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Lighting a sprinkler as a solid mass outside at night?

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Hey, quick lighting question. I am shooting a music video, and the concept heavily involves a sprinkler in a park at night. The talent is supposed to “dance” with the stream of water as it circles around the grass, and eventually passes over the talent at the end. Like “Singing in the Rain” but with a sprinkler at night. We have a location with a sprinkler that puts out a lot of water, but I’m having a hard time lighting it so the stream of water shows up on camera as a solid mass. It just looked liked it was raining, but it needs to look like a wall of water moving closer and further away.

It’s low budget, I don’t own any high-end lights to test ahead of time, but I plan to rent some. We have an A7S so we plan to take advantage of a full moon.

Looking for advice on how you might approach this problem in general, and advice on any light(s) to rent. I’m really trying to highlight the stream as a solid, glowy, “wall” of water that the audience can clearly track.



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If you want it to look solid, then it needs to be solid. Individual jets of water are always going to look like what they are, no matter how you light them.

Yeah, to my eyes the jets look solid. I'm going to try high, upstage lighting, experiementing with diffusion, and putting a small LED at the base of the stream. As a last resort, I will try slowing the shutter to blur the streams together. The ambient light from the full moon is a factor I will have to deal with later.


I recognize this might just be something I have to play with on my own. But I'll keep a small record of what I find in case somebody else runs into this very specific problem!

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