View Full Version : Don't know nothin' bout no softboxes
August 1st, 2003, 08:54 PM
It seems like whenever I see behind the scenes footage of a film, they always use softboxes to fake lamp light (in dimly lit or night scene) and flourescent light (in an office setting, for example). I wanted to join the softbox club, and I don't jack diddly poop about them.
Can I get some recommendations of good models? I won't be spending five hundred bucks. . I'll be doin' it the ebay way, so nothin' too fancy.
Do you have to use a specific softbox light with them, or can you use an existing light (I own two totas and two fresnels)?
What's a good size, for general use? Like I said, simulating lamplight and overhead flourescent or something similar are my main concerns.
Stands- will they mount on the standard light stand (5/8" mount, I believe?), or do I have to buy a separate one.
Anything else I need to know?
Also, I swear I saw something from a picture from the first Spiderman movie, in a scene where Aunt May was praying, with her elbows on a bed. Off to the side, allegedly lamplight, was something that looked like a rectangular box, enclosed on all but one side, and lined inside with a silver reflective material. A lamphead was inside, facing the inner wall. I used to think this is what a softbox was. Did I make this device up? What is it?
August 1st, 2003, 09:40 PM
The larger the front diffusion area, the softer the image...so softboxes definitely soften the light. They also cast it out in a pretty wide arch. You can add grids (egg crates) to most softboxes that will control the light better, as well as other controls such as flags.
My favorite softboxes are these at PhotoFlex (http://www.photoflex.com). They aren't the cheapest, but they're well-made and not too expensive. Buying a cheap softbox runs the same risk as buying a cheap umbrella...flimsy.
You have to be careful about what type of light you put in what type of softbox. Some are made for high temperature lights, and some aren't. You just have to check the specs on each. The CineDome and MovieDome models at PhotoFlex are designed for hot lights. You can get MovieDomes all the way up to a whopping 54"x72"x38" size which will cast a soft even light into a room similar to light coming through a window with sheer curtains.
To attach the domes to your lights, you first have to make sure they have a connector/speed ring that fits.
So, you'll need four things for each light... a sturdy stand, a connector, the softbox, and the light itself. For larger softboxes, you'll also need some kind of weight to counter-balance.
August 1st, 2003, 11:12 PM
Oy. . .flavin
August 1st, 2003, 11:48 PM
"flavin"...stumped me on that one. Same as "Oy vey"?
August 2nd, 2003, 12:27 AM
I was alluding to that character on the Simpsons.
August 2nd, 2003, 12:37 AM
Damn! Stumped me again. I gots no idea...
August 2nd, 2003, 12:47 AM
Something else you might want to consider is a chinese lantern or the "whitedomes" at PhotoFlex. That would give you soft, even overhead light.
August 2nd, 2003, 08:13 AM
Photoflex sells the chinese lanterns? Or you just like them in general? Does anyone sell them commercially (the nice ones, not the ones that burn)?
It seems like with the softboxes I have to buy a certain ring for a certain light--not just one ring for all lights.
August 2nd, 2003, 08:34 AM
i think the most important question here is, John will you buy me some softboxes? I will make it up to you :)
August 2nd, 2003, 09:25 AM
Check these Chimera Chinese Lanterns out. (http://www.chimeralighting.com/products/product_detail.cfm?product=lantern) Pretty cool.
The "WhiteDomes" at PhotoFlex (Click here, then choose "Products" > "Softboxes for hot lights" > "WhiteDome") (http://www.photoflex.com/photoflex/index.html) will put out the same flat, omnidirectional diffused light.
The connectors have to conform to your specific light model. So, if you buy one PhotoFlex connector for a specific light you have, then the whole PhotoFlex line of softboxes will work with it. If all your lights are the same brand, you can use the same connector on all of them. You'll just need to get one connector for every light that you plan on using a softbox with concurrently.
Zac... I accidentally knocked a Pepsi bottle over on a pizza box this evening. It's all soft and soggy now. Want me to ship it your way?
August 6th, 2003, 12:39 AM
Ok boys and girls let me just tell you two things straight up..
1. I used to work for Photoflex and now I work for www.chimeralighting.com.
2. I will not lead you astray and I know my stuff.
Photoflex's stuff is ok. Made in Korea. The industry Standard is Chimera product. Rental houses use them because they last and have less hotspots and don't yellow as quickly. A Chimera lantern has a 5 yr warr vs a 2 yr warr for a Photoflex Whitedome.
Photoflex for the most part copies Chimera. Yes it is flattering.
Now as far as your lights. I would recommend you get a connector for your tota lights and a 36x48 bank or 24x32 or as someone suggested a Lantern. You can check out the Chimera Pancake lanterns on the website. They have skirts you can roll up and remove. The connector or speedring will work with either a Photoflex or Chimera bank. You can contact me with other questions if you wish. I think the thing you saw in Spiderman was a Chimera Lightbank with the front face and baffle removed. this makes a open face reflector type light source. A Chimera lightbank for hotlights, known as a VideoPro Plus has three different front faces to allow you to vary the light out put and light softness.
Strength and honor
August 12th, 2003, 07:24 AM
Thanks for the tip on Photoflex... I found a softbox there to add to my on-camera video light - very cool!
I had posted before in an attempt to find a way to diffuse my video light, and the best suggestion was to fabricate some sort of softbox, myself.
Luckily, B&H had them in stock - so I'll get mine on Thursday!
Thanks again, John.