Filming in the rain is the act of shooting a movie (or TV show for that matter) when it’s raining.
That may sound obvious but to achieve this without damaging any equipment takes some work.
It’s also not as easy as it looks on camera and can often require some clever camera tricks.
Shooting In The Rain
What Is Filming In The Rain?
The term “filming in the rain” refers to any scene that is filmed outdoors when it’s raining.
This can range from a 15-second clip of a person walking through a parking lot to an entire movie shot during a rainstorm.
The most common way to shoot scenes like this is by using special equipment or props, such as umbrellas or other protective gear.
Filming in the rain is a standard part of the filmmaking process. Rain is a major dramatic device in film that is used to show mood and emotion, as well as create tension.
How Do You Film When It’s Raining?
Any time you are filming in wet, inclement weather, you must have the correct gear and be prepared to do what it takes, in order to get your shot.
The first thing you always want to look into when filming in the rain is if you will need additional lighting. Since there is already going to be a lot of light reflecting off of the water, if you are shooting outside, make sure you have enough lighting for your shot.
You always want to protect your camera equipment as best as possible and this is not any different when it is raining.
Make sure that you have a good camera case and also have some sort of cover for your tripod.
If this is not possible, make sure that your gear is completely covered with plastic bags or towels and keep them dry at all times.
In an event where you are working with models or talent in the rain, make sure that they are completely dry before starting any type of shoot.
If possible, find an area that has some sort of overhang or shelter for them so if they happen to get too wet during your shoot then they can take shelter.
When a film crew goes outside to film in the rain, there are some things that they have to be careful about, especially if they’re not shooting on a soundstage or if they’re not shooting somewhere where it’s raining inside.
First of all, they have to protect their equipment. They might have camera equipment out in the rain with them and they want to make sure that their equipment doesn’t get wet or damaged.
The other thing is that when you’re filming in the rain, you want to make sure that your cast or your crew members don’t get sick because they can develop colds or infections from being out in the rain for too long.
And so one of the first things that happens when you go out to film in the rain is you break out into what we call “rain teams.”
And on my movie we had half of our crew running around with umbrellas making sure that nobody got wet and everybody stayed dry.
Is It Okay To Film In The Rain?
Okay, I’m sure we’ve all had this conversation before. “Is it okay to film in the rain”
That’s really what you’re asking, right? The answer is yes.
But with some qualifications. The first and most important is making sure that the rain that’s falling on your lens is not caused by you because that would be bad.
This would be a violation of the cinematography code of ethics.For example, if you’re shooting a scene and the actors are pretending to be caught in a thunderstorm, then it’s fine for them to get wet as they’re acting out their roles.
But if they aren’t acting, then you can’t make them get wet.The second qualification is a little more technical and has to do with lighting.
You don’t want to be shooting a scene where there are flashlights or other sources of light in the scene when it’s raining because when those lights hit the water droplets, it will cause aberration in your image and make your picture look soft and unfocused. Now it’s true that professional cameras such as Arri Alexas have filters that can minimize this problem so you don’t have to alter your lighting scheme.
How Do You Film In The Rain With A Camera?
You need to think about it in advance. Film sets are usually planned weeks in advance and aren’t very flexible.
What I like to do is plan my whole story out and then write down a list of shots that I want. A lot of directors will do this on their storyboards, but I like to actually write them down as a list.
Then, I’ll make sure that I have everything that I need for each shot.This includes things like Camera equipment (if you’re going to be filming on one of those fancy cameras that shoots great in the rain)Equipment for the actors (if they’re not wearing waterproof clothing)Lighting equipment (if you’re going to be using flashlights or off-camera lighting in the rain)Then, if any of these things are missing, I’ll make sure to get them before we start filming or else we’re going to have problems when we’re actually shooting.
If your actor doesn’t show up because they didn’t bring any waterproof clothing, then you can’t shoot anything (and now you’ve wasted half-a-day).
Filming In The Rain
Filming in the rain is actually really fun, but it does come with its challenges. The biggest challenge is that you can’t see anything.
You are either going to have to use a monitor or an EVF (Electronic View Finder) at all times.Not only are they handy to have and use but they can also save you time in the edit if you know exactly what you have filmed.
The other challenge is that water can get into your gear and cause problems.If your camera has a removable lens be sure to have some form of protection for it, like a rain sleeve or a bag that can keep it dry.
I prefer using a rain sleeve because I hate having my filters on my lens and get nervous about dropping it in the mud.An additional thing to keep in mind is that when filming in the rain there will be reflections from the water on your lens so make sure to keep any reflective surfaces away from where you will be filming.
Also, since everything will become wet, try to wear clothing that doesn’t mind getting soaked and shoes that you don’t mind stepping in puddles with. It should be fun!
