Home of Professional Cinematography since 1996

Rain More Rain

Published : 15th September 2003


Hello,

I have a shoot coming up which requires quite a bit of rain FX. Not having done rain FX before, I am wondering about the use of a rain deflector vs using a rain cover with umbrella, etc. -- or everything combined. I certainly plan on getting wet and getting close to the subject but most likely staying on the dolly. I would be interested in hearing other people's experiences. Also, budget is a consideration and the deflector tends to add up over time, is there a poor mans way of keeping lens /camera dry. Thanks for the input.

Tom Camarda
Director of Photography
Los Angeles



>...I am wondering about the use of a rain deflector vs using a rain cover >with umbrella...

Lot's of clear plastic bags. Electrical tape. Lot's of towels. Good raingear. Sports sweatbands for wrists. Experienced assistants.

Umbrellas are usually a pain because you can see the water coming off hem. Whilst on that note : make sure you use some sort of absorption to prevent the water from dripping off the eyebrow. It doesn't look right.

Be careful about matching the intensity of the rain when you are going from long lenses to short lenses. Try not to get stuck shooting *wide & tight* at the same time. The two shots will look different.

Be careful about using a ‘Pola’, because if you *do* decide you like rain deflectors, Plexiglass has some polarized qualities that can cause exposure variations if used in conjunction with a polarizing filter.

A circular ‘Pola” might take care of this but you might want to test that.

David Perrault, csc



>Be careful about matching the intensity of the rain when you are going >from long lenses to short lenses. Try not to get stuck shooting *wide & >tight* at the same time.

What about this? How do most of you adjust from lens to lens for controlled rain?

Roderick
Az. D.P.
www.cinema-vista.com



>,,,How do most of you adjust from lens to lens for controlled rain?,,,

By working with the effects supervisor and tweaking the volume of rainfall. Sometimes this isn't easy, or even possible. In those situations I try to persuade the director to stick with a more closely grouped set of focal lengths and move the camera around a bit more.

It's a field of view thing that can be problematic in natural rain (or snow) as well.

David Perrault, csc



I have worked many days in both natural and artificial rain, and yes, all of the above. You can rig an 8 by ‘grifflon’ over the camera slightly angled toward the rear and slightly to the side to direct most of the water away from the front of the lens, but do be aware of drips. I did a fair amount of days on Michael Jackson's 'Stranger in Moscow" and we had rain for weeks. We used a spinning spray deflector, and someone had a rig consisting of flat nozzles with flexible tubes hooked up to compressed air (scuba) tanks, clipped on to the front of the matte box. They would blow streams of air onto the spinning deflector to blow off spare drips. Lots of huge plastic bags to cover the camera even while under the rain hat. I have a grip friend that made a rain house composed of heavy clear vinyl. It had a roof with drain tubes welded in, and removable clear vinyl sides that Velcroed onto the roof. It tied into a standard 6x6 frame and was pretty cool.

Ed Colman - SuperDailies
Cinematographer Supervised Video Dailies



Tom

I would consider the spray deflector pretty much indispensable if you are planning a lot of rain FX. Even in low, low budget situations (terrain with which I am all too familiar) I would not do a serious rain scene without one. An eyebrow and rain cover will only take you so far. Your company will no doubt be laying down some serious cash to rent the rain tower, the water truck, the effects man, etc. You shouldn't compromise your ability to get the shot.

Don't forget bombproof raingear for yourself!

Rob Sweeney/ Cinematographer/ LA



Ed Coleman wrote :

>I did a fair amount of days on Michael Jackson's 'Stranger in Moscow" >and we had rain for weeks

I just saw that video on the Photosonics demo. Beautiful. Shot on '79 I presume, since the high speed stuff was from 200 to 1500 fps.

John Babl
Miami