Crew Connection Tips and Tricks for Crews

3 Tips to a Standout Documentary

3 Tips to a Standout Documentary 6000 4000 Dani Lyman

I recently binged watched Andrew Jarecki’s six-part documentary, The Jinx, on HBO and I was enthralled. Most of us had heard of Robert Durst before. We’d seen headlines and heard rumors, maybe even watched Jarecki’s first film about Durst, All Good Things, but we had never seen him like this. Here, the monster, the murderer, is a small, awkward old man shifting in his seat uncomfortably while Jarecki tries to pry the truth out of his decades of silence… and we’re never quite sure we get it.

Documentaries are about truth. They are visual essays intended to share knowledge and perspective and to enlighten an audience. They are created by people who have a story that HAS to be told. The passion runs so deep they bury themselves in paperwork and evidence half a century old and surrender their own time, money and resources to share the story with the world.

In some cases, these stories are revolutionary and groundbreaking. In others, they are eye-opening and thought provoking.

The three key elements great documentaries contain to keep viewers hooked

INTRIGUE

Who cares? Before you delve into the depths of creating your own documentary you have to ask yourself, “Who cares about this topic?” The follow-up question is, “How can I make people care?” Much like writing a screenplay or marketing a business, you must be sure you’re telling the story in a way which makes the viewer care. When they are mindlessly flipping through the endless possibilities on Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Sling, etc.

What is it about your documentary that stands out among the crowd?

The intrigue element speaks to our intellect. It says we will gain new knowledge about how to drop weight quickly and revolutionize our health. It promises we can learn new tools for success in the business world. It says we are going to learn the answer to a question we didn’t even know we had.

Intrigue makes the viewer press select on YOUR documentary.

REVELATION

Now that you’ve posed the question, you must reveal an answer. You need to reveal a new truth through providing new evidence on a cold case, new findings for a study, or a new perspective on an old topic.

The way and order you reveal the truth of your story, the way you personalize it and the way you present new information is how you hook the viewer. Building up the tension, hinting at what comes next, foreshadowing the breakthrough or demise of your characters, and finding that pivotal piece makes a human connection.

If intrigue speaks to our intellect, then reveal speaks to our emotions. Fear. Empathy. Outrage. That’s how you get viewers to binge Making a Murderer and then spread the word on social media and to friends and around the water cooler.

INSPIRATION

A solid documentary inspires the audience to ask more questions long after it’s over.

Did he really do it? Was that UFO only a military experiment? If I become a Keto Vegan, could I take over the world?

As a truth-seeking storyteller, your job is to present the most accurate information in a meaningful and visually-interesting way to your viewer and then trust them to take it from there. Is there a call to action? Should the viewer donate to a charity? Should they vote on an upcoming bill? Or are you simply hoping to satisfy a curiosity or inspire a thought-provoking discussion over a bottle of wine?

If your documentary doesn’t inspire the viewer to ask more questions, you may be doing it wrong.

The foundation of documentary storytelling is truth. What truth do you need to tell?

About Crew Connection

Crew Connection puts a suite of marketing tools at your fingertips. Get your demo reels, stills, gear, awards, and more in front of the biggest clients all over the world—for free. At Crew Connection we pay video and post production providers within 30 days of receiving your invoice so your work and your life are never interrupted. Need live assistance or want to add quality jobs to your pipeline? Our crew coordinators are on call around the clock. Sign in to Crew Connection, call 303-526-4900, or email info@crewconnection.com.

 

comic con - Crew Connection

The most awesome of Comic-Con 2019

The most awesome of Comic-Con 2019 960 359 Dani Lyman

The first time I attended SDCC in 2009 I had no idea what I was getting into. I was hired as a host for a web series sponsored by an online comic book store, and full disclosure, I hadn’t read a graphic novel since I was 7.  I was hired for my charisma, not my knowledge, and I may have even felt a little high and mighty about it. How cute was this small sub-culture of nerds. Little did I know how humbled and awed I would become.

During my four day journey, I was introduced to comic-book legends like Jeff Smith—author of Bone. I interviewed up-and-coming artists and discovered the very dramatic impact the right costume can make on a room. I was blown away to learn the amount of detail, artistry, and obsession that goes into every inch of the Convention Center floor.

