Night Ext. Lighting With No Genny


Hey gang,

So I’ve got a job coming up - I’m actually a gun for hire director on a horror short if you can believe that. Budget is super modest. We’re shooting on blackmagic (I know ugh but the workflow is pretty solid at this point) and Noktons. We have one big problem which the DP and I are struggling with: how do we light night exteriors in the woods. Namely, and more specifically, how do we motivate fill light in this environment. The vibe of the script is kind of similar to The VVItch, very dreamlike, so super- high-contrast doesn’t make sense. Locations are perfect vibe wise but have little to no power immediately available and there’s no money for a genny.

Do you guys have any low-budget friendly battery powered lighting solutions? Please let me know. So far, we’ve got a rig that I built out of battery powered LEDs, which is equivalent to about 750W at full tilt. It’s also pretty directional given the lights it’s build out of (Fiilex open faces). I think this will work as a key in some scenes, but where the hell is it coming from motivation wise?

We also had the idea of lighting it with practicals, which makes more sense, but I’m concerned again with how we control something like a flashlight or even a bright sodium vapor lantern, and make it look not…blair-witchy?

Any and all advice appreciated.

<3 BHT


Hey, I have been wondering the same thing and what I have found is to make a reason for the light so your lighting rig could be the “moonlight” and I’m not sure what your story is but you could work flashlights or lanterns into the scene to get the look and possibly even add to the story. Hope this helped in anyway!


The thing that I would do is first, try to shoot on magic hour, and try to get some sun light into the scene.

In case that you guys can’t do that, try to add fog unto the night scene, then if you guys can have a electric plant that works with gas, have it and connect it to a main, powerful light, like an Arri 2000w fresnel. Light the woods and you’ll problaby will get something like these.

I hope that helps you, at least a little bit. Can’t wait to see what you guys do.