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Old May 24th, 2004, 10:07 PM   #1
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Pancake -vs- Lantern

I am looking for a soft, omni diffuser to use overhead to light groups around a table and other relatively circular target patterns.

The Chimera lantern has been the diffuser I've had in mind. But I've been looking more closely at Chimera's "pancake" boxes and think that these might actually be more versatile, with the drop-flaps on each side.

Has anyone used a pancake and, if so, what did you think of it?

Thanks very much, in advance, for your opinions.
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Old May 26th, 2004, 01:00 PM   #2
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Hey Ken,

I have Chimera's largest pancake lantern. I love it! Fairly easy to
set up (but not as easy as a Lowel Rifa). You will need a pretty big
and sturdy C stand and a sand bag to handle it. I used it to light
groups around a table, flat light a bed room (and then add accents)
and all kinds of other shots.

Once you get it and see the results, you'll notice that lots of movies
that seem to have that same look . . . hmmm.

They're not cheap, but like most good stuff worth the expense imo.
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Old May 26th, 2004, 02:18 PM   #3
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I had some real good results with the extra large paper lantern, hung above a group of seven at a table. With a few accents put outside the shot, I was able to move around the table and get good even exposures. I used dual photo-floods in the lantern.

This also worked very well for an outdoor night shot around a campfire. Again, suspending the lantern high out of the shot, and allowing the actual campfire to throw the flicker across the actors faces. The light source was diffuse enough to be seen as either "moonlight" or part of the firelight.

I think I paid five dollars for the lantern. (24inch size)
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Old May 26th, 2004, 02:45 PM   #4
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Jacques: Thanks very much for that. I did, indeed, wonder about weight and support considerations for the large pancake. Perhaps the attribute of the pancake that attracts me the most is the availability of the drop-down skirts for flagging. Since the light is rectangular it seems that such skirts (also available for the round lantern) might be a tad more precise.

Richard: You're the voice of economical practicality. Those paper "Chinese" lanterns are very inexpensive, light-weight, and easy to transport. They're also easy to replace. My biggest fear, perhaps overblown with due care, is setting one on fire.

Thanks very much, guys. Will report back when I take action.
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