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Old August 25th, 2014, 11:06 AM   #1
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what is your favorite diffusion?

this forum often discusses which light is "best" but i'd rather create another conversation.

what is your favorite diffusion?

what lighting instrument do you use with that diffusion?

what about that combo works for you?

2nd favorite?

i look forward to reading what others discuss.

(and pix are always welcomed!)

thanks in advance.

be well.

rob
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Old August 25th, 2014, 11:32 AM   #2
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Re: what is your favorite diffusion?

Just as with lighting instruments, one size of diffusion doesn't fit all. If I'm looking to create a fairly hard light but just want to take the curse off it a pinch, opal works great; if I'm looking for a super-smooth soft light, 216 may be just the thing.

The basic package I spec for all jobs will include:
Opal
250
216
Quarter grid
Full grid

and if it's a more comprehensive job:
Hampshire frost
251
Light grid
Half soft frost

If I had to pick one, gun to head, it might be 250, since it is light enough to provide good transmission but could be doubled up to become something like 216.

Although I'm still waiting for
to come to market, which will definitely become my one go-to type of diffusion!!
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Old August 26th, 2014, 10:04 AM   #3
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Re: what is your favorite diffusion?

Great advice as always Sir Charles.

+1

The only other thing I *might* add is linear diffusion like Lee 228 "brushed silk."

Check out this URL for more info.

Wide Range of Diffusion Filters in a Range of Densities
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Old August 26th, 2014, 03:05 PM   #4
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Re: what is your favorite diffusion?

jacques-

funny you posted that link.

it was that very website that got me thinking about which diffusion i really liked and thus the posted question!

be well.

rob
smalltalk productions/nyc
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Old September 16th, 2014, 10:04 PM   #5
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Re: what is your favorite diffusion?

while I love to skin 4x4 frames with opal and 216. I will always take a roll of Spun with me into a quite sit down CEO interview corporate affair. Small offices that have non controllable AC duck works will most certainly kick on during the interview and sometimes cause the gels to rattle. Spun makes no noise. and packs up into smaller side pockets.
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Old September 19th, 2014, 06:53 AM   #6
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Re: what is your favorite diffusion?

3029 Silent Frost is also good where noise is a problem and heavy diffusion is required. It works best held in a frame.
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Old September 21st, 2014, 03:55 AM   #7
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Re: what is your favorite diffusion?

I carry 4x4s skinned in 216, 250 and 251 (though I rarely use the 251), but I much prefer the shadow quality and wrapping effect you get from grid cloth.

Silent Light Grid is probably my favourite all-rounder because it doesn't eat up quite as much stop as Full Grid, but still gives you gorgeous wrap around a subject's face.

I also have a Lastolite 2m x 2m Skylite Rapid frame which I love for the speed of setup. However it doesn't take standard rags unless you customise them. One of the diffusion fabrics that Lastolite supply for it is called "1.25 Stop Diffuser" (sexy moniker isn't it?), but obvious name aside, it's a beautiful diffusion, and offers a lovely lustrous wrap on skintones - it's become my go-to key light (with a Remote Phosphor or Kino softlight behind it).
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Old September 21st, 2014, 04:24 AM   #8
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Re: what is your favorite diffusion?

Mark:

I see you refer several times to the wrapping effect of different diffusions. Given a scenario where a frame is filled (i.e. the luminance is relatively consistent all across the surface of the diffusion), would you not agree that at that point, wrapping is mostly a function of the relative size of the source to the subject, which is a combination of both the physical dimensions of the source and its proximity to the subject? I generally think of 216 and full grid as being pretty similar in terms of their effect as they both can provide a uniformly filled source, but if I want a notably soft wrap, I'll make sure I'm using a sizable source, often with double diffusion involved.
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Old September 21st, 2014, 11:04 AM   #9
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Re: what is your favorite diffusion?

Hey Charles,

Not sure if I’m confusing terminology here (I’ve never had anyone to tell me otherwise) but when I talk about ‘wrapping’ I mean the ability of a particular diffusion to reduce the ‘sourceiness’ of a light across a face (i.e. soften the shadows cast across people’s faces by their noses, the ridges of their lips, cheekbones etc.).

Should I perhaps refer to that as “shadow quality” instead?

I agree that the size of the source relative to the subject is absolutely a key component, but in my (admittedly limited) testing I’ve found the diffusion material used can have a huge impact on how smoothly the light will wrap around a person’s features when it’s coming from an angle.

When I compared a 6x6 frame of Half Silk to Silent Half Grid (at about 45 degrees to the talent) I found they were pretty much equivalent in terms of light transmission/exposure, but the Half Grid wrapped much more smoothly around the face, the shadow cast by the talent’s nose in particular was much more defined with the Half Silk than it was with the Half Grid, which tapered off very smoothly.

Similarly, I’ve found that the wrapping effect I get from a 4x4 frame of 216 (whilst nice) doesn’t seem to wrap quite as far around the face as a 4x4 frame of Full Grid from the same position. This was particularly noticeable for a dining table scene where I had to toplight the characters sitting around the table through a 4x4 boomed overhead, with 216 the lighting felt very ’toppy’ but when I switched out the 216 for Silent Full Grid, I ended up with a much nicer wrap down the lengths of people’s faces.

