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Old November 2nd, 2016, 10:56 AM   #1
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The value of Cinefoil

Value for the dollar wise this may be the best post I have ever made here.

I was setting up a multi light shoot the other day and had Cinefoil on all four lights. Not unusual for me at all. For each purpose it was serving I have the hardware equivalent of that tool in my grip kit but I still chose the Cinefoil.

I realized that when I hire assistants these days they are less and less familiar with it. I suspect this is the case because there is so many self taught video shooters out there they were never introduced to this amazing tool. It is one of the most valuable and least expensive assets in my lighting kit. I canít work without it.

What is it? It is a very heavy gage, flat black aluminum foil that comes in a roll. It is heavy enough to be used over and over again. A single roll of it can last a very long time. It is basically $500.00 worth of lighting control hardware in a twenty five dollar box.

What can you do with it? I use it for barn doors, snoots, flags, textures, background patterns and much more. You are limited only by your imagination. One roll will provide all of those tools for all of your fixtures for twenty bucks! And sometimes it works better than its hardware equivalent.

Take a snoot for example. It directs your light into a round circle, thatís it. If you make your snoot out of Cinefoil it is infinitely adjustable. You can shape it, bend it, restrict it, and control it. It does not have to be just a round spot.

It makes the ultimate barn doors. Your light control is not limited by the size and shape of your doors, you make them the size and shape you need them to be.

FlagsÖ..How small or big do you needs them to be? You make them to be whatever you need.

Scrims, Gobos & textures: I cut holes in it to block light or create patterns and subtle textures or gobos.

I cut background patterns in it and combine it with colored party gels for infinite background designs.

Tungsten or LED, it works for both. If you have gone LED and not yet spent hundreds of dollars to turn your light kit into a complete system a roll of Cinefoil is a great place to start. I have the hardware tools in my kit and I still use a lot of Cinefoil.

You canít substitute heavy duty aluminum foil in itís place. It is .002 in/50 microns thick and its matt black. That is heavier than any cooking foil I have ever seen. That is also what makes it so malleable and reusable.

Much of the time the Cinefoil is held in place by a .03 cent clothespin (C47). I also use those black metal paper binders with the chrome spreaders. Thatís it, thatís all you need to get started.

Any light fixture is nothing but a light source. It is what we do with that source that is important. It is our job to control it, shape it, adjust it and make it do what we need it to do. The art of lighting lies in light control, not the light source.

If you do not have a roll of Cinefoil in your light kit I think it is more than well worth considering. I really believe there is $500.00 worth of hardware devices in every box.

It comes in assorted sizes:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ..._Cinefoil.html

Kind Regards,

Steve
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Old November 2nd, 2016, 05:29 PM   #2
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Re: The value of Cinefoil

Steve ,

I don't know Cinefoil by name , but is it basically aluminium foil , not unlike the stuff we might use for cooking ?

I'm quite used to using colour correction gel or diffusion scrim on my redheads ( which already have barn doors ) but haven't tried this .

However , I will experiment with it - if what I suggest is similar !
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Old November 2nd, 2016, 11:36 PM   #3
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Re: The value of Cinefoil

Hi Derek,

It comes on a roll like cooking foil but the similarity stops there. It is a lot thicker and more heavy duty than even the extra weight cooking foil. That is why you can bend it into any shape you want and it stays that way. That is also why you can reuse it so many times.

But most importantly it has a mat black coating so it does not reflect light, it absorbs it. If you tried to use shiny foil in place of this it would reflect uneven hot spots of light all over the place.

Kind Regards,

Steve
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Old November 4th, 2016, 05:16 PM   #4
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Re: The value of Cinefoil

Cinefoil yes! Accept no substitutes.