How To Film In The Rain
Filming in the rain can be a very difficult experience, but with the following tips you can conquer any rain condition and make a great video. Shooting in the rain has its own challenges, but it is also one of the most beautiful experiences you can have as a filmmaker.
When done right, it can create amazing cinematic moments and help to create a powerful storyline for your film.
TIP 1 – Use a weatherproof camera and lens
The first thing to consider when filming in the rain is to use weatherproof equipment.
Filming equipment that isn’t weatherproof will get damaged, so before you go out there and film your masterpiece, make sure that your camera bag includes all weather-sealed lenses and cameras.
TIP 2 – Prepare your gear.
Before you go out there, make sure to test everything before you head outside so that nothing goes wrong while you are creating your footage.
This is especially important if you are using new lenses or cameras that you have not used before.Make sure to test everything to ensure that it will work properly when filming in the rain.
TIP 3 – Know how to use your equipment.
This should be common sense but if it isn’t then make sure that you know how to use your equipment before going out there.
Filming In The Rain
Filming in the rain can be a nightmare, but with a little planning you can make it work. to begin with, you’ll need to protect your camera and equipment, which is often the biggest problem of all.
You won’t want to risk getting everything wet, so look into some waterproof bags and covers.A sturdy plastic bag should protect your camera from light showers, while a more heavy-duty model will stand up to heavier rain.
Tripods are also going to be a problem when it’s raining heavily. In these situations, you’re going to need a tripod that’s water-resistant, or one that is enclosed.
If neither of these options exist for your particular tripod, you could try using a lightweight cloth cover over the top of it until the rain stops.This isn’t ideal, as it will introduce extra movement into your shots due to wind and rain.
When filming outside in the rain, you’re going to want to make sure that you use an umbrella or some other sort of shelter for yourself as well as your equipment.Even though most cameras have weatherproofing these days, it’s still recommended that you invest in some kind of protection against the elements.
Shooting Movies In The Rain
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas when Santa brings us all sorts of cool gifts.
The weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer and you can finally shoot your movie outside without that annoying wind or rain ruining all your hard work.It seems like a simple enough idea, but shooting in the rain is harder than it looks.
After all, how many movies have you seen where someone is walking around in a downpour without an umbrella or getting soaking wet?There are a number of things to consider before you go out chasing after that great shot in the rain.
Following these tips will help you get that perfect rainy day scene on film.
Get Your Equipment Ready
The first thing to do when it starts to pour is make sure your camera gear is ready and waiting for action. You don’t want any surprises while you’re working so take the time to check everything over before it gets wet just to be sure it works properly.
Be sure your camera is clean, lenses are clear and there are no water spots building up anywhere. Don’t forget about your battery either, especially if you’re shooting with a digital still camera because a good dousing could render your battery useless for the rest of filming day.
Movie Rain vs. Actual Rain
Movie rain is a visual effect created in post-production by adding a computer-generated image of rain. In films, it is often used to enhance or replace actual rain, which can be expensive and inconvenient to transport.
Movie rain can also be used to conceal an actor or stunt performer when they would otherwise be visible in the shot.TECHNIQUE:A live-action plate (the footage of the scene being filmed) is recorded without the rain effect.
The actors and camera move as normal, but no water is falling. This serves as the base layer for compositing the effects in post-production.
A second pass over the footage is then recorded with fine water droplets suspended in front of a black background. For this pass, a large pane of glass is placed in front of the camera lens and slowly dragged away during filming.The result is superimposed over the original footage, creating an illusion of falling rain.
The basic idea behind movie rain was developed by John P. Fulton for Mary Poppins (1964), who wanted to avoid shooting on location during London’s notoriously bad August weather.
If You Film At Night, Use Backlights
Many filmmakers are confused about the use of backlights. Many think that backlighting is bad for your film.
In reality, it actually might be helping out when shooting at night or in darker places.
What is Backlighting?To understand what a backlight does, we first need to understand how light works.
If you were to look at any objects from a hot air balloon, you will see that all objects have an outline as well as a source of light.
This is because the sun reflects off of everything and gives it an outline.That’s why when we put things into shadow, they become dark and we can’t see them as clearly – there isn’t enough light on them.
The sun would be the light source in this example.So what happens when you use a backlight? Well the same thing happens with any object that is lit by a light source but is not directly in front of it in your shot.
If you are filming something and there is a bright light behind your subject, then that light will make it look like they have an outline.And depending on how much brighter that light is compared to the other lights in your scene, it can give your subject more definition than they would normally have if they were lit by only one or two.
If You Film In The Day, Use Surfaces
Whether you’re filming a commercial, a TV show, or a feature film, you may have to shoot in the day. While some people might say “it’s always sunny in California,” that’s really not the case.
Tungsten lights give off a yellow color and C-Stands are silver. That can create a situation where your talent is lit well, but their surroundings don’t look great.
