A Dive into Night-Vision in Chaos Corona

November 14, 2022

Operation: Deli Platter is a personal series of renders telling a story about border control, modern warfare and the pharmaceutical industry :)
By the end of the first act we enter night-vision mode!

Most of this effect was achieved in compositing. However, some steps are required before rendering to achieve such a result accurately.

Before getting into the breakdown, here are some references for night-vision:

I used these references from Zero Dark Thirty to figure out what elements make up night-vision imagery.
The brightness values are more open to interpretation.

Inside of Cinema 4D I placed a Corona Light in the same position as the camera. The light is aimed at the subject. We can use the light’s falloff to emphasise the night-vision effect.
This article on How Nightvision Works is a great read for anyone trying to recreate a similar effect.I’ve spotted the light at 55% (Directionality) to minimise the diffused look and emphasise the bright highlights. At this step I change the directionality based on the shot.

The raw render is a 32-bit .exr that turned out as above. This will be taken into After Effects for compositing.
An effective technique is combining the base layer with a Z-Depth pass.
This emphasises the distance at which your night-vision is optimal.

I made use of the Blackmagic and A7SII noise prints from our Digital Camera Noise Collection!
You can play around with the intensity of the ISO you’re supposedly using in your shot.
It’s important the night vision effect reflects the environment your characters are in.

Blackmagic Cine Pocket Camera 3200 ISO texture.

Night-vision sensitivity works similar to the light sensitivity on digital cameras. If you’re in a very dark environment it’s good to make the footage more noisy to achieve the required brightness.

There is also a layer of digital fireflies (both black and white) that I’ve added on top. This brings out a much rougher feel to the night-vision.
These days night-vision is available in a variety of color processes. As much as there is black and white/infrared night vision, there are also some forms of full-color night vision.
The balance of how it should look is on you :)

Digital fireflies extracted from Canon 60D in low-light scenarios.

Thanks a lot for your time! Have a great day!

Cheers, Leo