I Just Learned Where Some Movies' Lake And Ocean Scenes Are Really Filmed, And I'm Shocked

I'm willing to bet it's not where you'd expect.
20th Century Studios, Paramount

Sure, we all know that Hollywood uses a bit of magic to create great TV and movies.

There are elaborate car rigs to film driving scenes, for example; and there’s a pretty wild chance the food actors eat on-screen never actually get ingested.

But until I saw TV writer Michael Jamin’s TikTok, filmed on top of the Paramount building, I had no idea how unlikely the location of lake and ocean scenes can be.

What are you on about?

Michael, who was at Paramount for a meeting, starts his video by showing us a giant billboard in the back of the car park that mirrors the sky exactly.

“It looks like the sky, no matter what colour the sky is,” he said, before sharing that he worked in that building years ago for a show.

And “in my parking spot,” he says, pointing to a regular-looking grid of cars, is a “tank.”

“What they do is, when they need to, they remove the cars from the tank and they flood it,” he shared. “And then they shoot all these scenes ― you know, with like boats and stuff like that.”

He adds that that’s the place where the Cheers! proposal scene between Sam and Diane took place.

Paramount themselves say the same

Paramount’s site has a page about the Blue Sky tank.

“Water shots are easier on our lot,” it reads. “You don’t need to go to some expensive far-off location to film water scenes.”

They add, “when we combine the giant screen backing and our set construction experts with the tank, we can create any water setting you need, from a beach, the open ocean, a mossy pond, a giant reflection pool, or anything else you can imagine.”

Meanwhile, other methods of capturing water scenes include a “dry to wet” method which rigs actors up in front of a “blue screen” before adding effects (as in the live-action Little Mermaid), or actually using the open ocean (as director Steven Spielberg insisted for Jaws).

Meanwhile, many scenes from the Titanic used massive tanks and even Olympic-sized swimming pools.

No business like show business, right?


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