Tips and Tricks: Turning Day into Night

JC Backings’ vast image library lets Production Designers and Art Directors create custom looks without custom photography. You save time and money because there are no location scouts, travel expenses or other costs often associated with custom shoots. You just start by selecting one of J.C. Backings stock images and begin creating your new backing from it.

You can see one dramatic example of this process below. The original Photo Backing, CT-236 was digitally manipulated to create a new day/night Digital Print Backing, DPC-140 without having to shoot a location.

CT-236 (Before)

DPC-140 (After - Day)

DPC-140 (After - Night)


Tips and Tricks for Animating Ocean or Waterfront Backings

As everyone knows, animating an ocean backing (making the water appear to have motion) is one of the hardest tricks to do on a stage set. One way to accomplish this is to apply strips of clear cellophane onto the front of the backing. These clear cellophane strips can either be glued onto the front of a Painted backing or taped onto the front of a Photo or Digital Print backing. To further enhance the effect, you can shine a light onto the front of the backing and blow a small amount of air onto the cellophane which causes the cellophane to “flutter” and produces the effect of movement in the ocean.

A second way to animate the water in a backing is to place an actual pan of water in front of the backing with broken mirror shards laid in the bottom of the pan. By shining a light into the pan of water the mirror shards will cast a “rippling” reflection onto the front of the backing thus giving the illusion of movement. This effect is more successful with frontlit backings than with backlit backings.

A third way to animate water on a Painted backing only is by using small sequins or paillettes with a hole in the middle that you would then take a straight pin and pin the sequin through the hole into backing on the front. The sequin or paillette will then “flutter” and reflect light. This third way is only for using on Painted backings because you can not create holes in a Photo or Digital Print Backing.


Tips and Tricks: Lighting a Photo Backing

Getting the most out of a photo backing is easy when some basic rules are followed:

Keep it balanced. Photo backings are designed to be backlit with either tungsten or fluorescent lights color balanced to 3200K. For light intensity, we recommend 400-foot candles for film and 300-foot candles for video.

Avoid hot spots. Light the photo backing with even, uniform lighting.

Avoid melting and/or burning through the backing. Tungsten light should be placed at least 8-feet from behind the backing; otherwise the light intensity can melt the backing or burn a hole through it. Fluorescent lights don’t produce as much heat as tungsten, so they can be positioned as close as 5’ behind the backing.


Tips and Tricks: More on How to Turn Day into Night

Every production is unique, but sometimes there isn’t time or budget to allow for a custom photo shoot. Knowing how to rework stock images or turning a day image into night can create a custom look to fit any production design.

Virtually any of JC Backing’s daytime photo stock images can be digitally manipulated into a night backing even if no night images exist. JC Backing’s images are of the highest possible quality and resolution and can be revised or cropped without losing the file integrity or degrading the image in any way.

Take, for example, how we used an original daytime image (CT-511) to create two new backings for the TV show “Pair of Kings”. First, the original image was cropped to the production’s specifications and then the image was digitally manipulated to create a stunning night image, complete with moonlit mountains and shimmering water.

View DPF-114 and DPF-115.

Please feel free to contact J.C. Backings with your own Tips and Tricks!