How to make and light believable fake rain for photographers and filmmakers
One of the most often faked weather phenomena in photography and filmmaking is rain. But it’s not always as easy as one might think. Raindrops are notoriously difficult to film or photograph, making even real rain very challenging to shoot.
To fake it, it’s even more difficult, and you often have to create near hurricane levels of water to have it appear convincing to the camera as actual rain. In this video, Valentina from Aputure’s A-Team shows us how to create fake rain on-set that’s easy to make and very believable.
The trick to faking rain, as you’ll see in the video, is that you need a whole lot of it to really sell the effect and make it look real. This is just because of the way light interacts with rain and how it presents itself to the camera. So, it needs to make itself more obvious. You also often need to backlight rain to make it really sparkle, but it’s a fine line between too much that it overpowers your main subject and too little that you don’t really see the rain.
The time of day also can play a big factor in how realistic the rain looks. It’s a lot easier to light the water more effectively when the environment is dark and the rain can stand out against it. And if you’re faking the rain, it’s a whole lot more believable if the view out of the window behind the rain isn’t that of a brightly sunlit street.
Outside of the lighting and timing, though, the main tool you’ll possibly need for this style of shoot is a rain tower. These can often be rented, but they aren’t really all that difficult or complex to build yourself – especially if you have access to a tap with a hosepipe and don’t need a water storage tank. It’s basically just a long metal pipe with a sprinkler head on the top.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.