Peter Menzies Jr: Lighting Rain & Flood

American Cinematographer, Photographing at Full Flood, by George Turner (January 1998)

"The backing was quite easy to light. Because it was on dry land, but in the tank in was always a struggle to move lights around. Then we tried lighting balloons, and they really helped us out. They were flexible, safe, and provided a beautiful quality of light. When we floated the balloons, the rain obscured the power cords coming down from them. We didn't have to worry about lighting from Condors or towers or anything else. To see all of those glowing balloons floating up over the set was pretty surreal! It could look absolutely beautiful when we backlit it, but a flood isn't a beautiful thing. We didn't backlight much because we really didn't want a theatrical look; we wanted it to look real. Also, if we had backlit the rain, we wouldn't have had the depth we wanted on such a large set. It was great to see the whole set without it being washed out by backlit rain. Most of the time I'd crosslight it, but sometimes we'd just throw 360 degrees of light with the balloons. Quite often, you couldn't even see the rain falling. Instead, you could just see it on the water's surface, which really enhanced the realism."

- Peter Menzies Jr., ASC

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