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Water Reflections On Wall


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#1 Evan Andrew John Prosofsky

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 03:58 PM

Hi all,

Came across an interesting challenge the other day when reading a script for a music video. I have to create the effect of water reflections on a wall (think average room size). The room will be darkly lit. Think swimming pool at night. The only thing is, there won't actually be any water in the room, its just an effect meant to be "surreal". The only solution that came to mind was shooting light through a couple small aquariums, and then using a mirror to better direct the water reflections on to the wall. Think that would work? Any better ideas?

Does anyone have any experience doing this? Really having trouble with this one.

Looking forward to hearing some suggestions, thanks!
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#2 Michael K Bergstrom

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:42 PM

4x4 frame with a maybe a flavor of CTB in it a little loose. Bounce a light off of it, and have a grip move the gel to create a rippling effect on the wall. There's also wave generators that use LED lights and mirrors that are really nice, i've gotten them from DJ and live venue houses in the past, you can dial in intensity and exact color as well.
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#3 Ari Davidson

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 07:06 PM

If you have access to a video projector, you could create the desired effect in After Effects and project it on or behind the set.
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#4 Dane Cannon

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 09:59 PM

I've seen lights shot into a kiddie pool with a mirror in it, grips pushing the edge of the pool so the water moves around a little.
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#5 Evan Andrew John Prosofsky

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 08:15 PM

I've seen lights shot into a kiddie pool with a mirror in it, grips pushing the edge of the pool so the water moves around a little.

This sounds like a doable option! Do you remember how large the effect on the wall was in relation to its distance from the wall? And was the mirror roughly the same size as the kiddie pool? Know this would be really helpful because I'm basically going to have to buy the materials, thanks!
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#6 Nadeem Soumah

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 12:02 PM

This sounds like a doable option! Do you remember how large the effect on the wall was in relation to its distance from the wall? And was the mirror roughly the same size as the kiddie pool? Know this would be really helpful because I'm basically going to have to buy the materials, thanks!


This trick definitely works. Instead of finding a mirror if you can't find one that fits, aluminum foil also works. Just line the bottom of the pool with aluminum foil before adding the water. Point a fixture right at it bouncing in the direction you want the reflections to cast. Then get a fan and point it into the pool to create the ripple effect.

Of course also consider the contrast ratio on the wall you're projecting the ripple reflection on to in order to keep them visible.

In regards to size of reflection on the wall the further the pool the larger the size of reflection, so you can play with distance as opposed to size of pool. You don't need a very big pool to get a big reflection. I've actually seen this been done with a large baking sheet with just an inch or so of water in it instead of a kiddie pool and the reflection was really wide.

Edited by Nadeem Soumah, 29 February 2012 - 12:04 PM.

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#7 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 12:40 PM

We did a pool effect with mylar reflector, this being rippled by the gaffer.
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#8 Paul Maibaum ASC

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 12:47 PM

One large and deep aluminum roasting pan with a few inches of water in pan, add pieces of broken mirror to cover bottom of roasting pan, point a hard light source into pan, angle pan to direct light to desired area on wall, stir gently to create desired movement.
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#9 EDDUS RAY

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 09:18 PM

One large and deep aluminum roasting pan with a few inches of water in pan, add pieces of broken mirror to cover bottom of roasting pan, point a hard light source into pan, angle pan to direct light to desired area on wall, stir gently to create desired movement.


I recently saw a DP do this for a scene that took place in the hull of a boat. It works great.
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#10 Matt Irwin

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 11:12 AM

One large and deep aluminum roasting pan with a few inches of water in pan, add pieces of broken mirror to cover bottom of roasting pan, point a hard light source into pan, angle pan to direct light to desired area on wall, stir gently to create desired movement.


Done this as well and works perfectly. It's easier if the water is shallow like that and the lip is low (unlike an aquarium) because the effect is easier to spread out and the gear is easier to deal with.
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#11 Evan Andrew John Prosofsky

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 11:53 AM

Incredible, thanks for all the help everyone.
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#12 Mathew Rudenberg

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 05:05 PM

One large and deep aluminum roasting pan with a few inches of water in pan, add pieces of broken mirror to cover bottom of roasting pan, point a hard light source into pan, angle pan to direct light to desired area on wall, stir gently to create desired movement.


When I've tried the broken mirror approach I've found it hard to hide the shapes of the broken pieces of glass in the reflection. As a result I tend towards the use of aluminum foil or baking trays depending on the the necessary size of the container. Mylar works great for a large area effect but is noisy.

I have heard the broken mirror approach recommended many times so I wonder if I was doing something wrong.
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#13 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 05:11 PM

I generally do it in an aluminum tray; and the key is really to make sure it's always being agitated.
While you and I may notice the shapes, the average viewer wont ;)
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#14 Jack Guthrey

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 04:22 PM

I never would have thought of some of the stuff posted. In a pinch I've used a silver flexfill being shaken and kind of bumped with my knee in the middle. Worked really well for a CU by a pool.
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#15 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 04:30 PM

I remember years ago when i first started a grip taping up 1x1 mirror and smashing the hell out of it. I was 10 or so; it was awesome. And to this day I have no idea why they did it ;)
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#16 Artyom Zakharenko

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 11:49 AM

i did it recently on the actress's face with a small aquarium
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#17 CleverChimp

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 04:32 AM

This is just what i needed, thanks guys !
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#18 Tony Reale

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 10:24 PM

I recently picked up an American DJ H2O light for this very purpose. Works very well.
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