Fast forward 10 years and it’s clear SDCC isn’t just for “comic-book nerds” anymore. Perhaps, more on point, Comic-Con has contributed to converting the rest of us into nerds. Cosplay costumes stitched together with magnificent detail aren’t just for our Dungeons and Dragons loving friends anymore. Now, people from around the world travel in droves proudly displaying their love for fantasy, movies, video games, and graphic novel culture during one fantastical weekend.

Though I couldn’t make it this year, I did scour the internet on a quest to discover the best of SDCC 2019, and I found some true treasures.

Here is my List of Comic-Con 2019’s Most Awesome:

DARK KNIGHT EXHIBIT

The Dark Knight is one of my all-time favorite movies (with Batman Forever not far behind), so when I heard a massive pop-up exhibit premiered across from the convention I was filled with a loathsome regret and envy. Folks who were in the vicinity of The Comic-Con Museum were free to roam the halls and take in the glory of The Batman over the decades. Batmobiles, graphic art, suits, and movie prop-filled displays decorated the rooms, making any Batman lover’s dream a reality. You can check out a full rundown of the exhibit and memorabilia here!

CREEPY CRY BABY
comic con - Crew Connection

Meier’s “Walter White” mask

This year also saw the return of noted artist (and Denver local), Landon Meier. His famous Hyperflesh “cry baby” masks (pictured above) are known to both confuse and delight convention attendees. But, they aren’t his only claim to fame.

Meier’s eerily life-like masks have been featured on Jimmy Fallon and famously worn by GOT’s Sophie Turner and Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston.

“Disturbingly realistic,” and occasionally controversial, Meier’s masks have become a Comic-Con staple and undeniable fan favorite. Check out Hyperflesh’s facebook page for a mask of your own!

STUMPTOWN

I was a little too excited to hear about the upcoming ABC show, Stumptown. Not only does it star my biggest crush, actor Jake Johnson, but it revolves around a strong female lead. You know how much we love our strong women over here!

Stumptown is based on the graphic novel (written by Greg Rucka and illustrated by Matthew Southworth) about a female Marine vet/private investigator who suffers from a wide array of issues we usually see in three-dimensional male characters. She has a gambling problem and PTSD along with a brother who is mentally challenged. The physical training for the show was said to be extreme and creators promise a gritty and captivating pilot. With Colbie Smulders as the tough-as-nails lead, we wouldn’t expect anything less.

BEST COSPLAY

Now, on to the really good stuff… Everyone loves Comic-Con for the cosplay and I couldn’t choose just one look, so here is a must-see video of all the most awesome and outrageous costumes of the year. Enjoy!

 

 

 

best sign neon - Crew Connection

How to Make Crew Connection Work For You

How to Make Crew Connection Work For You 500 333 Dani Lyman

You’ve heard all about how Crew Connection is the best of the best, providing top-notch crews around the globe and unmatched customer service. But are you getting the most out of your experience?

If You’re Looking For a Video Crew…

How to Find the Best Video Crew For You

At Crew Connection we pride ourselves on our white glove service and being there for our clients around the clock. That doesn’t just mean being available by phone or email. We created CrewCloud, our online platform, with your busy schedule in mind. Now, when you’re on the go, you can take advantage of several DIY features for a fast and easy booking experience. Easy to use tools include browsing crew profiles, directly messaging crews, accepting estimates and paying your bill online anytime, anywhere.

Landline and Fax Machine Not Required

We try to do as much work as possible through email so we can have a paper trail for everything. Believe me, it limits mistakes and ultimately makes your life so much easier. We know you have a busy schedule too, so if you can send us updates through email it really helps to keep the booking process moving forward effortlessly. We’re always happy to jump on a call, but often dropping a quick note does the trick!

Make Your Next Shoot Even Better Than the Last

Crew Connection is here for you! Your feedback lets us know how we’re doing and how our crews are doing. If something feels off to you about a video crew you’ve just booked, someone was rude on location or you chatted with a DP who doesn’t seem knowledgeable – just drop us a line and let us know. We are more than happy to make new arrangements and apply your feedback moving forward. And, while we definitely live in a world where praise is sparse and no news is usually good news, positive comments actually do go a long way in our business too! We really do appreciate your feedback.