I think the self-taught generally have missed being exposed to most of the world of expendables. Gels are only the start! Seamless, lumber, foam-cor, black foam-cor, masonite, plywood, 2x4s, spike tape, black gaff, green gaff, cam tape, opal, tracing paper, duve, dulling spray, 77 adhesive, streaks & tips, powder, trick cord... All that stuff that comes with a decent grip truck rental, but is incredibly useful on smaller shoots too, if you know how to use it!
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Old November 4th, 2016, 05:20 PM   #5
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Re: The value of Cinefoil

OK, my low-cost but so-useful tip:

Baker's Parchment.

It's pretty color neutral, and can soften up a little tungsten fixture no problem. It won't catch fire. It's available in the supermarket, but, a restaurant supply has bigger sheets/rolls. It's cheap. Expendable!
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Old November 4th, 2016, 06:14 PM   #6
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Re: The value of Cinefoil

Why use gaffer's tape at $15/roll when you could use duct tape for $2/roll? Well, once you've used gaff tape you'll never use anything else again, in fact you'll be rigging stuff in your house with gaff. You'll ban duct from your sets after you have to pull it off carpet.

Cinefoil, same idea. Why on earth buy a $25 roll of cinefoil when you could buy a $5 roll of aluminum foil that's 5x as long... man, that cinefoil is great stuff. Once you use it, you'll never be back in the baking aisle.
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Old November 4th, 2016, 09:22 PM   #7
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Re: The value of Cinefoil

Also known as BlackWrap. Accept no substitutes, there is a roll in my travel kit and my home kit. I've used it for everything outlined in the original post, great stuff.

I also agree, there is an entire generation of "video shooting people" (I hesitate to call them filmmakers) who have little to no exposure to common video/film tools. Like a C-stand or a Flexfill. One way to get a lot of entertainment value is when you are one man banding it and the producer/interviewer/sound mixer asks if they can help you, ask them to break down your C-stands, you'll get some pretty good laughs out of it. For maximum entertainment, I have offered clients, producer and PAs $20.00 cash if they could fold down and collapse my Westcott 4x6 greenscreen, it's like a Flexfill but rectangular and a lot larger. I have never had to pay up. Not once. It's not hard at all to fold up but there is only one way to do it and if you don't know it and cannot figure it out, you'll struggle with it for half an hour.
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Old November 5th, 2016, 09:10 AM   #8
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Re: The value of Cinefoil

Blackwrap is the more common name in the British Isles.
Very useful stuff...
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Old November 5th, 2016, 10:56 AM   #9
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Re: The value of Cinefoil

For the record I meant no disrespect to anyone, this is not a snarky post, been called that before, just sayin..... However I am glad some other veterans are chiming in and having fun with it.

My favorite "dulling spray" is whatever the cheapest can of hair spay I can find at Walgreens is.

Ironically Seth actually missed something: Plexiglas. Spray painted the color of your choice. Then used paint side down to set an object on and get the mirror reflection you want.

Funtack is also in my kit. Its sticks like bubblegum but comes off clean from every surface.

I once interviewed a doctor sitting at a classic very expensive wooden desk with walls to match. It was perfect and gorgeous for the wide shot. Problem was one of my Rifa soft boxes was glaring on the wooden wall. A few strategicaly placed stips of Cinefoil and the hot spot turned into a reflection of a perfect pained window frame that was not there. And of course the light coming from the "window" was perfectly natutural.

Kind Regards,

Steve
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Last edited by Steven Digges; November 5th, 2016 at 11:51 AM.
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Old November 6th, 2016, 10:15 AM   #10
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Re: The value of Cinefoil

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Digges View Post
...My favorite "dulling spray" is whatever the cheapest can of hair spay I can find at Walgreens is.

Ironically Seth actually missed something: Plexiglas. Spray painted the color of your choice. Then used paint side down to set an object on and get the mirror reflection you want.

Funtack is also in my kit...
Great methods! I myself haven't used Plex in years, but it's absolutely a necessity on commercial / product shoots.

