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Old January 4th, 2013, 07:43 AM   #1
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Big gels for softbox (rifa 66)

I just bought a used Rifa 66 softbox, and I'm wondering how to go about gelling this thing, The face is 25x25" which makes it too big for a standard 20x24" gel. There is the $60 Lowel LC-67 daylight filter kit, rather expensive for three gels 26x33". I also would ideally want ability to use some gels not in that kit, like minusgreens to take out the green spike when using CFLs. I could buy $120+rolls of filter and cut my own, but that is wasteful and even more expensive. And in any case these large gels wouldn't fit in my normal gel rollup so I'd have to store them seperately somehow...yech.

I'm curious how others handle gelling large softboxes.

I suppose my best bet is to try and find someone I know with big rolls of filters and have them cut me some, but I'm also curious about other approaches people use like perhaps masking edges, just leaving edges exposed, or even joining multiple 20x24 filters (tape? sew?).
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Old January 4th, 2013, 10:11 AM   #2
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Re: Big gels for softbox (rifa 66)

Tom: my largest Chimera ( which is labeled a "small") is also too big for one standard gel.

What I do is just C47 the first gel on, and then C47 a 2nd one to the other side, and have the smallest possible vertical overlap in the middle. Usually takes 6+ clips to hold everything tight and prevent light leaks. The excess on the side of the Chimera just gets folded back and pinned out of the way.

Can't see the seam in the projected light, very little light loss in that big of a light.
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Old January 4th, 2013, 12:37 PM   #3
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Re: Big gels for softbox (rifa 66)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Morrow View Post
..I suppose my best bet is to try and find someone I know with big rolls of filters and have them cut me some, but I'm also curious about other approaches people use like perhaps masking edges, just leaving edges exposed, or even joining multiple 20x24 filters (tape? sew?).
I've seen gels butted and taped with scotch tape or package tape. Heat is a concern of course, even if it doesn't catch fire I've got to guess that the adhesive is going to eventually turn into sticky goo. Don't know if that would be a problem on a Rifa, but you'd only be out $13 to try it.

I've got to imagine that in a large production community like S.F. there is a lighting and grip shop that will stock some common gels in rolls for cut-to-length sales...?
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Old January 5th, 2013, 03:15 AM   #4
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Re: Big gels for softbox (rifa 66)

Scotch tape works. Also transfer tape, aka 'snot' tape.
Rental houses also frequently get 4x4 frames returned
with gel on them often in good enough shape for re use.
Hit and miss of course as to what would on them
But you could probably get that a reduced cost or possibly
free.
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Old January 10th, 2013, 01:51 AM   #5
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Re: Big gels for softbox (rifa 66)

I asked at my local film expendable house (JCX in SF) and they were able to cut me any size I needed off of their 48" wide rolls. I got 1/4, 1/2 and full CTB, as well as 1/8 and 1/4 minusgreen and .3+.6 ND's!

They even threw in a cardboard tube from the inside of one roll, which I was able to cut to size to roll up a few big filters inside. It doubles as a core to roll the softbox diffusion panel around, fitting perfectly in the lowel bag for the 66ex.

BTW the size that lowel recommends 26x33" is too big to clip to the cover edge. I found that 26x30" worked better for the 66ex.
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Old January 10th, 2013, 05:26 AM   #6
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Re: Big gels for softbox (rifa 66)

Tom
I've also got a Rifa 66, an older one that would
require a refit in order to take a CFL lamp holder.
Thought about going this route but between the
above costs, the nuisance and fragility of multiple
CFLs (seems that way to me anyway) and the uncertainty
of how much light i would gain, I haven't done it.

My questions to you:
How many and what type of CFLs do you use?
(It seems there are various options both number
and wattage wise.)

Have you compared their output to using the
750 watt tungsten bulb with full blue. I'm assuming
the latter will have fewer lumens but how much so?

Thanks
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Old January 11th, 2013, 04:14 PM   #7
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Re: Big gels for softbox (rifa 66)

I also have a pre ex Riffa 66. I paid for the conversion. I drove to Tiffen's office and they did the conversion while I waited. I'm using 3 80 watt bulbs. That now allows me to turn them off/on individually. I'm also concerned about fragility so I'm also investing in LED lights.

I've just had too many complaints from melting clients and, depending on where you're shooting, there may the fragility of the circuit breaker which will now be replaced with the fragility of CFL bulbs, hence the addition of LED.
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Old January 12th, 2013, 01:02 PM   #8
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Re: Big gels for softbox (rifa 66)

Craig
Curious to know which LEDs you're getting. The only ones I've ever liked
are LITEPanels. I have one by Coollights which is okay but I doubt I'd get
another. I did recently buy a barely used Diva 400 for about half price and I'm
liking that a lot. As I usually work alone, ease of use is important to me.
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Old January 13th, 2013, 04:07 AM   #9
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Re: Big gels for softbox (rifa 66)

Instead of trying to gel the entire front surface, isn't it possible to just gel the light bulb? As long as it's not incandescent, I would think it would be cool enough to work. A 12''x12" gel might be enough to wrap a bulb?
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 02:47 AM   #10
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Re: Big gels for softbox (rifa 66)

I'm currently working on a way to get more then three 26w Kino daylight CFLs into my 66ex, using Westcott 413 4 way adapters into ceramic socket extenders, into the FLO-X3 base. Haven't gotten a setup that I'm completely happy with yet; 3x26w is too dim, but the light quality is much better in the Kino than any other CFL.

I have also tried bigger non-Kinos.

At any rate the light with three smaller CFLs is less than a gelled 750w tungsten...hence the interest in jury rigging more CFLs in. But I wonder if I should just go with a Kinoflo fixture instead of the 66ex for daylight.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 03:00 PM   #11
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Re: Big gels for softbox (rifa 66)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Morrow View Post
I'm currently working on a way to get more then three 26w Kino daylight CFLs into my 66ex...
...At any rate the light with three smaller CFLs is less than a gelled 750w tungsten...hence the interest in jury rigging more CFLs in. But I wonder if I should just go with a Kinoflo fixture instead of the 66ex for daylight.
If you can transport the Kino easily they are an excellent fixture. Seems to me the face of a Diva is about the same or slightly smaller than the face of your Rifa?

For me, I got into Rifa originally because I needed to build a suitcase kit for air travel. No better soft source for a suitcase, IMHO. This was before the EX versions, but I've never updated, I like the easy transport of the tungsten and am willing to pay the price in power, heat, and bulbs. I'm seriously out of step with modern ideas!

I also have a couple of Divas (equivalent videssence product), but the cool Kino is the 4-bank. Horizontally mounted, we're getting into a seriously soft and bright source. Vertically mounted they're a fantastic screen light. I rent them when needed. Of course they are huge and heavy compared to your Rifas, and require beefier support. If they'll make you money and you can easily move them to where you're shooting Kino is an excellent product.

BTW, there are 85w CFLs out there, if they'll fit in your 66ex.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 04:56 PM   #12
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Re: Big gels for softbox (rifa 66)

I'd also try and gel in front of the bulb, if the CFL's don't get to hot. Test this first before doing your shoot. Obviously this won't work for halogen bulbs. Way to hot.

Maybe rig a filter frame inside the box to hold the filter. Again, I don't know how many and what wattage configuration of your light.

The other thing you can do is look for CFL bulbs that match the color balance you are trying to achieve.

Jonathan
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Old January 24th, 2013, 03:19 AM   #13
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Re: Big gels for softbox (rifa 66)

The main filters I use are CFB to convert tungsten to daylight in the rifa, not needed with CFLs. Once I got them cut they work just fine outside the box, although I wish they fit in my standard gel roll.

I'm looking at making a mount out of a baking pan to hold 12 or so 27w CF55 kino daylight CFLs. It's not elegant, but saves me the cost and storage of a true kino straight-tube system, and setup time is similar.
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Old January 24th, 2013, 08:36 AM   #14
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Re: Big gels for softbox (rifa 66)

They're a bit expensive, but Lowel does make a gel kit for their Rifa lights. They're cut perfectly to size, and having used them many times on my Rifa, I can say that they were definitely a worthwhile purchase.

Here's a link to the kit I bought.

Lowel Light Mfg LC 67 Daylight Gel Set for Rifa 66 Light System | Full Compass
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Old January 24th, 2013, 11:09 AM   #15
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Re: Big gels for softbox (rifa 66)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Morrow View Post
The main filters I use are CFB to convert tungsten to daylight in the rifa, not needed with CFLs...
Ah. Wasn't aware that you were tungsten as well as CFL.

Yes, full CTB can really cut down the output something fierce!

I rarely use full CTB - I carry 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4, and try to get away with as little as possible. IIRC, 1/2 is the most frequent choice, followed by 3/4 and 1/4.

Of course getting the light close helps dramatically, too.
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