Winter is here!
And although we don’t recommend trying to shoot in the rain, sometimes you just don’t have a choice. Mixing water and equipment is never a good idea and just because equipment says ‘water resistant’ it doesn’t mean this it is particularly waterproof!
Therefore, we’ve put together some tips to help protect your gear from the elements and protect your film from being ruined by interfering storms.
Bring loads of Tarp
Tarp is so helpful during downpours, but it can also be useful to place below the camera as well as below. It may not be necessary when shooting on flat ground such as on a street or in a parking lot, but when in uneven terrain, placing a sheet of tarp under your equipment can help protect from flooding and getting stuck in clay-like mud.
JMC Academy’s graduate advice from Jake Brennan; ‘When setting up tarps, make sure to have a high-point in the centre of the tarp (a pole holding the middle up), to avoid a build-up of water that could potentially overbear the tarp and pour litres of rainfall onto your expensive equipment.’
Make sure you are covered
Working in the rain, wind and cold is never going to be fun, but making sure you wear waterproof and comfortable shoes and a rain coat can be the difference between a slightly annoying day and a completely long and unbearable day of work. You need to make sure you are comfortable enough to keep re-doing takes if needs be.
Prepare for bad audio
Audio is almost impossible to work with in the rain. For a start, rain is noisy – even the best omnidirectional mics will have an impossible amount of background noise. It also really limits your audio options; If you use a boom, it’s going to get soaking wet. If you use a video mic, it’s going to get hit by rain drops and be unusable. The best option in the rain is a lav mic, but even then you run the risk of getting a lot of unnecessary ambient noise.
The likelihood is that you will have to do some ADR in post production so just be prepared.
Get or make a rain cover
It is wise to invest in a rain cover for the camera to protect the equipment. , However, if you’ve left your rain cover at home, it’s not the end of the world. One simple and easy DIY option is to place a Ziplock bag around your camera and cut a hole out for the lens to stick through. You could even put gaff tape around the lens hole to keep it from opening more. Additionally, Lens hoods are used to protect your lenses from bumps and sunlight – but they can also come in handy to keep raindrops off your lens. If you do find your lens has collected a noticeable amount of water on the glass, always remember to use a proper lens cleaning kit and take the proper precautions – Don’t get yourself into a panic and try wipe the rain off with your shirt or a rag, it will only cost you more time.
Yes those funny little bags that say ‘Do Not Eat’ on them have a purpose. They absorb moisture and can be really useful for protecting rained-on equipment. Pop some in the camera bags after use to absorb any remaining moisture and stop from ruining your gear.
If you plan on lighting a scene in the rain, there are plenty of ways to avoid risking the safety of you and your crew when handling electrical equipment. Battery powered LED lights are ideal for shooting in wet weather, as you’re significantly lowering any safety risks involved with regular lights. Even though they are battery powered, still take the proper precautions in protecting the lights from the rain! (wet weather covers, plastic bags, umbrellas)
Another option is to make use of the sun with reflectors – this way you can (to some extent) manipulate light onto your subject or wherever you please.
Although we can help you with some useful tips, the best advice we can give you is to TRY TO AVOID FILMING IN THE RAIN. There are plenty of ways to incorporate rain into your film with clever use of post-production if you’re not shooting a documentary or non-fictional project.
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