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Tom Dowler

Is wetting down a street feasible for a no-budget shoot? What exactly is involved?

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I'm working with a director who asked about wetting down a street for night scenes. We're using a relatively small patch of street, but this is not something I've ever done before or seen done in person.

So is it practical for a tiny, no-budget shoot? Does it require a fire truck? Or a few buckets of water?

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Funnily enough, there's a brilliant video on the Indy Mogul YouTube channel about use of water, featuring an intelligent, hilarious and good-looking British guy.

In short a garden hosepipe is enough for even reasonably large areas, but the real issue is having control over that area. Don't wet down an area that some unsuspecting member of the public might drive or walk on.

P

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25 minutes ago, Tom Dowler said:

We're using a relatively small patch of street,

What you consider to be a small patch of street might be different than what I consider to be a small patch of street.

Even if you're shooting on a narrow side street, but you're shooting down the length of the street, you may have a difficult time keeping the length of road wet on your own with a small crew on a no-budget shoot. On the other hand, if you're shooting across a narrow street and only about 40-50' of width would be visible, you may be able to accomplish this if you have access to water on site.

I might ordinarily recommend a water truck for this purpose, but considering your budget I would consider forgoing it. Do you have a permit to shut down the street for the shoot?

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4 hours ago, Phil Rhodes said:

an intelligent, hilarious and good-looking British guy.

Sounds like my twin 🙂

 

Not permitted to block the street off, so I think this is probably a non-starter.

 

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Having tried this, it's remarkably difficult to get enough water down to keep the street consistently wet, roads are higher in the middle so the water runs off, plus the dust and dirt on the road will soak up quite a bit of water as well. Plan on hosing for at least 20 minutes before you get sufficient wettitude. And then, of course, you'll have to rewet as needed. 

I would recommend a couple of RainBirds or one of those waving back and forth lawn sprinklers that will shoot a defined pattern and don't need tending. 

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On 8/8/2019 at 12:03 PM, Phil Rhodes said:

Funnily enough, there's a brilliant video on the Indy Mogul YouTube channel about use of water, featuring an intelligent, hilarious and good-looking British guy.

Phil is now Youtube famous, everyone!

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On 8/8/2019 at 12:03 PM, Phil Rhodes said:

Funnily enough, there's a brilliant video on the Indy Mogul YouTube channel about use of water, featuring an intelligent, hilarious and good-looking British guy.

In short a garden hosepipe is enough for even reasonably large areas, but the real issue is having control over that area. Don't wet down an area that some unsuspecting member of the public might drive or walk on.

P

Thanks Phil for the cool tips!! 

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