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Old April 28th, 2004, 11:06 AM   #1
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Shooting & Lighting Fake Rain

Hello folks,
I tried a search on shooting and lighting rain, but came up a bit empty.

I am using a DVX100p, a basic three light kit, and two actors in a small car.

My script calls for hard pounding rain on the car's windshield at night while the actors sit inside, but luckily, it's mostly closeups and the rain would be confined to small areas of the car.

No long, wide shots.

Can I use an overhead springler of some sort or would I have to literally get a firetruck??

Also, I heard that it's best to light the rain from a backlight or on the sides.

Any advice??

Thanks!
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Old April 28th, 2004, 01:36 PM   #2
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Some of our students hired a fire truck for their shoot. They got a great
deal IMO . . . $100!

YMMV,

J.

PS iMovie has a pretty cool rain effect for free.
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Old April 28th, 2004, 02:55 PM   #3
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I made a "rain machine" one time for a shoot. We used what was basically a plywood box whose base was a 4 X 8 foot sheet of plywood. I think we used one by fours for the sides, caulked it with silicone caulk and drilled small holes all over the bottom. It was then suspended over the stuff we were shooting, on a couple of sturdy folding ladders. And the gaffer stood on another ladder with a hose running steadily into the box. If your hose has too much volume, you can overflow the box even though the water is running out the holes.
Only problem with this arrangement is that there's no good on/off switch if you want to start up the rain abruptly. In my case we didn't.

Also, a bit of good backlight does help the effect.

The problem with most fake rain, except for big budget productions, is that whatever is in the background isn't getting rained on. If you're shooting from the outside of the car through the windshield, then it wouldn't be quite as difficult, I think, but you'd want more than one "rain machine" or one very big one, because if you see through to the back windshield, you would want rain falling back there too; and if you see through a window, there would need to be rain out there.

If you live in a large city where there is lots of production, somebody may have a very cool real fake rain thing to rent. I'm sure there are better ways to do it than what we did. You might even experiment with those garden soaker hoses--the kind with a cap on the end and little holes the length of the hose. The holes would be too little, but you could drill them out bigger, maybe. Or use PVC pipe drilled with holes.
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Old April 28th, 2004, 03:56 PM   #4
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Small area rain effect. Get a "y" splitter at your hardware store... get two even. Take your main water line and split it into "three" short lines. Put two "sweeping" sprinklers and one "radial" sprinkler on. Turn on water, positin sprinklers and focus for best effect. Backlight outside of range.
Good luck
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Old April 29th, 2004, 07:25 AM   #5
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For you to be able to see the actual rain and not only drops bouncing, you need ALOT of water coming down.. Once you see it on a monitor it won't look like it did "live"..
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Old April 29th, 2004, 02:04 PM   #6
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A classic example is the movie "Singing in the Rain." All the "rain" you see in the famous dance sequence is actually milk.
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Old April 29th, 2004, 02:09 PM   #7
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Interesting you should mention that movie...the fake rain shot I did years ago was for a test TV spot for Stetson hats, with cutaways from the "singin' in the rain" sequence from the film. Stetson was introducing a new water resistant had. I used real water with some nice warm backlight
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Old April 29th, 2004, 02:19 PM   #8
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Excellent, I had heard about that "milk" effect before. Looks like I'll be doing some tests this weekend!
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Old May 3rd, 2004, 11:26 AM   #9
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You're right that lighting the rain is going to be most important aspect in all this. At night that means you have to have a lot of light that's hitting nothing but the rain. You can put light behind the car and aim it straight up or back and up. And you'll need light to the side and fairly close to the camera. The rain right in front of the lens is some of the most important. Remember, rain is a lot like dust. It's easy to give away a light source.

For torrential rain, a firehose is the only thing I know about and some people have acutally used REAL rain. I personally wouldn't do that because of the danger of lightning and all the electronic gear.

When you're ready to do your "sand storm" scene, come back and we'll discuss fans (which BTW are also good for rain shots).

Cheers and good luck.

John
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Old May 3rd, 2004, 11:27 AM   #10
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You're right that lighting the rain is going to be most important aspect in all this. At night that means you have to have a lot of light that's hitting nothing but the rain. You can put light behind the car and aim it straight up or back and up. And you'll need light to the side and fairly close to the camera. The rain right in front of the lens is some of the most important. Remember, rain is a lot like dust. It's easy to give away a light source.

For torrential rain, a firehose is the only thing I know about and some people have acutally used REAL rain. I personally wouldn't do that because of the danger of lightning and all the electronic gear.

When you're ready to do your "sand storm" scene, come back and we'll discuss fans (which BTW are also good for rain shots).

Cheers and good luck.

John
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