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Old October 23rd, 2008, 10:56 AM   #1
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Organza on a softbox

Hi,

Is it safe (heatwise) to use Organza (the black veil stuff) on the front of a softbox (with 2 diffusers) containing a Ianiro Varibeam Redhead?

I want to fix it across the bottom half of the softbox to take down white shirts etc.

Thanks
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 12:34 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by James Thomson View Post
Hi,

Is it safe (heatwise) to use Organza (the black veil stuff) on the front of a softbox (with 2 diffusers) containing a Ianiro Varibeam Redhead?

I want to fix it across the bottom half of the softbox to take down white shirts etc.

Thanks
Hi James:

This is grip 101. Let discuss some physics here. You cannot cut a soft light source near the source. I had this argument with my boss years ago when he would try to flag off a Chimera at the front of the box. Soft sources spread the light and are big, soft, blobby pools of light. If you want to cut down shirts, you need to place the cutting source, usually a solid flag or perhaps a net, much closer to the talent and NOT at the face of the softbox.

I find with a small Chimera, I need to place the flag about 2-4 feet in front of the source to get a decent and effective cut. If you cut a soft source, all you are doing is reducing the size of the source and the output, you are not really flagging off where you need to, the light hitting that white or light blue shirt.

With a medium Chimera, I have to cut even further away from the source, sometimes as far as 6-8 feet away. If you need to define a cut of light, it is much easier to cut a hard source like a fresnel.

I wish that I had a drawing of this, does this make sense to you? You need at least a few feet from your softbox to the flag. Forget organza and buy a set of flags and C-stands, that's how pros do it.

Dan
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Old October 24th, 2008, 01:26 AM   #3
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Thanks for the comprehensive reply Dan,

I understand exactly what you're saying. It's like you're making a 32x24 softbox into a 16x24 softbox -kind of defeats the object!

I actually thought I'd read somewhere about using ND on the front of a softbox to take down a shirt etc. but I read a lot of online stuff and books so there's every chance I mis-remembered. I also recently bought a load of black Organza for taking bright windows down so I was wondering about uses for the offcuts.

Unfortunately, with how mobile and compact (and fast!!) I need to be, a C-stand is not going to work for me but I will experiment with clamping flags on a lightstand to achieve the cut.
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Old October 24th, 2008, 01:41 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
You cannot cut a soft light source near the source.

If you want to cut down shirts, you need to place the cutting source, usually a solid flag or perhaps a net, much closer to the talent and NOT at the face of the softbox.

You need at least a few feet from your softbox to the flag.
This depends on what you mean by "cut". If you mean to *remove light* then you are most certainly correct. Soft light will wander it's way around your psuedo flag in some small portion and you will get light where you didn't want it. You can replicate this with a bare bulb and your hand and a wall.

However, if you only want to REDUCE the light getting somewhere then you most certainly can flag it near the source and achieve this effect. I did it quite effectively this week taking exposure off a black background from a 36x36 softbox with a 24x36 piece of black foamcore.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
Forget organza and buy a set of flags and C-stands, that's how pros do it.

Dan
Now THIS I agree with totally. Buy the right tools for the job. I tend to use foamcore to flag rather than traditional flags, but both can work quite well.
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Old October 24th, 2008, 09:50 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by James Thomson View Post
Thanks for the comprehensive reply Dan,

I understand exactly what you're saying. It's like you're making a 32x24 softbox into a 16x24 softbox -kind of defeats the object!

I actually thought I'd read somewhere about using ND on the front of a softbox to take down a shirt etc. but I read a lot of online stuff and books so there's every chance I mis-remembered. I also recently bought a load of black Organza for taking bright windows down so I was wondering about uses for the offcuts.

Unfortunately, with how mobile and compact (and fast!!) I need to be, a C-stand is not going to work for me but I will experiment with clamping flags on a lightstand to achieve the cut.
Exactly! My boss did this for years until I told him that all he was doing was reducing output and making his soft source harder by reducing it's size.

I would highly suggest that you consider a set of Matthews Road Rags. These are flags that break down to a small frame size and are transported in a small soft bag about the size of a Chimera bag. Very cool for travel and they are lighter and therefore easier to rig to a light stand. I would also suggest a Mafer clamp or two with a grip head to hold your flag for easy positioning from the shaft of a light stand (assuming this might be a light stand that already has a light working on it?)

Good luck,

Dan
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Old October 25th, 2008, 11:30 PM   #6
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Road Rages

I have had a look at the Road Rags and it seems they may well fit the bill -although with how hard it is to source specific lighting hardware in this country I may well end up making my own!

I was browsing the curtain rail section in my local DIY store (don't ask!!) and noticed some interesting tube hinges that might work -any suggestions for the fabric if I decide to go down the DIY route? (assuming it won't be closer to the source than 2-4 feet as you recommend)

Thanks again Dan for your patient help and instruction,
James

Last edited by James Thomson; October 26th, 2008 at 04:48 AM.
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Old October 26th, 2008, 06:47 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by James Thomson View Post
I have had a look at the Road Rags and it seems they may well fit the bill -although with how hard it is to source specific lighting hardware in this country I may well end up making my own!

I was browsing the curtain rail section in my local DIY store (don't ask!!) and noticed some interesting tube hinges that might work -any suggestions for the fabric if I decide to go down the DIY route? (assuming it won't be closer to the source than 2-4 feet as you recommend)

Thanks again Dan for your patient help and instruction,
James
Anytime James.

I watched a good Discovery Channel show last night about Dubai. What an amazing place you live in. I will have to make it over there someday for a visit, the architecture and infrastructure are absolutely amazing.

Homemade stuff is a lot of fun. I did a shoot last week with two of my homemade Kinos and it worked out really well. I love homemade gear if it works.

Dan
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Old October 27th, 2008, 03:02 AM   #8
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Diy Stuff

[I love homemade gear if it works]

My rule is that if I can confidently deploy a homemade alternative when under pressure without being concerned that it will:

a) Need careful handling or adjustment
b) Need tools to rig up on set
c) Look like anything from the bathroom/plumbing/gardening section or something built by Santa's Elves
d) Cost more to build based on my hourly rate than to buy the "proper one"
e) Risk anything worse than minor scrapes/burns or metal splinters to build

...then I will consider it!

I know normally in lighting it's what's onscreen that counts but I find that with corporate jobs people often raise their eyebrows if you start messing around with anything that doesn't click neatly into a bracket!!

And yes Dan, Dubai is an incredible place -it goes without saying you must let me know if you ever get over here.
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