Golden Hour Makes Cars Look Stunning, Even In The '70s

Ask a cinematographer when is the best time to shoot a car video. Usually they'll say something like "after ice cream o'clock." Then they'll talk about something called "golden hour," aka "magic hour." That's just after sunrise, or before sunset. But why?

Notwithstanding it's not an actual "hour," those dawn-and-dusk periods bring less contrast, more pleasing highlights (that are less likely to be overexposed), and a warm, reddish color of the low-angle sun tends to punch up the colors of what you're shooting. Naturally, this is a gross oversimplification, as most photogs can talk for hours about golden hour. For the rest of us, "I know it when I see it" is enough.


Here's one example of gorgeous magic hour cinematography from the 1970s (though a little past prime golden time), in a Japanese ad for the JDM Nissan Laurel, circa 1973. See if you can find other examples of hot car-on-twilight action and post them in Kinja.

Want to know when golden hour is? Check out this twilight calculator.

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