Sometimes you see scenes in movies where characters are in a boat below deck, or in some other circumstance where water comes rushing in and knocks them over and they go sliding off camera.

How do they do these scenes without drowning the actors/stuntmen? Is it on some set where the water can drain? Are they left to their own devices? It seems like a risky stunt if an actor slips or something they could easily die.

  • 2
    Hm, I don't see why this would be much different than any other action scene where stuntmen are involved? Do you have a specific scene in mind where you think it could not be pulled off with "normal" stunt tricks?
    – magnattic
    Commented Feb 5, 2015 at 17:09
  • 1
    I'm just thinking, with many stunts there is a good bit of physics involved. If you're jumping off a building, you know how far out you need to jump to land safely on the air mattress. Water has no shape or form and, I imagine, is very difficult to control. I can't think of a specific scene off the top of my head, but I did watch the remake of Poseidon lately so I'm sure somewhere in there was a scene with water that seemed pretty dangerous, and it stuck in the back of my mind. Commented Feb 5, 2015 at 17:36
  • 1
    There are almost always scuba divers on hand for that sort of shot to help the actor move around. They're usually in the water with the actor, just off camera of course. Commented Feb 5, 2015 at 18:49
  • 2
    (Director musing..) "'Without injuring actors'.. I don't understand those words. What language is that? What do you mean?" -- Or to put that another way as an example, AFAIR there were a number of near drownings in movies like The Abyss. Commented Feb 5, 2015 at 22:56
  • And having actors be trained at scuba means that they can be down longer and can get back to air without having to surface.
    – Catija
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 7:47

2 Answers 2


There are a hand full of ways that flood and water scenes can be done in movies.

The first instance, and one that's been used more commonly the last few years, is cgi. They film the actors in front of a green screen and replace everything with computer graphics.

Another example is building a set specific to the scene/s where flooding occurs. The environments are constructed such that the crew have control of the situation at all times and everyone's safety is kept in check.

In some scenes where there is a lot of open water, a special set is constructed in water tanks with backdrops to make it seem that you're not looking at the actors in a tank.

  • +1 nice answer, this question remind me of days when nobby and oliver presents their great experienced answers.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 7:34
  • 1
    @AnkitSharma :-D what's bugging me is i have an image in my head of a behind the scenes from a movie that'd be a perfect example, but for the life of me i can't remember what it's from.
    – DForck42
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 7:52
  • If you have a room build to look exactly like the inside of a ship, but the entrance/door/exit basically empties into a glorified water slide, then that would keep everyone relatively safe. Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 20:31

The Impossible's' tsunami scene is one of the well praised example and here are the insiders on it :-

"We started off with a test with like six submergible pumps to try to get the current," said Costa. "We ended up with 33 submergible pumps, and each pump weighed like 1,322 pounds." Each pumped about 80 gallons per second. Four large generators supplied power to the pumps, which had to be adapted for the tank because they couldn't be visible on camera.

The actors would sit in carts that moved on two rails inside the channel, and they were pulled by steel cables at the same speed as the current, said Costa. "They were very protected. They were sitting in the baskets with their arms and legs sticking out, and we would pull the camera next to them and behind them." - latimes.com

In behind the scene of Bollywood film Satyam Shivam Sundaram during TV telecast, it is told that they used real flood scene to catch up the intensity for film. They said , on the similar time real flood got happened.

Otherwise CGI is the solution for the rest but it doesn't look as realistic as above methods.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .