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9 Tips for Shooting Video in the Rain

Caleb Ward

Shooting video in the rain is a tricky proposition. Here are a few easy tips for getting it done.

Top image from Shutterstock

Mixing water and electronics is never a good idea. If you absolutely must shoot outside during a rainstorm, there are a few things you can do to make sure that your equipment doesn’t get ruined. Let’s take a look at a few different ways you can protect your gear from the elements.

1. Get a Rain Cover

9 Tips for Shooting Video in the Rain: Camera Rain HoodImage from B&H

The best thing you could possibly do to protect your gear from the rain is buy a rain cover for your equipment. There are a lot of professional options out there, and most of them feature a few adjustable ties that can fit snugly around your camera.

You will, of course, be limited in your ability to adjust focus and view your footage on the camera, but when you’re shooting in the rain, this is just one of the limitations you’ll have to deal with.

2. Improvise a Rain Cover (If You’re in a Pinch)

If you’ve left your rain cover at home, it’s not the end of the world. There are plenty of DIY options out there. The most popular 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.

9 Tips for Shooting Video in the Rain: DIY Rain CoverPhoto via Purple Summit Photography

If you don’t have a ziplock handy, you could always use a trash bag which can double as a poncho to keep you (relatively) dry.

3. Use a Lens Hood

9 Tips for Shooting Video in the Rain: Lens HoodImage from Shutterstock

A lens hood is a simple plastic cover that fits over the end of your lens. They are specially designed to keep out of the field of view. Traditionally, lens hoods are used to protect your lens from bumps and sunlight, but they can also work as a cover to keep rain off the front of your lens.

You can pick up a lens hood for about $10 online. I highly recommend getting one for all of your lenses, just in case.

4. Don’t Clean Lenses With Your Shirt

9 Tips for Shooting Video in the Rain: Cleaning a LensImage from Shutterstock

Water on your lens is super annoying. Not only does it completely ruin your shot, but it also leaves smudges if you try to wipe it off with a microfiber. If you’ve already got water on your lens, I recommend using a t-shirt to dab the water off your lens.

However, you shouldn’t use your shirt to wipe your lens, as it might leave microscopic scratches that could add up over time. After you dab your lens, use a microfiber cloth to wipe off any remaining residue.

5. Prepare for Bad Audio

Audio is almost impossible to work with in the rain. This is for multiple reasons:

  • Rain is Noisy – Even the best unidirectional mics will have an impossible amount of background noise.
  • Rain is Dangerous for Audio Equipment – It goes without saying, but anytime you mix electrical equipment with water, bad things are going to happen. This is especially true with microphones. No matter if you use a boom mic, lav, or video mic, you’re going to run the risk of ruining your mic if it gets wet.
  • Rain Limits Your Audio Options – There’s really no good way to work around rain when it comes to audio. If you use a boom, it’s going to get soaked. 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 your run the risk of getting a lot of unnecessary ambient noise.

So if you need to shoot in the rain, there’s a good chance you’ll have to do some ADR work in post. It’s also even more necessary to record field noise when shooting in the rain, as there’s a chance that you can use the Capture Noise Print feature in Audition to minimize some of the ambient noise produced by the raindrops.

6. Wipe Off Your Gear Afterwards

9 Tips for Shooting Video in the Rain: Wet Canon CameraImage from Shutterstock

Most professional gear is water resistant, meaning it won’t immediately ruin if it gets wet. But even water resistant equipment can get compromised if water is left on it for a long time.

If you simply stick a wet lens into your pack, you run the risk of water sitting on the internal electronics in your camera. This could easily degrade them over time. For more information on this subject, check out our Pro Lens Cleaning Tools Under $7 post.

7. Use Battery-Operated Lights and Keep Them Safe

9 Tips for Shooting Video in the Rain: LED LightsImage from Shutterstock

If you need to use lights during a storm, you can’t simply plug them into an electrical outlet. That would be a major electrical hazard. I recommend using a battery-powered LED light and a large plastic ziplock bag. It won’t produce a lot of light, but it will produce enough to strike a basic set.

There are a lot of battery-operated LED light options out there. One of my favorite brands for casual productions is Yongnuo. They create super-cheap LED lights that take Sony batteries. You can pick one up for as little as $60.

8. Silica Gel

9 Tips for Shooting Video in the Rain: Silica GelImage from Shutterstock

Moisture can be an absolute disaster for cameras, especially if the moisture gets inside your lens. The easiest way to suck moisture out of your camera bag: silica gel, the same kind found in shoe boxes. You can pick up a pack of silica gel bags for $7 online.

9. Avoid Shooting in the Rain

It’s always best to avoid rain when you can. If you’re shooting a documentary, then you may have no choice. But for narrative film, you’ll always want to control your environment by simulating fake rain. There are tons of tutorials out there on the subject. You can even use a water hose if you’re in a pinch.

Tom Antos created this really good video demonstrating how you create a DIY rainstorm.

For more information on this technique, check out our How to Create a DIY Rain Machine that Actually Looks Great On-Camera post here on PremiumBeat.

Have any tips for shooting in the rain? Share in the comments below.