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Shooting 'dry for wet'

ArriSR3 S16 Kodak vision3

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#1 Prashantt Rai

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 02:52 PM

Hi there everyone,Greetings and a very happy new year.
I am coming up with a feature shoot where there is a small under water 'fantasy' sequence (ok, clue is a mermaid in the sea).Logistics wise we are not ready to go and shoot either in sea or in a swimming pool. Couple of years back, I guess in 2009, there was an awesome thread on CML about shooting dry for wet. That thread is buried under 8000emails and I cant locate it.
I need advice of all you experience cinematographers about how best to cheat and give it an underwater look.I will submit the following for your consideration:-a) it is a fantasy sequence. doesn't have to look like a real underwater.B) no long takes. just inserts/reactions and Medium shots of the artist underwater.
What we have is - a studio space, lights, fans, grips and an awesome art director, Arri SR3.
We do not wish to go the digital route in creating bubbles etc.
Looking forward for your tips.
regards


Prashantt Rai


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 09:25 PM

The big problem will be hair, can you tie it back if she's a mermaid?  Otherwise it would be floating underwater.


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#3 Prashantt Rai

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 11:27 AM

Hi David,

thanks. can we use fans to keep the fluttering and shoot it high speed like 100fps to give the look of being in underwater. What about bubbles?

 

regards


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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 11:46 AM

I think you would need to shoot a lot more than 100fps to make flying hair look as if it were underwater, but it might work. Try 1000fps.


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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 11:49 AM

You can't really fake bubbles coming out of her mouth, but then, she's a mermaid... as for foreground bubbles like from shooting through a fish tank, I don't think that makes sense unless there are scuba divers in the scene... but shooting through a fish tank would allow you to float particles in the water in front of her.

 

What some movies have done for dry-for-wet is use the same chopped-up chicken feathers blowing in a fan trick that creates "floaties" to simulate pollen or snow in the air.  "Leviathan" did that except that it wasn't chicken feathers.

 

What would be cool would be to get that rippling pattern of water effect you normally do by bouncing a sharp light off of a tray with water and some broken mirrors, stirring the water to produce ripples -- except have the effect come from above rather than from below.

 

You could also try putting her on a table lying stomach-down extended half-way off of the table so that you are looking straight up at her face and her hair hangs straight down into the camera lens, and then use fans next to the camera to blow the hair back and away, and shoot slow-motion.

 

You could do the old animation trick of sliding a piece of rippled glass past the lens to create a wavy distortion. "Pinocchio" did this for its underwater sequence.


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#6 Prashantt Rai

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 02:21 AM

David, Loved your post.

superb tips. thanks.


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