If You Are a Crew…

Snaz Up your Profile

Think of your CrewCloud profile a little like an online dating profile. Say a client comes to us because they need a great crew in Los Angeles. A search for crews in L.A. is going to populate quite a few results. How are you going to stand out from the crowd? Vivid BTS photos, badass demo reels and extensive equipment lists are easy ways to grab attention. Do you have awards? Are you Union? Add it to your profile! A meaty profile reads as experienced and professional. The more information you share, the more likely you are to be contacted for a job.

Insurance May be Boring, But It’s Important

This is a key tip you may not know about Crew Connection: If you don’t have your updated COI attached to your profile, clients can’t even see your profile. You don’t want to miss an opportunity or be invisible to clients just because of one little (but very important) document.

Make Yourself More Hireable by Communicating Better

Whether it’s responding to a direct message to a client through our online portal or replying to emails from your Coordinator, a prompt response can make all the difference in landing the job. Sometimes an email that just reads “I’m available and will send a quote when I’m done with my shoot” can keep a client from looking to another crew to meet their needs. Acknowledging receipt of the request lets the client know you’re on it and you care about their project… and their time.

take one video - Crew Connection

The Number One Thing You Need for a Great Shoot

The Number One Thing You Need for a Great Shoot 5398 3648 Dani Lyman

Whether you’re traveling on location for a big Reality TV show or you’re planning a small corporate video, proper execution comes down to being prepared.

I love the pre-production phase of a shoot! I’m kind of a nerd for it. Breaking down a script? My favorite. Creating the shot list? Nothing makes me happier. Handling contracts and paperwork. All over it. Because I know that a shoot will not be successful and the DP won’t get that killer shot and the director can’t do his creative thing  if we don’t show up prepared. We need to have permits, bring the right equipment and the Audio Tech shouldn’t be on the other side of town because he didn’t get the revised call sheet.

Planning and communicating all the details beforehand allows for the production phase to be filled with creative energy and leads to a successful final project.

An absolute must for your best shoot day, although it is often overlooked:

Imagine showing up to a shoot location and the building security won’t let you in because your name isn’t on his visitor list for the day. You can’t find the name of the location contact because it’s buried in a thread of 50 emails. The CEO you’re supposed to be interviewing has already been waiting an hour because he wasn’t told the proper time to arrive. And your crew is lost trying to find the loading dock and parking.

This is a terrible way to start a shoot. You’re already way behind, crunched for time and everyone is beyond annoyed before you even set up the first shot. However, one little document could have saved the day. Yes, you guessed it. The Call Sheet!

A call sheet should be used for every shoot, no matter the size of the crew. Call sheets help to make sure everyone is on the same page about the most important logistical details. You want to make sure it covers the Who, What, Where, When and Why of the shoot. Who is supposed to be where, at what time and for what purpose.  The sheet should include everything from the shoot location, the weather, the time the crew and talent need to arrive to the breakdown of the schedule, general notes, and contact information for everyone. That includes everyone that could possibly be involved with the shoot or affect the shoot in anyway, if you have their number add it to the sheet!

The call sheet doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be, and you can add as much information as you’d like, but it can also be really simple like this great example:

A smooth shoot also comes down to effective communication. It may sound basic, but little things can get overlooked and cause a lot of confusion without detailed communication. It’s best to send the call sheet as a pdf in a new email thread and ask everyone to reply “Got it.” This way everyone is clear and exactly on the same page.  You also don’t want to have ongoing conversations in the Call Sheet thread. Create separate emails for questions between your team and the crew, so when you’re on site the pertinent information will be easy to pull up.

It’s really important to reply to your crew when they have questions. Sometimes we can get so distracted about information that we find important that we can disregard other peoples’ questions. So, if your crew is asking something about cables or room dimensions, be sure to help find the answers they need before you get to the location. Going over these details on set might wind up being a little too late.

