In the fast paced world of content creation, we’re constantly faced with many obstacles to overcome. From location and talent logistics, to scheduling and responsible budget management, the photography and video production environment has a lot of moving parts. One of the attributes that makes us good as creators is the ability to manage all of these facets. There are many things that we have a complete grasp on and can make happen the way we need them to. However, there is one thing that we will never have control over. The weather.
When it comes to shooting exteriors, weather is everything. If it’s windy, we need to take extra precautions when setting up lighting modifiers to control the sun. If it’s cloudy and the script calls for sunlight raking across someone’s shoulders, we have to bring in artificial light sources to simulate sunlight. Should we happen to be in the middle of a forest, we need to find a way to power all of our lights. All of this is within our wheel house. Unfortunately, no matter how much planning we cram in … there’s not much we can do when the weather decides it’s time to start raining like crazy. Water and expensive photography and video equipment do not mix well.
So when we were approached by a leading manufacturer of automotive wiper blades about showing their product in action, we had to change the way we thought. It was our job to create the very weather conditions that we typically avoid at all costs. We needed to make it rain.
We toyed with the idea of building our own rig with a PVC piping grid – drilling strategic holes for the water to spray out, and suspending that rig above the vehicle we were shooting. It quickly became apparent that we were going to need a larger solution. Not only were we capturing video of the wiper blades in action on a car windshield, but we also needed to show the product installed on a large tractor trailer. In addition to that, we were tasked with filming and photographing the actors navigating their way through a parking lot to their vehicles mid-downpour. All of this started to add up, and we realized we were going to need some help. So, who do you call when you need copious amounts of water dumped from the sky? The Ephrata Pioneer Fire Company, that’s who!
When it came to spraying a lot of water concentrated over a relatively small area, Truck 15 was exactly what we needed. With a little bit of team work between us and the Ephrata fire crew, we were able to create a spray pattern that simulated a rain storm from high above our set; while managing to keep all of our equipment (and crew) safe and dry. Well, mostly dry anyway, we did need to have our actors take a few sprints through the “rain storm” to show the drivers getting into their vehicles.
The creative direction called for these scenes to happen at night, to reinforce the capabilities of the product in the worst conditions. This required a lot of additional lighting equipment to ensure the rain was visible on camera. It just so happened that this shoot was scheduled the same week we purchased a 3-ton grip truck. The Simone team has been on the hunt for a suitable rig for some time now, and finally found just the right one. This was the perfect project for it’s maiden voyage. We loaded up with an arsenal of HMI lights, generators, and lots of Cello Screen water resistant covering for our lights. We’ll be working tirelessly in the coming months to continue to outfit our grip truck with carts, shelving, and all the necessary tools we might need on location jobs.
The client was thrilled we were able to create a very convincing rainstorm to fully feature their product in action. We’re very pleased with how the project turned out.
So, in the end, we really did have complete control over the weather, and were able to produce some epic imagery to promote this brand.
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