The Innovative Technique Behind Nope's 'Extraordinary' Night Photography

Potential spoilers for "Nope" follow.

While most of the action shown in "Nope" was filmed during the day, there are a few stunning scenes throughout the movie that take place under the cover of darkness. These scenes, in particular, might have made your breath hitch just a bit because of how they allowed the alien dubbed Jean Jacket to fly across the sky relatively unseen. It is this covertness that makes the darkness so stress-inducing for the viewer.

There is a reason why these scenes looked so stunning. According to the film's editor, Nicholas Monsour, during /Film's interview, the lighting of the nighttime scenes was done using a very interesting technique.

"There is also a very interesting and innovative technique that they used in shooting the extraordinary nighttime scenes," he explained, adding: 

"It's actually a hybrid of infrared video and 70mm film, which is a process that has been developing with, I believe, Panavision to make the camera rigs work to do that. It also meant that our dailies looked pretty different from the final."

How this works

The rigged camera contraption was set up during the nighttime shoots of "Nope" in order to capture a mystique of illusion and eerieness. You might think everything looks normal at first glance, but looking at the sky a bit closer reveals that something strange is lurking unseen in the clouds.

"What Hoyte was able to pull off here is illusion that is truly remarkable and complete," director Jordan Peele told IndieWire. "There's a reason that when you are in the night scenes, in my film, it feels different than any other film you've ever seen."

This reason lies in the distinct infrared appearance that the nighttime scenes have. Despite the dailies not always complying with the IMAX cameras used during production, the rig gave the film's editors and colorists an unprecedented opportunity. Monsour elaborated on this:

"The film looked a little bit more like infrared when we were working with it, so that we could see what was there. And then eventually it was all dialed into this really uncanny blend of seeing out into the night. And there was a little bit more temp color correction as we went to make sure, you know, when you're trying to judge an edit, that it's flowing, that there isn't a bump when you're watching that because of some technical difference because of the film."

To read more of our interview with Monsour, check it out here. "Nope" is currently in theaters.