Cinematography : Shooting Outdoors by Shane Kelly Davis

Shane Kelly Davis

Shooting Outdoors

I am working on a project that's outdoors. It's a sort of survivalist horror film. Does anyone know how I can shoot nature (the woods) to look eerie or looming sense of dread that comes with being outside. Thanks Shane

Anthony J Jefferson

I wood assume a smog factor works gloomy overcast and smog makes the scene appear like something is coming in the air

Tadeo F Phillips

Hi Shane, how are you? do you need a storyboard artist?

Gordon Clatworthy

Is it a day or night time shoot? how are you filming it? is it found footage? there's a lot of tricks to get a shot outdoors to look eerie. if someone is running from someone use a wide lens to place the characters in the same shot, if your protagonist has gotten away show their perspective with a longer lens to give it that "tunnel vision" look along with movement that isn't present with the other cameras. adding fog definitely adds atmosphere, at night a single source of light through the fog keeps everything outside of one area dark and menacing. watch classic horror films like an american werewolf in london to see what can be done with just a single light source in a field. good luck on your project and keep us posted.

Alex Darke

I think of the dread of being in the woods coming from not knowing if there's something lurking around the corner or in a bush. So highlighting those moments with good sound design - the sound of the persons own heart or breathing and things like that could help accent the visuals. Also wide shots, showing the vastness - making the character feel small. Things like that.

Larry DeGala

maybe something like this?

Chuchi Rivero

Coolers with lots of dry ice works wonders

Alfred Cox

shoot during an overcast day.. and color grade in post.

Royce Allen Dudley

Some elements to consider...

Keep everything back/edge lit by lower sunlight through trees.

Color pallette leaning towards cool (blues and foliage bluegreen).

Crushed blacks... increase contrast carefully in the color grade.

Overcast days will be extremely flat and even, so barring a marine layer to break up the distance, it may not look anything but pretty... but the sky will be hot. Instead using the contrast inherent in dappled sunlight works well even when colors are played "normal"... see also DELIVERANCE.

If you luck into a day with rolling clouds that keep passing, you can embrace their effect, especially in black and white... theres a long dialogie scene in THE LAST PICTURE SHOW where no attempt is made to deal with changing exposure from clouds, and it feels tremendous as a viewer.

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