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Working In The Rain

Posted by Garry Tyler on 5th Jan 2017

Being a full time lighting consultant I often get asked how to capture certain types of effect using light.

So recently I was asked the best way to capture rain fall and how they make it look so heavy in movies.

Well the answer for this is the right tools for the job.

Firstly Rain in the movies is often fake, to create the effect they would normally use large quantities of water filtered through giant colander type devices, this makes for a heavy rain fall, the next trick is to make this visible on camera.

This is where my area of expertise comes in. Water being a reflective surface is easy to light to create white flecks of light falling through the air, by controlling either the light source or the shutter of the camera we can accentuate the rain fall. Using a long shutter or longer flash duration’s or continuous lights we will create a streak as opposed to a fleck this then gives us the direction and heaviness of the rain fall.

In the image below 3 light sources were used.

First light was the Rim light – this was created using a deep reflector and a very tight grid so that I could send the light back out of shot and easily hide it behind my model.

Second/Third light to light the rain – these were both large diffused light sources (80cm softboxes for speedlites) firing from the same depth as the model but set to expose the area in front of her to freeze frame the rain drops.

As this was a workshop and on a fixed date the rainfall was simulated.