Make Your Movie Rain More Dynamic & Sexy with These Dirt Cheap DIY Tricks

Creating a StormSometimes, for a film, you gotta make it rain -- unless of course you live in the Pacific Northwest, or somewhere equally as soggy and miserable. And even if you do live in 75%-chance-of-rain perpetuity, natural rain looks nothing like movie rain on-screen. Creating stormy conditions is something that is extremely intentional and labor intensive, but Jason Satterlund, a Portland-based filmmaker and probable rain expert, shares several tips on how to create "sexy movie rain" and dynamic wind effects on a budget. Continue on for the videos.

Me being a native Oregonian means a few different things: I kind of feel like I own Nike (we call Phil Knight "Uncle Phil" here in Eugene), I will absolutely play hacky sack anytime/anywhere, and I'm too proud to use an umbrella in the rain (but I still complain about getting soaked). So, creating rain that looks really good on-screen is kind of an irrational desire for me, but Satterlund's tips give some excellent insight into what works, what doesn't work, and what things to think about before you pelt your actors with water and debris.

Satterlund utilized rain towers hooked up to fire hydrants, and though it only cost him $100 for the permit and water (add to that the cost of the lift/water tower/other rentals), there are less spendy options. I'm sure you've seen plenty of videos on how to build a DIY rain machine or rain bar, and those not only work well, but they're inexpensive and relatively straightforward to make. Just make sure that whatever you build produces thick, fat, beautiful rain drops (and no -- a hose is probably not going to cut it).

Check out the videos below, as well as Satterlund's article to learn more about the elements that will help bring your rain to the forefront of your scene (or just show up at all), like lighting, drop size, and debris/dust/smoke -- Satterlund also lists a bunch of materials you can use.

Adding rain to a scene isn't usually an arbitrary thing. If you're going to go through the trouble, you might as well make it as dynamic and narratively significant as possible.

What do you think about Jason Satterlund's tips? Do you have any suggestions on how to make rain look better on-screen? Let us know in the comments below.

Link: Making a Storm -- Big Puddle Films

[via Raindance]

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Graet tips and ideas! The footage looked great and the actors did a very good job in those clips. Keep up the good work!

April 5, 2014 at 3:56PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Nice info on this, gonna make it rain on these h**s now

April 5, 2014 at 4:36PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Cool to see this production on NFS! I had the opportunity to help out on it. :) It was intense, and Jason and rest of crew were awesome. Are any of the NFS team going to NAB? It'd be cool to run into you guys.

April 5, 2014 at 9:54PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Appreciate this info. Keep it coming. Many thanks.

April 6, 2014 at 2:16AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM

Derek Wallace

These are great videos. I had to create rain on a shoe string budget for a series, Kissing in the Rain. Getting the background haze right goes so far

April 6, 2014 at 11:43AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Great rain shots! How did you go about creating the rain effects?

July 27, 2014 at 1:48PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Great tips. I felt a strong Sam Raimi influence in some of those clips. Very inspiring.

April 6, 2014 at 1:09PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


I'm a native Oregonian, as well, and I find this whole "I don't use an umbrella" thing to be very stupid; merely a way for people to make themselves feel somehow elite, or more "authentic Oregonian" than folks who have moved here.

That said, great video, great tips. :)

September 22, 2015 at 9:09AM

L.Rowan McKnight
Film student