February 12, 2018

Does Your Scene Call for Rain? Here's How to Shoot in It

If the forecast of your film calls for rain, you'll need to know a few things before you hit record.

Rain scenes are awesome! They're sexy, they're dramatic, they're interesting. I mean, the sound of a detective's wingtip hitting wet pavement in search of clues in a dark alleyway is probably the greatest sound known to mankind, right? The problem, though, is that rain is a really difficult element to control on a film set. Whether you're creating it with a rain rig or dealing with the real stuff, there are some very particular methods for capturing rain on-camera, some of which are broken down in this video from StudioBinder.

  • Avoid the sun: To put it simply, the light from the sun will make your rain invisible. Shooting at night will allow you to backlight, and thus emphasize those big, sexy, movie raindrops.
  • Plan for delays: If the rain you're dealing with on your set isn't manufactured movie rain, but like, the real kind of rain from clouds, you'll want to be sure to plan ahead. Check the forecast, prepare for delays and plenty of additional setup/teardown time. You'll also need to provide a dry place for your cast, crew, and equipment to retreat into.
  • Movie rain: But if you are dealing with manufactured movie rain, you're going to want to know how the hell to produce it. With the right permits, you can access fire hydrants, rent an expensive rain truck, or make your own DIY rain rig for $60.
  • Rain rigs: The name of the game isn't dumping as much water on your set as possible, it's about being able to control the dispersion of it. One trick for making your rain look more dynamic is throwing some debris into the mix, like leaves, smoke, or Fuller's Earth.
  • Wet downs: If all else fails, do some wet downs. Hose down roads, plants, cars, street signs, and your actors to give your scene that "just rained" look for a fraction of the cost.

Aside from the video, StudioBinder did a great and very thorough write-up about capturing rain on-camera that I highly suggest you check out. It offers even more tips and tricks on how to set up lighting, using rain machines, and how to compose shots that contain the wet stuff.

What are some other tips for shooting scenes with rain? Let us know down in the comments.     

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