Here are some ways to help you get better results when shooting in the day:
Use a Black Backdrop: If you’re going to use a black backdrop, make sure it’s very close to your talent. The difference between black and white is only about two stops of light.
If you pull the black back far away from the talent, then suddenly you’re half a stop over and it can look like you were on the wrong side of town for your shoot.
Use A White or Gray Card: If you’re going to use this method, make sure it’s not touching your talent.
It should be about six inches from them so that there isn’t any spill onto your talent. It will also help with bringing up the shadows later in post if need be.
Steps To Film In Wet Weather
The first step to filming in the rain is to keep your gear dry. It is always a good idea to bring your camera, lenses and tripods inside when you are not using them.
Also, try to find a place where they are out of the wind and away from rain.Take care not to let water run into any open ports on your camera or lens.
If you don’t have a cover for your camera, (or if it is not big enough) then be sure to put a micro fiber cloth over any open ports and tighten it with an elastic band or tape.If you have a plastic bag large enough then slip your entire camera into it before placing it inside an even larger protective case.
You can also use an anti-static dry bag to store your gear in, as these will float if dropped in water.
Don’t Shoot In The Sun
On a recent shoot, I was working with a young model. She was absolutely stunning, and I was pretty excited to see some of her shots.
I downloaded them and started to look at them on my laptop screen.And then it hit me: “Oh no! I forgot to ask the makeup artist to put a reflector under her chin!”I had noticed that there were some shadows in the lower part of her face, but didn’t think much of it at the time.
I’m sure most people would say she looked great and not really notice what I did. But as an experienced photographer — someone who knows exactly what she wants from her models — I just couldn’t stand it.
Maybe you’ve heard the phrase “shooting in the sun” before. It’s when you’re photographing in bright sunlight and lighting your subject with natural light.
If you don’t have any reflectors on hand (or if your subject doesn’t have any hair), putting your subject directly into the sun can cause problems like harsh shadows on their faces or even make them squint because of the brightness.In many cases, this is totally avoidable, so you should be aware of the difference between shooting in the sun and shooting against the sun.
Filming In The Rain Plan Ahead
Filming outside in the rain can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. You just need forethought and planning.
Shooting in the rain can make for some great looking images, but getting that shot can sometimes feel like a lot of work. If you want to keep your equipment from being damaged by water or if you’re shooting in areas where water is likely to be present, then you’ll want to put some thought into protecting your gear before heading out.
When the weather is good, you may not think much about protecting your camera, but when it’s raining, it’s a different story.There are many ways that you can protect your gear when shooting in the rain.
The first thing that you’ll want to do is make sure that your equipment is completely dry. It’s important that you don’t use any electronics near any amount of water unless they’re 100% dry.
Even one drop of water can cause damage to delicate electronics and other equipment. Once your electronics are completely dry, you should look into protection options for your camera, sound recorder and anything else that could get wet while shooting.
If you’re thinking of using an external microphone on the shoot, consider using an underwater microphone instead.
Filming In The Rain Prep For Those Wide Shots
Filming in the rain can be a huge pain and if you are in the middle of nowhere then it is probably going to ruin your entire shoot. To prevent this from happening, you should take some time to prepare for shooting in the rain.
Tripods: The first thing you will want to consider is what you are going to do with your tripod. If you are using a regular tripod, then you will need to either put a tarp underneath it (which is not very effective) or get some sort of rain shield.
A great alternative to both of these is a Manfrotto Tripod with a built-in ground cover. This will protect your tripod from the elements and it will also protect the ground from water damage.
You can find more information about this tripod here.
Bags and Cases: If you have any bags or cases that are exposed to the rain, then make sure they are completely sealed off.
Even if they are waterproof, water seeping into them can cause them to rust over time which would ruin all of your equipment inside them. This includes umbrellas, tents and bags as well as cases for cameras and lenses.
Filming In The Rain Plan Your Shot Sizes Accordingly
Filming in the rain is the first major hurdle to overcome, and it can have a huge impact on how your video turns out.
TIP 1: PREPARE FOR THE WORST
The biggest thing you can do to prepare for rain is to make sure you bring waterproof gear.
A good rain suit, several sets of clothes (for every member of your crew), umbrellas, and rain boots are essential. Even a small amount of water will mess up your camera equipment if left unchecked, so be sure to use moisture-proof bags for all of your delicate items.
TIP 2: KNOW YOUR GEAR
Make sure you’re familiar with everything that you’re filming with before you start shooting in the rain. If necessary, get an extra day to practie everything and make sure that everyone is comfortable using the equipment before moving forward with the shoot.
TIP 3: KNOW YOUR LOCATION
Be aware of where you’re filming before choosing a location for the shoot. Is there anywhere nearby that you can move to if it starts raining? Sometimes the best shots are found outside in the elements, but if you don’t have a backup plan, it’s going to ruin your day real quick.
TIP 4: BE READY TO MOVE QUICK