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Top Tips on Making a Cloudy Day Look Sunny

29th April 2021 by CH Video 

We’ve all been there. Best laid plans for a weekend picnic ruined, not packing a raincoat for a weekend away, optimistically lathering on sun cream in hope of a scorcher.

Cloudy and wet days catch us all out but working in video means we’re super agile when confronted with these challenges and have a few tricks up our sleeves.

Below is a list of our top 5 tips to faking your cloudy day and making it look like the peak of summer!

1. Lights

This is by far the most important and expensive tip but having some powerful daylight-temperature lights is a really effective step in bodging your overcast footage.

Recently, we teamed up with Thames Water for their new campaign promoting water efficiency. On the shoot, we were presented with typical March weather in England. Luckily, we anticipated this and rented 2 Arri 2.5kw lights. Blasting these lights through a window and front door made for some excellent daylight mockery, especially after seeing the footage graded, which brings us to our next tip!

2. Grading

One of the most powerful tools in a video editor’s arsenal is colour grading. With your gloomy winter’s day footage, using a warm colour temperature and bumping up the contrast and saturation will give your footage a much warmer glow and really hammer home those summer vibes.

3. Faking Skies

This one is a little more advanced and potentially more time consuming, but a very simple way to convince your audience that you shot in an entirely different season.

The “we’ll fix it in post” classic is often overused but this is a case where it could work really well. If you’ve got a wide shot where you simply can’t frame out the sky, then consider cutting around your overcast sky to replace it with one that’s more desirable! Note that this is much easier and faster technique to accomplish when your shot is stationary.

For an awesome before and after – see the top image in this article.

4. Lens Flares

Tracking in a lens flare on a reflective surface or where your sun would be will give an overcast shot a little more life. Lens flares only occur naturally when light scatters on a lens, and often that light source is the sun. It’s sometimes an undesirable effect unless you’re JJ Abrams, but emulating this and faking a lens flare can sometimes be the difference in elevating your cloudy footage.

Notice how the before and after stills below change with the combination of a number of our tips: grading, fake skies, and lens flares work in tandem here to really give that summery feel on a video we made for the NHS Property Services.

And here’s those tips all together!

If you’d like us to weave some magic on a cloudy day for you, give us a bell at hello@ch-video.com.

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