texture & how to get close to window light.

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Quinten, Oct 14, 2005.

  1. Quinten

    Quinten Member

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    I am about to buy some light and unless I buy all the availeble tools to put on these lights I can't really figure out what gives which effect.

    1)How to achieve a window light texture of the light? (like on an overcast day etc.)
    I do have some experience with a softbox and found the light way to difuse, you can't really get it into a single direction since the surfcase of the softbox throws the light anywhere creating boring light. The texture is soft though!
    With a reflecting or white umbrella the light looked like direct sunleght, not difuse but harder and to concentrated. How do you get the window light light? (Okay look for a window...:wink: but in other cases?

    2)How do the different heads to place on a strobe effect the light? The honey texture things in all sorts and shapes and barndoors. (BTW are there softboxes with barndoors?)

    Any suggestion would be great!

    have a great weekend!
    Quinten
     
  2. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    I'm no lighting expert, but if lack of direcitonality is an issue with a softbox, is there some way to put the box further away and still get enough light? The further the light is from the subject, the less diffuse the light will seem. Alternately, a smaller softbox might do the job, or even just putting an aperture over the softbox so the light comes through a narrower "window"...

    And if none of this makes sense, then never mind, someone who uses actual studio lighting will be along in a few hours.
     
  3. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    My suggestion, Quinten, is to think about (and duplicate as best you can) the mechanics. A window is an aperture on an otherwise very difuse light source - the sky, a 180° softbox (we'll ignore that one hot spot for the moment). As such, the window creates some directionality to the light, even though it's still "soft". In contrast, the front fabric on a softbox spreads the light in a wide pattern, which also reflects off surrounding surfaces.

    You'll have to experiment to achieve exactly what you're looking for. But, try adding surrounding scrims (e.g. black foamcore) to the softbox to control the spread and the resulting bounce. Then, try the same scrim arrangement when bouncing the strobe off a reflector panel.
     
  4. eumenius

    eumenius Member

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    I don't like strobes, so I work only with halogen hot lights - to create a window light effect, I usually bounce the light from 1 kW lamp off the large oval foldable reflector panel. The light in this case is well directed and resembles the window light - if I use a silver side of the reflector, the light is on a sparky side. Another way to emulate the window is to use a translucent litedisk in front of your lamp - it can be moved closer to model or further, that makes a good difference. In case of hot lights the light spread in this scheme is negligible. I use 120cm round disk for soft but directed light, and 56cm for harsher light.

    Cheers, Zhenya
     
  5. Quinten

    Quinten Member

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    Thanks for the info lads, loads of things one can do with black carton!

    But anyone who knows about the grid patterns you can place over a light source, I am curious on it's effect.

    cheers
     
  6. blaze-on

    blaze-on Member

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    You can add modifiers to softboxes such as grid pattern, circle, shutter blind types. The latter will contain the light some, the circle mask I use for simple portraits to put a round catchlight in the eye, and also narrows the light source. There are also narrow slot or vertical modifiers. You can make your own but have to be careful that they are fire retardant for hot lights, then again, a set of modifiers are relatively cheap for whatever brand of softbox.
     
  7. Bosaiya

    Bosaiya Member

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    Depending on what grid patterns you mean, they are typically used to create a more directional light. The tighter the honeycomb (more gridlines) the tighter the beam / the less spill you get.

    There are also some screens designed to limit the light a bit, I've got one with three sets of screens (blank, one, two, three in steps) to provide graduated light. I never use it, too much trouble - just use flags and nets.

    Then there are gobos designed to project patterns.
     
  8. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    Look up lighttools. they make very expensive fabric grids up to 8 feet square. You can make your own with black foam core but it'd be a pain. The most overlooked type of equipment is often grip equipment. Matthews studio equipment and Americangrip.com
    Also check out
    http://www.chimeralighting.com/products/dspproduct.cfm?prod
     
