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Fake Rain: Why is this so difficult?


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#1 Jean Paul DiSciscio

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 11:54 PM

I'm trying to emulate rain for a low angle shot, which looks up at wrought iron gates. We don't see the ground, or anyone in the shot. Just sky and iron work.

I've experimented using a simple watering can, and filtered the water through a mesh screen in front of my lens, while side lighting to have some catch light on the drops. It looks like crap. Any suggestions?

My next step is to use a storm drain, drill tiny holes in it, and pour my water into that in front of the lens for a more uniform feel.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 12:08 AM

I'm trying to emulate rain for a low angle shot, which looks up at wrought iron gates. We don't see the ground, or anyone in the shot. Just sky and iron work.

I've experimented using a simple watering can, and filtered the water through a mesh screen in front of my lens, while side lighting to have some catch light on the drops. It looks like crap. Any suggestions?

My next step is to use a storm drain, drill tiny holes in it, and pour my water into that in front of the lens for a more uniform feel.


Why not take two garden hoses and spray them up way high up into the air and let the water fall back around and in front of the gates, and backlight everything? You can flag the light so that it only catches the water from the point it starts falling back towards the lens.
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#3 Daniel Sheehy

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 12:12 AM

One of the challenges with faking rain, is to get depth to it.
You could try using a hose to add some rain further back in the shot as well.

Edit: David beat me to it. :)
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#4 Tom Jensen

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 12:28 AM

You have to use a lot of water. If you've ever seen the movie Cyborg, there is a big fight with Jean Claude Van Dam and Vincent Klyne. We used rain towers and fire hoses. The rain towers just weren't enough but the fire hoses added that punch of extra water that made it look real.
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#5 Jean Paul DiSciscio

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 01:25 AM

You have to use a lot of water. If you've ever seen the movie Cyborg, there is a big fight with Jean Claude Van Dam and Vincent Klyne. We used rain towers and fire hoses. The rain towers just weren't enough but the fire hoses added that punch of extra water that made it look real.


So this is a pretty low budget short I'm working on. In the past I've manipulated rain using two garden hoses with a sprinkler ring attachment on both, and it worked great. My only challenge with this particular shot is the fact that my exterior angle is too far from any faucet or hose. So, I'm stuck with making my water supply portable. Since I'm shooting a low angle looking up, can I simply have scattered drops only a few feet in front of the lens? If so, how does one get the most realistic looking droplets. My watering can filtered through a mesh screen idea made the drops looks perfectly round (and thus did not look like consistent rain).
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#6 Logan McMillan

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 10:49 PM

So this is a pretty low budget short I'm working on. In the past I've manipulated rain using two garden hoses with a sprinkler ring attachment on both, and it worked great. My only challenge with this particular shot is the fact that my exterior angle is too far from any faucet or hose. So, I'm stuck with making my water supply portable. Since I'm shooting a low angle looking up, can I simply have scattered drops only a few feet in front of the lens? If so, how does one get the most realistic looking droplets. My watering can filtered through a mesh screen idea made the drops looks perfectly round (and thus did not look like consistent rain).


There are good plugins for After Effects to add rain in post - can't remember what they are called. I have done shots with fake rain on set and cut it in with CG rain and you can't tell the difference.
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 11:58 PM

Jean Paul,
what about building a rig up which has a water "can" which uses gravity to feed the water down to the sprinklers? Then you can refill it between shots. You'd want a good sized drum for the water, attached with the threading for a typical garden hose hose. Elevate it up and let gravity do the rest. Bigger than a watering can and will require some rigging work, but you can keep it for other films, of course.
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#8 John Sprung

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 02:15 AM

My watering can filtered through a mesh screen idea made the drops looks perfectly round (and thus did not look like consistent rain).


It isn't that they're round -- all falling water droplets are slightly flattened spheres -- it's the distribution of sizes and distances. What you need is a variety of droplet sizes. There's no way to see distance to the droplets, so with a variety of sizes, the big ones look close to camera, while the tiny ones seem to be farther away.




-- J.S.
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#9 JD Hartman

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 05:02 PM

You might want to contact the local Fire Department or DPW about using water from the nearest hydrant. This would require an adapter cap and hydrant wrench. In addition in most urban areas you can usually find one or more building with a hose bib on the exterior. All you need then is a garden hose and a sill-cock key.
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#10 George Ebersole

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 12:04 AM

I'm trying to emulate rain for a low angle shot, which looks up at wrought iron gates. We don't see the ground, or anyone in the shot. Just sky and iron work.

I've experimented using a simple watering can, and filtered the water through a mesh screen in front of my lens, while side lighting to have some catch light on the drops. It looks like crap. Any suggestions?

My next step is to use a storm drain, drill tiny holes in it, and pour my water into that in front of the lens for a more uniform feel.

For future reference (since the shot is done and over with), faking rain used to be one of the most difficult things. It's hard to get thread thin rain drops to register on film. So you need extra big drops, which is why Mullen's suggestion is the best one.

Water hoses with thumbs over the nozzles is the best solution. I say thumbs because using a premade nozzle will make drops that are too fine. You need those big blobby drops for it to really look cool.
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#11 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 05:33 AM

We got a nice localised effect on a roof using a garden hose. One thing to be careful about is the rainbow when the light catches the water droplets at certain angles.

My experience with watering cans is that they don't really work that well, even on very small areas.
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#12 John Sprung

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 01:02 PM

.... All you need then is a garden hose and a sill-cock key.


It varies -- here in LA the water conservation cops would bust you. ;-)





-- J.S.
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#13 James West

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 07:25 PM

I shot a low-budge film, and found the garden hoses to be the best, at least where it was possible to reach location. Two hoses, one on each side of camera, and aimed high and falling close to lens.
Low angle seems difficult, but one other thing we did was shoot some backlit rain in a makeshift studio, with a black duvy backdrop. This was what they needed in Post to composite some consistent rain effects for certain scenes.
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#14 blackboxpictures

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 06:54 AM

I'm trying to emulate rain for a low angle shot, which looks up at wrought iron gates. We don't see the ground, or anyone in the shot. Just sky and iron work.

I've experimented using a simple watering can, and filtered the water through a mesh screen in front of my lens, while side lighting to have some catch light on the drops. It looks like crap. Any suggestions?

My next step is to use a storm drain, drill tiny holes in it, and pour my water into that in front of the lens for a more uniform feel.



Whatever you do don't use digital rain in post. It works fine if you've got a completely post shot or if you're compositing something else out a window, but not for external shots. I'd say spray a hose into the air from the sides and move it around a bit. If you need different angles of spray, take several sections of the shots and mask them together so it looks uniform.
Hope this helps and good luck :D
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#15 Jenna Whitney

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 12:05 AM

How much water is actually used? Say like the scene in The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford with Brad Pitt and his brother in the barn.
:lol:
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#16 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 06:30 AM

Lots. Movie rain has to be absolutely torrential or it's invisible.
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#17 David Gregg

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 10:53 PM

A combination of some real water hitting surfaces you have and some CGI rain should do the trick. After Effects or any good 3D software with particle dynamics should do it.

If the budget is very low, try a CG student (a talented one who wants a credit). That part can be done or augmented in post at least.

My link

Edited by David Gregg, 21 November 2011 - 10:54 PM.

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