Back when I was coming up, the studio's DP only worked with a single sheet of translucent Plex, lit from underneath with party gels or white. It could be lit broad to change the color, or, lit spot to create a nice-looking hotspot under a product. As subtle or obvious as you want, a very nice practical effect.

Which reminds me; that era was pretty exclusive. There weren't very many people employed pre-DV. That DP was also the day crew chief, and the union shop steward. Us young pups held him in awe. Today's self-taught never have the opportunity to learn from veterans. It was a different era, though I'm sure it still exists in many production centers. Now we don't need no stinkin' centers with multimillion dollar capital investments to make film or TV. Something is lost, but a lot is gained. Today's self-taught become tomorrow's teachers.
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Old November 6th, 2016, 04:19 PM   #11
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Re: The value of Cinefoil

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
Also known as BlackWrap. Accept no substitutes, there is a roll in my travel kit and my home kit. I've used it for everything outlined in the original post, great stuff.

I also agree, there is an entire generation of "video shooting people" (I hesitate to call them filmmakers) who have little to no exposure to common video/film tools. Like a C-stand or a Flexfill. One way to get a lot of entertainment value is when you are one man banding it and the producer/interviewer/sound mixer asks if they can help you, ask them to break down your C-stands, you'll get some pretty good laughs out of it. For maximum entertainment, I have offered clients, producer and PAs $20.00 cash if they could fold down and collapse my Westcott 4x6 greenscreen, it's like a Flexfill but rectangular and a lot larger. I have never had to pay up. Not once. It's not hard at all to fold up but there is only one way to do it and if you don't know it and cannot figure it out, you'll struggle with it for half an hour.
I think some of the difficulty here might just be terminology on the two sides of the pond - what you call a Flexfill , I would call a Lastolite , or just a reflector : I have both circular and rectangular ones ( with rounded corners ) ; some are backgrounds rather than reflectors , but yes they can be fun to fold until you get the knack .
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Old November 6th, 2016, 04:25 PM   #12
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Re: The value of Cinefoil

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Digges View Post
For the record I meant no disrespect to anyone, this is not a snarky post, been called that before, just sayin..... However I am glad some other veterans are chiming in and having fun with it.

My favorite "dulling spray" is whatever the cheapest can of hair spay I can find at Walgreens is.

Ironically Seth actually missed something: Plexiglas. Spray painted the color of your choice. Then used paint side down to set an object on and get the mirror reflection you want.

Funtack is also in my kit. Its sticks like bubblegum but comes off clean from every surface.

I once interviewed a doctor sitting at a classic very expensive wooden desk with walls to match. It was perfect and gorgeous for the wide shot. Problem was one of my Rifa soft boxes was glaring on the wooden wall. A few strategicaly placed stips of Cinefoil and the hot spot turned into a reflection of a perfect pained window frame that was not there. And of course the light coming from the "window" was perfectly natutural.

Kind Regards,

Steve
Plexiglas would be Perspex or Acrylic over here ; I suspect that what you call Funtack is what we would call Blu-tak .
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Old November 7th, 2016, 07:20 AM   #13
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Re: The value of Cinefoil

Thanks for clarifying Derick. Terminology not only changes geographically but also by industry. Over here on a video set Cinefoil is sometimes called blackwrap too. On an AV set or theater black wrap is thin black cloth known as duvotine or often called duv. It used to hide anything but most often used to cover up sticks of truss.

Steve
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Old November 7th, 2016, 11:23 AM   #14
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Re: The value of Cinefoil

Aside from being silver, aluminum foil could work for very short pieces, but with any size at all, it will droop and deform - especially when hot. Cinefoil is amazingly sturdy and stable, by comparison - as well as being flat black. Great stuff.
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Old November 9th, 2016, 12:40 PM   #15
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Re: The value of Cinefoil

My key grip tends to prefer Arid Extra Dry over the more expensive legitimate dulling spray, so that's a nice way to save money and get a better result!
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