  9. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    Barndoors can be fabricated with a bit of imagination, or vertical baffles held up with extra light stands much like barndoors work fine with large soft boxes, and can be placed closer or further away from the subject a variety ov effects. I use black velvet material streached on PVC pipe frames for controlling stray strobe light. You have exactly the same problem with hot or Quartz lights etc. I also will use a PVC pipe frame for making large scrims that can be placed between the subject and the soft box, the scrims work wonderfully with umbrellas and and the large vertical cutters. A gobo stand or regular light stand can be used to hold flags, or cutters and scrims, or for what ever you want them to do. Plain Muslin will work with hot or cold lights as a scrim for many light sources. be careful of getting it to close to a hot light as it does burn. Old curtains (shower included) if white or frosted work well. Tule or however you spell it can be found in any fabric store, PVC pipe and elbows at any hardware supply. I do not use cement to hold the joints together so I can take them back apart for storage or for packing to location. Black or white tule makes for different diffusion effects. Sizes of frames are not carved in stone, make them to fit your needs. Gaffers or Duct tape will hold the fabric in place on the pipe frame. Don't leave them for a long time as the adhesive will dry out and you will have a mess.
    A honeycomb device over the front of your Soft box gives a more direct light with far less stray or bounce. The window effect can also easily achieved by bouncing two strobes off a white wall or reflectors made of Muslin on a PVC pipe frame made just for this purpose. part of the light will be lost through the fabric, or you can shoot through it like a scrim.

    Absolutely everything you can do with hot light can be done with strobe light. I guarantee it!....Charlie
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2005
  10. Bosaiya

    Bosaiya Member

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    There's nothing quite like seeing someone walking around shooting handheld with a hot light strapped to their camera and a power cord trailing off into the distance.
     
  11. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    "Absolutely everything you can do with hot light can be done with strobe light. I guarantee it!....Charlie"

    Motion blur?

    Anyway, back to the question. Not much I can add to the excellent answers already given. I have some Lighttools soft grids for my softlights, and they are good for giving some directionality to the light that barndoors don't give, but they aren't all that versatile.

    I share Zhenya's views on the advantages of bouncing. This gives a lot of control. The spot size is important, as is the diffusivity of the material. It's a lot cheaper to have a few different sheets of reflective material tacked to a wooden frame than it is to have different sizes of softboxes with different honeycomb grids. Something like Rosco 'Spun Silver' (3830) can reflect light with a controllable degree of directionality - the silver side is only slightly diffuse.

    Equally well you can mix patches of smooth-ish reflector on a background of a more diffuse reflector. Subtle dappling.

    For shoot-through diffusers you can get opal and frost materials that maintain more of the directionality of the original beam than softer materials like spun and Rolux. Letting them hang with some loose folds can add a little unevenness to the light - but keep it subtle.

    And speaking of 'subtle', when imitating sunlight, subtle hints of colour can be useful. Sometimes I have it a little cold (meaning blue in this case) and sometimes a little warm in comparison to the room fill.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  12. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    After 30 years of replicating windowlight with flashbulbs, strobes, and various forms of hot and cool lights, scrims, dimmers, cookies, gobos, rolux, sears shower curtains and granny's sheers, bits and bobs, gee-gaws and knick knacks, last fall I had the quiet satisfaction of placing an immense window in the north side of the studio I've built.

    With an immense sigh of relief, it seems the best way to simulate windowlight is... with a window. I shoulda done it sooner.
     
  13. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    "Motion Blur" using strobe fill in outdoor ambient light seems to work very well for many photographers. Don Orintz for instance!


    Correctly stated Helen, "Snapshots" ............. Best, Charlie
     
  14. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    Bosaiya,
    Are you familiar with Sylvania's original Sun Gun, and how it was used! Wonder what that long skinny thing trailing behind some Steady Cam operators is? :smile: Charlie
     
  15. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    'Wonder what that long skinny thing trailing behind some Steady Cam operators is?'

    Never mind that, I'm wondering what a Steady Cam operator is. Same as a Steadicam operator, or is it just a generic term I haven't heard because I never bother to listen to Producers?

    Thanks,
    Helen
     
  16. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    Really can't answer your question, at ILM while filming Star Wars the guys were using Steady cam's or Steadicam's if you wish, with 1000 wt. shallow dish reflectors to shoot R2 and 3P0 for matches into Tatooine footage. A Slepper followed them like a puppy wrangeling power lines. Since most of us can't afford to buy one the spelling is of little importance except for nit picking. And IMHO the "nit picking" has very little to do with the original thread line! So lets drop this BS and get back to the thread! Best.........Charlie
     
  17. Bosaiya

    Bosaiya Member

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    Yep! In my case it was Totas trailing behind a Glidecam, but the effect was the same: Hysterical.