If you’ve just spent the last few weeks nailing down permits, securing talent and planning that perfect sunset shot, don’t blow all that hard work by not properly communicating the specifics to your crew! It also saves you 50 text messages day of about shoot details. You can always just say, “Refer to the call sheet!” And everyone’s on the same page.

sun - Crew Connection

The Art of Good Lighting

The Art of Good Lighting 800 534 Dani Lyman

As every selfie-obsessed Millennial knows, great lighting is keyWhether you’re posting your daily #foodie pic on Instagram or creating a fog-filled scene for a horror movie, it is crucial to find your light. Before going into a production, you want to determine the tone of the project and then discuss with your DP the right lighting to achieve that tone.

Lighting is an art form all on it’s own. DP’s and gaffers are talented artists that paint a scene with light to create the desired tone of a video project. They can cast shadows, manipulate time and take your video from bland to brilliant with the flick of a switch.

Here are three inspired lighting ideas to take your video up a notch:

The Corporate Video

Most corporate videos take place in offices that are not quite as cheery as the picture above. Under fluorescent lights in a room with grey walls, your video can look depressing and bleak. To avoid the “Office Space” vibe, you’re going to want to use light to create an inviting, warm and modern tone.

You also want to consider that your subject is likely not a professional film star and may come across as awkward and unattractive on camera. The right lighting cannot only make your subject look stunning, but also give them the confidence they need to present well on screen.

For a bright and inviting feel that’s perfect for interviews, testimonials & marketing videos try:

  • Thinking beyond 3 point lighting: Bring additional gear to light around the room, bounce off walls, and brighten up the background to make the whole space more inviting
  • Adding faux sunlight: Give the impression natural light is coming from the windows to appear friendly and approachable
  • Using soft light: Like in the photo above, soft light helps subjects look more attractive and polished
  • Tip: China balls, domes, additional background lighting and diffusion are great add-ons to your lighting package

 

Dramatic Flair

 

 

 

 

 

 

Menacing. Brooding. Mysterious. A highly contrasted look, like the example above, is perfect for dramatic re-tellings, serious PSA’s or corporate videos containing heavier material. Deep shadows create a stark contrast which will immediately communicate to the viewer this content is serious. In this example, it looks like the darkness is about to devour that unsuspecting happy man, which might be too intense for your corporate PSA. But, lighting in a lower key, using additional gear to separate the subject from the background and experimenting with color, split lighting and diffusion can help create this sinister tone.

Next Level Talking Head

The go-to video trend of content creators is the Talking Head. We’ve seen it a thousand times. It’s efficient, inexpensive and practical… a.k.a, boring. But, it doesn’t have to be. With great lighting and a few fun extras, your Talking Head can be eye-catching and dynamic.

If you check out the video below, you’ll see the subject is beautifully lit with specific lighting for hair, face & eyes. However, despite the simplicity of the setup, the video looks rich with contrasting shadows, texture and depth. That’s the work of a skilled professional. You’ll also want to note the use of subtle movement here. The camera glides with such control you likely wouldn’t notice if you weren’t looking for it, but it makes the video all the more engaging. The use of two cameras, a slider or additional accessories like a dolly or gimbal, combined with beautiful lighting techniques, can really push production value to the next level.

A video represents who you are to the world, so you want to make sure the style and tone match your brand. It is essential to establish tone and then plan your shoot and budget accordingly. You are definitely going to need to schedule enough time, as creating the right light can be a meticulous process, so a full day shoot is always best.

While lighting is key, it certainly isn’t everything.  To achieve the best results you’re going to want to make sure you hire a complete team. A director will focus on the talent so the DP can focus on the frame. Hair & makeup artists will make sure your subjects look flawless – because lighting can’t fix everything.  Onsite editors are invaluable when it comes to making sure you have enough footage for a seamless edit. And don’t forget a great production assistant can help a shoot flow smoothly, or at least bring you coffee.

video editing on computer - Crew Connection

What Makes a Great Video Editor

What Makes a Great Video Editor 5736 3328 Dani Lyman

“It’s the editor who orchestrates the rhythm of the images, and that is the rhythm of the dialogue, and of course the rhythm of the music. For me, the editor is like a musician, and often a composer.” – Martin Scorcese

 

In the video industry, everyone knows the edit can make or break a project. You can hire the best production team in the world, but if your editor doesn’t understand both the technology and the art of editing, you’re out of luck. A bad edit can leave a viewer cringing and can cost more in re-edits than it’s worth.

