No Atmosphere? Create It.

The Lodger (1944)

Here on the island an occasional  fog rolls in. Rarely, the thick, cut-it-with-a-knife fog you get in London or San Francisco, but moody and mysterious all the same. Shooting in fog is tricky, as the exposure has to be dead-on or you get a big blow out. You also need a rain cover for the camera.  Alas, there was no fog in town the night I was shooting Zoom Noir recently, but I figured I could always add it in post. You can create it from scratch in Photoshop with the airbrush and a low opacity setting, or use a plug-in like Tiffen Dfx v. 2 as I did in the photo below.

from San Diego Noir

I like how the fog mutes the colors in the image. However, if you want an authentic 1940s Film Noir effect you’ll go with black and white.


To match the shot at the top from the film The Lodger (1944), I tried increasing the contrast but as you can see (below) much of the fog effect is lost as the light area gets brighter.


I burned-in around the figure to darken the blacks. Note that the figure in the film still is not in the fog, but it’s above and behind him. I applied a dark sepia filter to the color version  using Nik Silver Efex Pro



Here it’s the grain in the image that adds to the effectiveness, not the fog. So, finally, I simply added grain to the color image and was satisfied for the time being.


But I’m still waiting for the real thing…



Technorati Tags: ,,