Rainy Day Cinematic Test

I’m a sucker for a rainy day. There’s so many iconic images from film that involve rainy days. So when the weather forecast showed a rainy day, I hopped outside with my favorite test model, the hubs. The video above is a test with water pouring off an umbrella. The first few seconds are with actual rain whereas the second shot is an overcast day but using a hose. Spoiler alert! Most time you see rain in a movie… it’s fake. I mean the talent is really getting wet, but due to a rain machine and not actual rain clouds. Why? Well weather can be unpredictable. In Texas, there’ll be tsunami level rainfall for 5 minutes and then bright, clear skies immediately after for the rest of the day. So if you’re planning a scene that is going to need several takes and requires rain, you cannot rely upon the weather. You need to make your own rain. After this test, I discovered another reason why films use rain machines - you can control the level of rain.

In the first few shots above, the rain is evenly dispersed but light. Too light. You can barely see the rain and when it does fall over the umbrella, it is uneven. So when it was another rainy/ overcast day, we headed back out and got the last few seconds of the clip above… this time with a hose. However, this is a regular garden hose and the results were unimpressive. What I liked about the hose attachment was that I got the effect of heavier water dripping down the umbrella. But it was still uneven. I tried a few positions with the hose to try to find the distance from the umbrella and the setting on the hose nozzle that best replicated rain.

Sometimes a test is just a test and that’s what this rain test was. I think overall it worked save for some fine tuning. For a low budget project needing a rain effect, I recommend trying out different hose attachment varieties to find one that will produce a natural looking rain effect but be a little bit more.

My favorite footage from the rain test is not the rain on the umbrella, but rather these clips of the hubs cleaning out the gutters. Often natural is best and this seemed to work best lighting, rain, and composition wise due to it being natural actions and not staged