almost 9 pm.
This time of year, however, when it’s fully dark by 6:30 pm, day exteriors are a rush – we have to get done before we run out of light.
When the daylight runs out and there’s still day exterior stuff on the schedule for the day(this happens all the time), we start having to set up more and more lights in an effort to finish the day while fighting the ever-deepening twilight. The trick is to do the wide shots (where you see the world) while there’s still light and then do the close ups after it gets dark – it’s easier to fake daylight on a shot where we’re only seeing the actor’s face and a bit of surrounding area.
No matter how you try to make night look like day on a wide shot, it never, ever works.
Luckily, last night we only ended up with six lights (all big ones – which have to go onto the shelves before we fill the aisle of the truck with carts – but having one’s truck “puked” on the last shot of the day seems to happen fairly often. ) off the truck at wrap and got out of there fairly quickly – good thing, too. We almost missed our “hard out”*.
*A “hard out”, also called “tail-lights”, means that we have to have our trucks pulling out at a certain time – this means that ‘camera wrap’ must be called an hour or two before hand, so that we can get our trucks loaded in time to make the hard out. In some parts of LA, this time is more flexible than others. Malibu is notorious for having a VERY inflexible hard out time of 10 pm.
It still amazes me how many times a production will shoot past the camera wrap time, get fined or whatever happens to them, and then blame the crew for not wrapping our gear fast enough – particularly if we’ve told them ahead of time that we have a two hour wrap and they only leave us 45 minutes until the out time.