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Lighting A Night Time Rain Shot On A Low Budget

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The shot is a guy walking down an empty road, night time in the rain.

My thought is to shoot day for night (overcast day). Wet, the road, wet the actor, maybe have a hose adding a slight drizzle to the scene. Have a backlight (as large as I can get within the almost 0 budget). Have someone walking along with a fluro key with the generator in the back of a flat bed truck driving alongside. No need to pick up location sound so I'm not worried about noise.

Shots will be a mixture of static and steadicam shot on a HD video camera (Sony EX3).

I'll add more rain effects, push the contrast, increase the blacks and add masks in post.

Anyone else have any experience with this kind of shot (on film or video), or any suggestions on my thoughts or other ways of doing it?

Matthew Mulrine
Canberra, Australia


>>"The shot is a guy walking down an empty road, night time in the rain.

My thought is to shoot day for night (overcast day)."

Your lighting scheme sounds capable of lighting someone at night. Day for Night is going to complicate matters and your lighting will have to overpower the ambient light - upping the amount you'll need.

Is it meant to represent streetlight? Are there streetlights? Best case scenario would be a location where the surrounding environment takes care of itself and all you're doing is 'tarting up' the levels on the artist.

To make rain show up one needs backlight but not buckets of it to make water droplets visible. A smaller (sharper source) with the best possible spread - or a series of small sources, to minimize any source-y-ness - would be better if you are unable to position one large source at a sufficient height and fixed distance to light the run.

Tom Townend,
Cinematographer/London


Matthew Mulrine said:

>>I'll add more rain effects, push the contrast, increase the blacks and add masks in post.

Adding photo-realistic rain in post is trickier than it might seem. I personally wouldn't rely on it, especially if you are on a low budget.

If you want stylized rain, though, post is likely the best way.

Just my two cents.

Charles A. Taylor
DoP
Toronto


Do as Tom suggests.

If you can’t afford a genny then tie in as many 2k's or Blondes as you can as far away and as high as you can get away with. Flood them and position them so they are evenly spread. If you want a moonlight look put some 1/2 CTB on them, if you want street light FX warm them up.

A 'moonlight' backlight doesn't have to be too bright. You can read it at 2 stops under your key and it will be fine.

The day for night idea sounds wrong. You'll have trouble getting the rain to read in the day without a big HMI, and if you want to darken the sky in post you won’t see the rain.

I agree post rain FX looks shite IMO.

Cheers
Dan Bronks
DP
UK
www.danielbronks.com