I’m still very new to all this, as I’ve only really learnt how to light things properly in the past 12-18 months (thanks in no small part to some of your awesome posts about K&P!), but the low budget nature of most of the work I’m doing at the moment (mostly indie narrative), combined with my own stubborn insistence on beautiful lighting has forced me to get up to speed on lumen-efficient beauty lighting pretty quickly.

For beautiful, wrapping, feather-light shadows though I much prefer to bounce light off a big umbrella and back through a larger frame of diff, than double diffusing a direct source (I find that using umbrellas rather than creating a conventional book light is much more efficient lumen-wise - lets me get away with using smaller fixtures).
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Old September 21st, 2014, 12:17 PM   #10
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Re: what is your favorite diffusion?

Hi Mark:

Yes, some of this does have to do with nomenclature. I define wrap more as the distance that the light travels on a subject, so given a traditional interview type setup with the source at 45 degrees as you mentioned, how far across the face does the source travel? I think we can agree that if a given frame isn't fully filled by a source, then by definition it will have less wrap (i.e. a 4x4 frame will become a 3x3 or 2x2 source), so obviously this will mean harder shadows and less wrap. So the baseline for discussion starts with a fully filled frame, at exactly the same transmission (reflected meter pointed at the source reading the same with uniform levels from edge to edge), and then the question is, does a given diffusion deliver a different quality of light than the next under those conditions. Not having done specific tests on this, my gut tells me that the difference is negligible at best.

Once you start extending the width of the source, the light will travel (wrap) further around the subject, which will fill in shadows and become softer. Again, I'm sure we'll agree that two 4x4 frames next to each other will make a substantially softer and more wrappy source. And generally we'll need another instrument, one for each frame. But here's an interesting wrinkle (so to speak): what if we used a lighter diffusion, so that the frames weren't properly filled edge to edge, but still a 4x8 source? Would it be wrappier than a 4x4 frame completely filled? By definition, the light must travel further and the shadows will be more filled with the 8x8 source, but there is a different quality to harder light, so it won't read the same on the face, particularly on the far edge where the dropoff to shadow will be more severe.

Another variation of this would be to go ahead and fill the two frames with your fave diffusion, but have the two lights at different intensities. Below is a still frame from a commercial I did where I had two book lights adjoining each other, making a 4x8 source, but I had the one on the left a stop or more hotter than the one on the right. The result is still a single source in the eyes, but as you can see the light appears to fall off across the face in a way that wouldn't happen with a smaller source, or one that had consistent output from side to side. What kind of diffusion did I use? Couldn't tell you, this was a year and a half ago and it was one of many, many setups that day.

That all got a little academic! Hope you were bearing with me.

On the scenario you described with the toplight--my instinct is to believe that the lighting instrument was close enough to the diffusion that the 216 wasn't able to create a smooth field, that it was a little center-hot, and that the full grid was, but probably with less transmission. But you have me intrigued, and I am going to see if I can sneak in a little lighting test with my guys on set this week, a shoot-off betwixt full grid and 216 if you will! If I do so, I'll make sure to provide stills.
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Old September 21st, 2014, 10:28 PM   #11
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Re: what is your favorite diffusion?

No, that all makes sense. I'll be very keen to see the results of your 216/Full Grid shoot-off!

That dual-book-light result is lovely! I was chasing something similar with a shot on a period drama I just wrapped. It was a scene out in the courtyard of a mansion and the key was a 2K coming through a 4x4 of 216 from one of the windows to the side of the actors, but that was a bit side-y, so to wrap things around more I had a 2m x 2m frame adjacent to the window with a 160w remote phosphor soft light behind it, and that wrapped things around nicely with the appearance of a single source and a strong but smooth falloff into darkness.

I really like the effect, I think I'll try using it more often.
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Old October 8th, 2014, 10:59 AM   #12
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Re: what is your favorite diffusion?

Any luck with that 216/Grid comparison Charles?
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Old October 8th, 2014, 12:21 PM   #13
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Re: what is your favorite diffusion?

Oh yeah! Thanks for the reminder. There was one afternoon on set where we could have pulled it off but I remembered too late. I'll try!
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Old October 9th, 2014, 10:06 AM   #14
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Re: what is your favorite diffusion?

I have to agree with Charles. There are dozens, maybe even into the hundreds of different types of diffusion. It all depends on your fixture, application, distance, etc.

I typically use Source Fours for fixtures as I like the 3200K color temperature for indoor stuff. I use R119 and R132 for many of my applications. When lighting something over a large area with many fixtures such as boxing or cage fighting I use R102.


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Old October 9th, 2014, 01:55 PM   #15
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Re: what is your favorite diffusion?

Not to hijack this thread,

But are you the Brian Berg who was the LD for Lyle Lovette?

Remember me from the ol' Pirate Days?
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