So, what can you do to make sure you’ve hired the best of the best to edit your latest piece? I chatted with professional freelance editor and longtime Crew Connection Crew, Jeff Drake, about his vast career and what he believes makes an excellent editor.

 

The Vision

“When I first saw Avid Media Composer, I knew non-linear editing was what I wanted to be doing.” Drake’s editing journey began when post-production meant using tape machines and a switcher. The introduction to editing software was a complete game-changer for his career. “It allowed me to be faster and more creative and inspired me to constantly learn new technology in order to elevate the level of my work.”

That level of elevated work has allowed Drake to be fortunate enough to edit for major companies like ESPN, Wells Fargo, Toyota and Victoria’s Secret, to name just a few. His experience, accompanied by his humble and professional approach, is what sets him apart from amateur editors who may understand the technology, but not the business of editing. “Most directors and producers have a vision and it’s my job to fulfill that vision first. I always aim to bring something to the table and make the final project better than the client anticipated.”

 

 

The Business

Putting one’s artistic ego aside and focusing on delivering the client’s vision isn’t always easy, but it is a paramount trait in a sought-after editor. Creative personalities can often clash, but Drake believes forcing his perspective on a client is the opposite of what he’s been hired to do. “I will defend my creative decisions, but only once because I want the person paying the bill to be really happy with how the project turns out.” In the end, he’s been hired to make the post-production process easier for the client. It isn’t personal.

Another way he manages to keep such a professional rapport with his clients is by working as a contractor, instead of an in-house editor. Drake reveals that working with various clients away from the office is one of the biggest benefits to his work. By staying out of office politics and avoiding distractions Drake says he can focus all his energy on delivering an excellent product. As a contractor, he can also bring a fresh perspective that sometimes in-house editors can’t provide.

 

The Final Product

Working behind the scenes can make it difficult for people to understand the artistry that goes into editing a project.  “Editing is creative control of the structure, pacing, and tone of any piece, no matter how complicated or simple.” Additionally,  a solid editor can work with powerful tools to manipulate mediocre images, improve audio or design motion graphics from a simple idea.

“I think editing is the single most important contribution to the overall feel and success of a project but, of course, I’m biased.” Drake may be joking, but this is the level of commitment and skill you want your editor to have. You want to trust your editor is giving 100% percent to seeing your vision succeed. That’s what separates an excellent editor from the rest.

camera gear on table - Crew Connection

Coolest Camera Gear Must Haves

Coolest Camera Gear Must Haves 3976 2753 Dani Lyman

There are a grip ton of companies out there creating so many camera and grip accessories that it can get a little overwhelming to sort through them all. From pocket jibs to flywheels to app controlled motorized skaters, the market is flooded with nifty gadgets you want to add to your equipment cage. But, some products and companies are definitely better than others! Check out 3 companies creating some of the coolest toys in the industry!

Edelkrone

Edelkrone focuses on pint-sized, portable accessories that simplify the production process. From their PocketRig to the SliderOne, they deliver tiny tools to get smooth shots from interesting angles. Many of their products are app controlled, leaving less room for human error and more time to get that perfect shot. The motorized system is perfect for stunning timelapses and creative stop-motion projects.  While all Edelkrone products are making a splash, people are especially enthusiastic about the Motion BOX and its ability to shoot 360 degrees in one fluid motion.

 

Kessler

Established in 2003, Kessler has become an industry leader, providing some of the most innovative camera and grip gear. For their latest invention, they merged the CineDrive and Shuttle Dolly into one groundbreaking system. The multi-axis motion controlled camera system slides easily along the dolly without missing a beat. The system is designed for users to have full control down to their fingertips by programming keyframes to ensure accurate camera movements at the precise time. To give you even more to nerd out on, the upside down camera movement on the dolly is pretty epic.

