In just a couple of months, Coronavirus has impacted millions of people around the world. With Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing further COVID-19 measures, including the closure of cafes and restaurants, to cinemas and gyms, UK residents are now encouraged to spend more time than ever at home.
What better way to beat those self-isolation blues than with a special effects movie-marathon?
Tension, horror, grief, romance… Entertainment Effects know from experience that a good rain effect can be key to creating the right mood in a movie, on TV, within stage productions and more. But how is it done? Let’s look behind the scenes at some of the most iconic movies of all time, and how they have used rain to heighten and convey sadness, exhilaration and pure passion.
The Truman Show (1998)
Playing on the role that special effects can have in creating an artificial reality, The Truman Show uses rain effects as a key plot device. Unsuspecting Truman Burbank lives in a world that’s constructed to simulate real life, but actually takes place on a giant film set. Little by little, he starts to suspect something is afoot – especially when he notices that rain is falling, but only on him. The movie is thought-provoking on many levels, but we enjoyed the rain scene as a tribute to the illusory power of special effects.
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Special effects were in their infancy in 1952, but that didn’t stop the makers of Singin’ in the Rain creating a classic rain scene that’s unforgettable to this day. The secret? Sprinklers and hoses – with an impressive lighting job that managed to show both the rain and the performers in their best light. (There’s a rumour that milk was used to get the rain to glisten in just the right way – but that’s been firmly debunked).
Blade Runner (1982)
“All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.” These are the words of renegade replicant Roy Batty, in a death soliloquy that has to be one of the most-quoted of all time. The ultra-realistic rain effects in this scene were created using a black background and clever lighting, with the live action shot separately. It took real skill for the technicians to create rain effects that interacted with the characters in a way that didn’t make them look ‘tacked on’.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
In real life, we don’t much enjoy being rained on. But many film characters welcome a good rain shower, which can be used to represent the cleansing quality of a baptism, and The Shawshank Redemption is no exception. At the climax of the film, Andy rejoices in his escape from the filthy sewer pipe by raising shirtless arms to the heavens and tasting his freedom, as a storm cloud breaks overhead. It’s a tribute to the actors and technicians involved that this scene was nailed in the first take.
The Notebook (2004)
Want to add passion to any romance? Simply add a heavy rain shower. In The Notebook, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as Noah and Allie share an ardent kiss, oblivious to the deluge that’s giving them a thorough drenching. Thanks to its skilful rain effects, the scene won the MTV Award for the Best Kiss in 2005.