Black bounce

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Prime, Dec 8, 2002.

  1. Prime

    Prime Member

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    I've read about a technique called "black bounce," wherein a light is bounced off of a black surface. The reflected light is then used to light the image.

    It seems to be a rather rare technique. Has anybody here used it, and if so, could you give some tips for using it? Thanks!
     
  2. carlweese

    carlweese Member

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    I can think of only one reason to do this. You need to add just a little bit of light in a dark situation, and your flash unit at its lowest power setting gives too much light. Bouncing off a black surface would dramatically lower the level, so you could get fill in a situation where the ambient exposure is, say, 1/15th at f/1.4--in color, there's a good chance you'd get a nasty color shift because most "black" material is not really neutral in chroma.
     
  3. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

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    It couldbe that what is meant by the black bounce s that black is relected onto the subject, not light.
    For instance, when doing a portrait or a nude, and you want to accent the edge of the figure, you can literally bounce black onto the subject by placing a black gobo or wall as close to the subject as possible, but just outside of the frame. I've used this technique when doing leg shots for pantyhose ads. It adds some dimension to the form and looks quite nice against a white or gray background. It can also be used for portraits (usually of men) to add more drama and increase that "chiseled features" look.
     
  4. Prime

    Prime Member

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    Thanks for the help. Believe it or not, in the example photo that I saw, the black bounce seemed to change the quality of the light. It looked much more like ambient light than did the light of many of the setups that I've seen. I may look it up again and see if there were more details provided.
     
  5. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

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    If you have a scanner, maybe you could upload the example for the rest of use to see as well.
     
  6. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    A black surface to bounce the light off and produce shadow is called a " gobo", and has the opposite effect to a reflector .
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2016
  7. M Carter

    M Carter Member

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    It's not called "black bounce". It's called "negative fill". In situations where the light is too flat, you put a large black surface to one side, just out of frame. It gives the look of slightly more directional light.
     
  8. CropDusterMan

    CropDusterMan Member

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    Black bounce. Now I've heard everything.
     
  9. samcomet

    samcomet Subscriber

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    Having spent many years as a film lighting technician I can attest to the ideas expressed by some of the respondents to the OP. An unlit "Negative (or anti) Fill" is in fact a technique used to darken the offside of an object/person not being illuminated by a key light, by cutting out any ambient light. If the black surface is also placed at the angle of reflection equal to that of the angle of incidence of the taking lens, a black reflection can be observed in skin tones or other reflective surfaces (ala William Levitt's post). A "lit" black bounce is also useful to reduce the intensity of the bounced light as one of the other posters has opined.

    Not trying to be a pedant here, but just for the record, a gobo, in motion pictures, is actually a solid bit of material (wood or metal) with shapes cut out and lit to project those bright shapes onto a surface. A large gobo (4' x 4') made from wood with random kidney shapes is called a Kookolouris or Kooky (named after its inventor). Smaller gobos, with cloud patterns, window frames, stars and constellations, moons, random patterns etc. and the like, are often used in profile spots that are used in live theatre or for backgrounds in stills etc. etc. Oft times leafy tree limbs are used to project random looking shapes as well or as really sharp shadows to imply sunlight through trees. In fact anything that can project a bright shape from within its own shadow could quite correctly be called a gobo.

    Sorry to go on and on here ......... but what the heck.
    cheers!
    Sam