Rhino

If you search the internet for “best slider” Rhino undoubtedly has one of the largest and loudest fan bases out there. Rhino Slider EVO has the reputation of being the best in the game. One of the most notable ways this slider stands out among its competition is the flywheel. The flywheel securely sits on top of the slider to create the perfect amount of tension which keeps the camera flowing smoothly, avoiding any little bump in the road. That uninterrupted “sliding” motion is exactly why we use the slider to begin with and Rhino seems to have mastered it!

 

 

computer coding - Crew Connection

Make yourself and your crew known online

Make yourself and your crew known online 6000 4000 Dani Lyman

When you work in video production it is paramount that you have an online presence.  Vimeo and YouTube are excellent avenues to highlight your work and attract new clients, but nothing like a strong and modern website confidently says, “I’m a professional and you can trust me.”

So, here are a few tips to help you up your online presence !

Get in the game

First things first, you need a website. Everyone has one. Maybe a lot of your work comes from word of mouth and you’ve been doing just fine. But, if you want to attract newer clients and stay ahead of your  competition then you need a website. A slick site helps to gain credibility and prove you have the talent and equipment. It also showcases who you are and what you specialize in all in one place.

Looks are Everything

Now, how you execute your website is extremely important. The most crucial element is your gallery of work. Many video production professionals make the mistake of throwing all their work, from film school to present, on their site. In this case, however, there’s no question that we always want quality over quantity. Keep the newest, trendiest, cleanest work on your site and remove anything else that brings the standard down.

Keep your gallery clean and organized by categories that are easy to view. Add an aerial reel, a commercial reel, a short film reel and keep the layout simple. There are many approaches to this, but after searching across multiple websites, this is one of the sharpest and most effective galleries I found.

Out with the Old

Remember to remove old videos across all social media platforms, as well. When people google you be sure they only find top notch examples of your work! Potential clients are going to judge you off that first viewing, so don’t let any old and out of date videos drag you down.

Post it, Tweet it, Share it

Link your website to every other social media platform and stay current! If you link to Twitter –  tweet! Have fresh and exciting content that lets the client peer into the experience they will have with you on location. If you link to Insta then post BTS photos, sunsets, quirky crew shots, new equipment – etc. Link to Vimeo and make sure it showcases your most current stand out pieces.

Brag a Little

Have you won an award? Were you featured in a magazine? Have brand name clients given you shout outs and accolades? Share it! If others have trusted you then new clients will be more inclined to do so as well. This is a great example from Motion Source in Chicago. I don’t even know half of these awards, but I’m immediately impressed.

Get Cheeky with it

Lastly, and the most endearing part of your social presence, is getting creative and adding some personality! The “About Us” section of your site is a great place to add some silliness and character.  You can personalize the experience by adding fun team photos, like this unique selfie example from Miami based crew Maxime.

 

 

 

 

iphone video - Crew Connection

Push iPhone’s video potential to the max

Push iPhone’s video potential to the max 6720 4480 Dani Lyman

With internet articles like “How to Film A Hollywood Worthy Movie on Your iPhone” and “How to Shoot iPhone Video Like a Pro” you may get the impression that cinematic brilliance is in the palm of your hand with the purchase of the iPhone X.

You say to yourself, “Why do I need to hire a crew for my social media campaign, my promotional video, or my company’s internal projects when I can do everything on my phone?”

Then you see incredibly beautiful images produced with the iPhone like this gorgeous short film by Amnesia Art and you think, “I can do that.” But, it’s not as easy as it looks.

When you see such a well crafted film like this it is easy to get swept away into the notion that you, yourself, or at the very least, your neighbor’s teenager because he’s better with technology than you are, can create something similar for your video project. Until you give it a try. Then, sadly, passed your deadline with half your budget wasted, you find yourself with unusable footage ruined by terrible lighting, unbearable sound and choppy editing.

Just like wearing Nikes doesn’t make you Jordan, the iPhone doesn’t make you a talented DP. The device is only as good as the person operating it. Ryan Earl and Nick Arcivos, the talent behind this film, have years of experience as filmmakers and photographers. In their dedicated and very capable hands a phone becomes another tool in their arsenal to create a successful piece of art.

