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Achieving an "In Cold Blood" Conrad Hall moment...


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#1 John Hoffler

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 02:44 PM

Hey all,

just curious if you guys know of any specific ways to achieve the rain-tears effect besides just simply putting water on the window and backlighting it. I've heard mention of using "reflected" water to project it onto a face, but I'm not %100 on what that means.

also, any tips for creating a cloudy/rainstorm look outside of a window on a soundstage?

any help would be appreciated.

thanks
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#2 Tom Jensen

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 03:49 PM

Several years ago I attended one of the lunches that Tiffen held with Conrad Hall. I asked him to please never tell anyone how he did that shot again because so many have tried and none have ever quite captured that shot. The reasons I feel the replicated shots always fail is because the original was shot in black and white. Everyone now shoots in color. Secondly it was the essence of the shot that told the story. Robert Blake's character was callous and he never showed any emotion until this scene but he couldn't cry. The water was a metaphor for the tears he was unable to shed. That's what made the shot what it was. If I remember correctly I think he said he use a 2K or a 5k and I believe he said it was open faced outside the window. I'm not sure how the water was generated. It might have been a rain tower or from a hose sprayed up on the overhang right outside the window. Now my memory isn't so great but I think he said that an FX guy had a fan outside the window and panned it at the water. I think he said it was a happy accident because the fan blew the water onto the glass and it is the water dripping down the glass that you actually see. I'm sure somebody has the exact details but I think this was the gist of what happened.
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#3 John Hoffler

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 04:00 PM

thanks, Tom.

I am aware that the shot in "In Cold Blood" was one of Hall's famous "happy accidents" that occurred by chance. And it does work so fittingly for that scene; cinematic magic! :D

I am shooting a music video and the director has asked for this particular shot and I am trying to ascertain if there is anyone who knows a surefire way to achieve it (i.e. has done it before in color and recently) I was planning on using a hard source through the window with the water raining over the glass, but someone mentioned to me using a "reflected source" to get the shot, so that opened me up to the possibility that there are multiple ways to achieve this look.

the biggest issue I am finding is that a hard source will contrast with the "overcast/rainstorm" lighting plan for the bedroom scene so I'm trying to find a balance. Also, I don't want to hit the female talent with a hard directional source... so I may be screwed...lol. :unsure:
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#4 jeff woods

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 12:08 PM

Looking at the window in the scene, it looks like very deep external panes/stiles, wherein the water wraps around the bottom of the wood and slowly runs down the glass, as opposed to quick small streaks.

-j
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