Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Fake Snow


I'm shooting a music video on a Sony DSR-300a (DVCam). There are two shots where we need snow. While it's usually readily available this time of year in Ithaca, NY, we have only once gotten flurries. It's a student project, and has no budget (go figure). The first shot is an interior MS of a girl dressed in gothic garb sitting in a bay windowsill with interior lights on and snow outside in the background (defocused). It will be night time. The window is approximately 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide (there are three of these windows next to each other).

The second shot is an exterior wide shot (also night) of the girl gazing out the windows with snow in the foreground. The shot will cover approximately five feet to each side of the edge of the windows (shot 1.33:1). The house is in a rural area and is peach with green trim. Also with this shot her breath will need to be visible on the cold window.

I was thinking to use Styrofoam as snow for the first shot. Does anyone have any suggestions for the snow of the second shot? Also besides an air conditioner, are there any ideas for her breath on the window? I thought of hiding a window pane (that we kept in the freezer for a few hrs) inside the actual window... any suggestions?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Dom Zanghi

Watch "Ravenous" - they used white towels for snow on the exteriors and I probably wouldn't have noticed except one of the actors kicked one of the towels.

Jessica Gallant
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
West Coast Systems Administrator, Cinematography Mailing List

>I was thinking to use Styrofoam as snow

Tried instant mashed potato flakes instead. Better for the environment and looks better in your shot. Get a long tube of cardboard such as a mailing shipper for posters and drill a number of holes along one side. Fill it with the flakes and shake to get an even distribution of snowfall. More holes and more shake means greater snowfall. If you need to cover a larger area make two of them.

Mitch Gross

>Tried instant mashed potato flakes instead. Better for the environment >and looks better in your shot.

E specially if it rains Mitch....


Laurie K. Gilbert s.o.c.
Motion Picture Director of Photography
HD Cinematographer

Cotton (or synthetic) batting is somewhat common and looks great when it's wet down.


Anders Uhl
ICG, New York

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