Another thing to consider is the extensive amount of equipment needed to create a piece that looks this professional. The Amnesia Art team posted the list of equipment they used which totals over $2,000. Half of that was spent on sound equipment alone! BECAUSE THAT’S HOW IMPORTANT SOUND IS! No one will watch your video if the sound is bad! That is why a professional Audio Tech is so crucial to the success of your project and worth every penny. Not to mention the smooth flow of the edit is not something that can be accomplished by just anybody, even with easy to use editing apps.

There is a laundry list of details that go into making a film like this. The kind of details that those of us who work in Video Production are completely passionate about, obsess over and educate ourselves on daily.

The iPhone definitely has a place in the DIY video world. You can make awesome videos for your podcast, Instagram or YouTube channel, but when it comes to larger endeavors and really higher-end projects – nothing beats experience. Or dedication. Or knowledge. Or passion. A crew of experts who understand how to use the equipment and deliver a solid project is always worth the investment.

 

 

 

 

rain - Crew Connection

Go ahead and make it rain

Go ahead and make it rain 5184 3456 Dani Lyman

Whether you work on commercials, movies or photo shoots, you’re bound to run into one very tricky issue in production – creating a weather scene.

There are some crafty Hollywood hacks for recreating the elements: like stuffing ice into a wood chipper (Fargo much?) to imitate falling snow or using a leaf blower against talent’s hair for tornado scenes. But, the most used element on camera, rain, can also be the most difficult to film.

 

R.A.I.N.

When your shoot calls for rain, you want those big, sexy, glamorous drops falling slightly to the left while subtle winds circle around your talent. You want it to look unrealistically beautiful, so you have to fake it.

Creating movie style rain requires a few simple steps. Number one – don’t shoot in the rain! Not only is weather completely unpredictable and nearly impossible to schedule a shoot around, it doesn’t read on screen. It could be a downpour of torrential rain, but the footage only shows hazy grey streaks crying on the screen. It’s kind of pathetic.

For the camera to catch the drops, you’re going to want large, heavy disbursement. Features often make it rain by using rain trucks, but that can cause a drought in the budget. The next best thing is a rain rig, which are long pipes that stand on tall poles with attached sprinkler heads. Rain rigs are set up in the foreground and background of your shot to create a great consistent shower. Those can be a bit pricey as well. If you want Hollywood rain on a film school budget, check out this bad-ass rain rig designed by Tom Antos. Watch out for the Amateur Move: Rain that comes into the scene from more than one direction.

 

*lighting matters*

Once you have your rain source, you have to light it properly. Backlight. Blacklight. Backlight. Backlighting separates the rain from the background and highlights the drops as they fall to the ground. This creates layers, more dimension and allows the droplets to really shine.

 

The Blustery Day

Whether you’re trying to achieve a romantic kiss under a light drizzle or the Day After Tomorrow Armageddon storm, you’re going to need some wind to sell the moment. A fan off camera isn’t going to push the illusion of wind unless it has something to blow around. For wind to pop on screen, you want to scatter your set with debris like leaves, dirt, and some earth powder. When you add the fan, the debris will circle in the air, creating whirling movement and a beautifully textured scene.

 

Finishing Touches

To finish off your stormy look, make sure to wet down the entire scene. Vehicles, roads, umbrellas, sidewalks and your talent. In some cases, simply hosing down the set is enough to create the illusion of fresh rain. In the end, that slick, wet look really resonates on camera and delivers that rainy day feel we love to see on film. For a little extra drama, shoot at night, throw some fog in your shot and backlight it!

These simple tricks are all it takes to turn your sunny shoot into a cinematic storm.

 

 

About Crew Connection

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Crew Connection puts a suite of marketing tools at your fingertips. Get your demo reels, stills, gear, awards, and more in front of the biggest clients all over the world—for free. At Crew Connection we pay video and post production providers within 30 days of receiving your invoice so your work and your life are never interrupted. Need live assistance or want to add quality jobs to your pipeline? Our crew coordinators are on call around the clock. Sign in to Crew Connection, call 303-526-4900, or email info@crewconnection.com.