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Underwater effect


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#1 Mike Bove

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 11:48 PM

Hi all,

Wondering if anyone could help me in achieving an underwater effect, the patterned light you see from swimming pools or whatnot. The idea is the office building is underwater. Not too sure how to go about it, we're running a test next week of a couple ideas but nothing concrete yet. So if anyone's done this before, or can give me some helpful pointers, it would be appreciated!

Thanks in advance,
-Mike
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#2 Nick Mulder

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 11:57 PM

interior - exterior - what type of shot/s ?

we need a bit more info than 'or wotnot'
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#3 e gustavo petersen

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 03:43 AM

You could use a few large fish tanks filled with about three to six inches of water. On the floor of the tank, place a mirror (some like it when the mirror is broken). Shine a light into the mirror (remember that the angle of reflection is equal to the angle of incident). Add a little smoke to the room and/or a fog filter to the lens and a touch of slow-mo and maybe a little underexposure. If you use the fluorescent lights that are in the office, you might want to make the lights that are further away darker by wrapping the tubes with ND gels, bobbinette, window screen mesh or simply turn some off.

If the fish tanks are too difficult to get, try some pyrex casserole dishes. It doesn't need to be glass, you could use anything that'll hold water like a bus tub (like what they use at restaurants). I like the glass because it give me the freedom to aim lights into the mirror from any angle. Good luck.

Edited by Eric Gustavo Petersen, 21 June 2007 - 03:46 AM.

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#4 Luke Prendergast

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 06:58 AM

For big ripple reflection effects Ive used loosely hung 'mirror' fabrics, the sort you'd wear to a disco, as a reflector, lightly teased by a fan. Works amazingly well. I don't think the mirror in a puddle gag would be big enough to convincingly suggest underwater.
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#5 Mike Bove

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 09:29 AM

Sorry I did not specify. It's an interior of an office building, during the character's day at at work.

Interesting ideas! Where would you be able to buy that fabric? I'm a bit confused on what that actually is.
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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 10:25 AM

> the sort you'd wear to a disco

No, actually, I wouldn't!

Phil
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#7 Rupe Whiteman

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 10:48 AM

As Eric says you can put broken mirror in a tray and bounce your source off of it... you can also try/add silver mylar, or pour some water into the tray over the mirror/mylar and agitate for rippling effects...

... You could also experiment with burnt-gels - they way they crinkle up can be used too... manipulate by hand to test...

Hope this helps...
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#8 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 11:11 AM

Some people like to add some smoke, and even a few small feathers flying through the air to simulate plankton, and you can overcrank a bit so you get the languid underwater motion.

Check out:

It's a sequence from Tideland, the actors were shot separately, but you can get an idea for what they did by how the set was lit.
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#9 Bryant Jansen

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 06:00 PM

Hi all,

Wondering if anyone could help me in achieving an underwater effect, the patterned light you see from swimming pools or whatnot. The idea is the office building is underwater. Not too sure how to go about it, we're running a test next week of a couple ideas but nothing concrete yet. So if anyone's done this before, or can give me some helpful pointers, it would be appreciated!

Thanks in advance,
-Mike


I have not tried to light anything to look underwater, but i have noticed that hanging down larger sheets of gel and moving them slightly (wave-like) in front of a light can give you the look of light reflecting off of water. I would of course test this out, but it looked pretty neat.
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#10 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 08:14 PM

Hi,

I think quite a dense smoke might help you, with lots of beams of light coming from... well, wherever you can motivate, really. You could hang some items on threads - fabrics such as curtains, paper - to simulate items floating. Some things, like a water bottle containing some air, would of course float to the ceiling.

Of course you can touch off effects like this in post with bubbles and suchlike. How long has the the area been flooded? If it hasn't been long, there'll be silvery bubbles of air trapped against the ceiling.

Is there a current? If so, suggest it by moving things about slowly.

You could probably sell the effect a little more by overcranking slightly, although it's not strictly accurate it will stop things like fabric moving too fast. You could also blow a lot of very lightweight particles into the air - something like dandelion seeds, only smaller - which might hang there long enough and only be visible in beams of light, to look like plankton.

Most of all I think you need to ensure all your light is coming from the top.

Tell us more about it. What's the purpose of the scene?

If you have people appearing in it, it's going to be quite hard work, I'd think. Didn't the sci fi horror movie Deepstar Six do a lot of dry for wet?

Phil
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#11 Mike Bove

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 12:07 AM

Phil I think you and a couple others (probably everyone else) misunderstood me haha...the office building is supposed to be submerged underwater. The set itself is not supposed to be 'under water'. If you've heard of the underwater motel, think of it like that. The story is a guy going about his average work day, it just so happens the building is in the sea. So in his office, the light that would come in through the office window would be refracted (right word?) through the water thus creating a pattern on the wall / his face.

Hope this makes more sense. Thanks all for the suggestions, I'll definitely try some out next week. And if anyone else has more ideas bring them on!
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#12 Luke Prendergast

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 03:32 AM

> the sort you'd wear to a disco

No, actually, I wouldn't!


I think you look quite fetching in silver...Check out Sunshine BTS pics for a similar reflection trick to what I described.

SilverDress.jpg
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#13 Michael Nash

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 07:14 AM

I was gaffer on this Sean Lennon music video: . For the "underwater nightclub" sequence I aimed a 4K HMI at a 4x4' frame of loosely taped mylar near the ceiling, and jiggled the stand while tapping the mylar with a c-stand arm for added distortion.
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#14 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 07:25 AM

See, this is why I very rarely allow people to take photos of me...

P
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#15 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 10:40 AM

"So in his office, the light that would come in through the office window would be refracted (right word?) through the water thus creating a pattern on the wall / his face."

Ah this might make the lighting effect a bit easier to accomplish. You could simply have a transparent tank or aquarium filled with water to the side of your actors and then have a bright light source on the other side of the tank shining through the water. Though even so, I'm still not sure if you would get the desired pool-like light patterns projected on the actor and the wall behind him. I guess this depends if you want those light patterns moving (like in a pool) or static. If you want more movement in the light patterns (to simulate a ripple effect), there could be someone agitating the water or have a fan blowing on the water. Make sure you have thick styrophone under that tank and a very solid support underneath - a cracked and flooding tank is always a possibility!
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#16 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 10:54 AM

Ah, Michael: beautiful mermaid girls.

You do get all the best jobs.

Phil
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#17 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 01:03 PM

Though depending on the size of the tank, you might have trouble getting enough 'light coverage' on the wall when doing a long shot. Though not such a problem if you were simulating a small window letting in light. Though are you simulating a large window in which the entire wall will have the rippling light effects? I wonder if there's a light source that can project a wide enough beam through the water filled tank...
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#18 Josh Brokenbourgh

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 01:52 PM

I was gaffer on this Sean Lennon music video: . For the "underwater nightclub" sequence I aimed a 4K HMI at a 4x4' frame of loosely taped mylar near the ceiling, and jiggled the stand while tapping the mylar with a c-stand arm for added distortion.



Yeah, that's a cool effect. nice job.
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#19 Mike Bove

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 03:08 PM

I agree! Very dreamlike. Unfortunately we don't have any HMI's :(

I will definitely try out some of these ideas though, we have a fishtank so I'll try and work with that first. If not, off to buy some mylar!
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#20 Michael Nash

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 06:52 PM

One of the things that sells the underwater look is to have the rippling light coming from above, not below like you'd get from pans of water. Although with reflections that are erratic enough it can be hard to distinguish where the light is coming from anyway, so you can cheat it quite a bit.
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