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View Full Version : Light Modifyers = Big $$$



StudioCMC
06-22-2007, 02:39 PM
Snoots, Gels, and Barn doors, as well as honeycombs for Strobes.. Why are they so damn expensive?

Besides EBay, does ANYONE have any suggestions to where to buy light modifyers?

Many thanks

Chris

zacker
06-22-2007, 08:52 PM
gels you can get free ..well, sampole packs anyways.. from B&H. Wha type lighting do you use? ever consider DIY modifiers? cardboard tubes will work just as good as plastic for snoots... you can make your own beauty dishes with old pans and tupperware, an easy made modifyer is a nice sized light panel, just make the frame from PVC pipe and use some whit rip stop nylon to shoot through. Do a google search on DIY ringflash or DIY photo.com . I recently made a ringflash but was using my 420ex and it isnt powerfull enough, the frickin thing would have worked sweet had i used a stronger flash! lol

JayVig
06-22-2007, 08:56 PM
Reading all these terms I just learned that lighting is like a whole other world of photography. It has to take 2 lifetimes to learn all of this stuff, it seems.

zacker
06-22-2007, 09:14 PM
naaa jay, once you get the concept, its alot easier to learn but it does take alot of practice...something i dont get to get that much of..

StudioCMC
06-24-2007, 09:02 PM
Jay, it's not another world, its another wallet.. :D

Chris

JayVig
06-24-2007, 09:10 PM
Good point Chris. I think I'm just gonna go ahead and win the $104million PowerBall Jackpot on Wednesday. I figure I might as well just get that over with.

zacker
06-24-2007, 09:42 PM
chris what are you using now? flashes? modifiers?

StudioCMC
06-25-2007, 09:28 AM
I am trying to tool up 2 of my whitelighting Strobes to have some honeycombs and some Gels. In order for me to use these, I need to buy (from whitelighting?) a Barndoor pack that has a slide in tray to hold the 10,20,30,40 degree Honeycombs, or it will allow me to use slide in Gels.

The cradle, lists at $54.95, and the Barndoors are $48.95 each, thus per light I open with $100.00 to modify a single light source, but I STILL need to get the Gels, and the honeycombs. Arrrgh.....

They are super expensive! I was looking for a diffrent source, perhaps an aftermarket place?

As well the Snoot, which would also slip onto the cradle, its $48.95 too..

So I was wondering if anyone knew of any other places to get these sorts of accessorys?

Chris

zacker
06-25-2007, 09:34 AM
whats the front of the light look like? could you modify a cardboard tube to fit it and use that as a snoot? might be able to make a shorter version of it then to hold gels.. as for honeycomb grids.. i have no clue as to go about making one up. but, i did see an interesting article on cutting black straws at about 5mm long and gluing them into a square to shoot through. works like a charm... a can of flat black spray paint and no one will ever know you made it yourself! try here for starters... http://www.flickr.com/groups/funkyinnovations/pool/

StudioCMC
06-25-2007, 10:29 PM
Ill look into this for the snoot, but I would rather have metal parts for the barn doors, these are 1800 Watt strobes, and only after 4 to 8 shots, does it get REALLY hot. I don't want my "Cardboard" light modifyers catching on fire.. LMAO..

Thanks for the DIY tips though there are some cool ideas there!

Chris

epatsellis
06-25-2007, 11:02 PM
Silly question Chris, but how often do you fire them wide open? Even with 3 1600 w/s packs on hand, I often find myself using either the 240 w/s or the 480. honeycombs are easy, you'll laugh, but cut some straws up to 2" long (shorter straw, wider pattern) and start gluing. better yet, find some black coroplast and cut it to different lenghts and use double sided tape.

I have about a dozen soft boxes, still use homemade scrims more often than not. let me know if you need help figuring out the inexpensive way to build them.

Gels are cheap, wicked cheap. go to any music supply store and you'll find frames, barndoors, all kinds of goodies, comparitively inexpensive too.


erie

zacker
06-26-2007, 07:02 AM
Erie... good point on the music stores... I forgot that they also use lighting equipment...lol Im sure retro fitting some stuff isnt too big a problem. Chris, Good call on the barn doors getting hot also... if they get hot you might want metal up there....lol

zacker
06-26-2007, 07:04 AM
erie, I made the cardboard grids for my SB's... work like a charm and all i need to mount them is a rubber band...lol Hey, I aint got a pot to pee in OR a window to throw it out of so anyway i can cut costs, keep shooting and have fun is allways a good thing!

StudioCMC
06-26-2007, 10:07 AM
Erie> Many thanks on the Music Store tip.. "I never would a thunk it!" However in these parts, Music stores of THAT calibur are also a bit hard to find too. But I will look around some.

I don't shoot wide open, I see where your going with that. I am around 250 to 700 at most, But My issue is I shot several shots of the same pose. So that I have all that I need, and then some.

My fear is, When the Strobe cover is in place, and I light up my strobe. I would place my hand on the cover, and dump the capacitor, at a low setting. You can feel that strobe pulse the cover! After 3 shots, the metal cover is warming up quite good, Say 80 to 95 Degrees.

Granted its not suposed to be on there, but it gives me a frame of refrence of how hot and hard the material needs to be. When I bought the strobes they did not include the modifyers. But I was able to work with them. The 30 Degree Honeycomb after perhaps 80 shots, was well above 130 Degrees! We had to wait 20 minutes before we could even touch it to break down the strobe.

Card board, I fear, would be a fire hazard..

I have since found a store in Dallas Texas, that seels these 3rd party barndoors, 4 gells, and a 30 degree honeycomb. all for $21.00! This is also metal, and it can fit a 6" to 8" reflector.

So my mission is now accomplished, the Gels are the next as well as a snoot. But I can also squeeze this with the barn doors too.

Many thanks Erie, for your input, You too Craig! You guys ROCK!

Chris

epatsellis
07-26-2007, 12:06 AM
Chris,
who in dallas? I'm always looking for inexpensive solutions, I'm far from really able to afford this hobby/part time profession, any help stretching the dollars goes a long way.


erie

StudioCMC
07-26-2007, 10:45 AM
Erie>

The guy is located in Dallas TX, this is his e-bay store.

http://stores.ebay.com/PhotoOutlet

You can see he has the Barn door package up too.
Hope this helps..
Chris

nvr2low
07-26-2007, 11:23 AM
i thought i learned 90% of the terms in photography, but damn im lost again. all this talk about snoots and gels, if i didnt know better i would think we are talking about some kids cartoon or something.

StudioCMC
07-26-2007, 11:58 AM
Odd, but after you posted this, I went out to find a catalog of all the diffrent types of Light Modifiers out there..

As crazy as that sounds, I found yet ANOTHER place to buy from!

Anyways, click through the pages (at the bottom) of all the sorts of light accessorys. For an idea what we are talking about.

http://www.photoproonline.com/photoproshop/dept.asp?class_id=112&Page=1

Besides, all you would ever need in your Car photography is perhaps some LARGE softboxes, and some Scrims, to spread out the light. When you shoot people and pose work thats when lighting gets tricky, and you need lots of additional stuff.. Well, not really "need"..more like WANT.. :D

Chris

epatsellis
07-26-2007, 12:44 PM
That guy on ebay rapes on shipping, another source is Tallyn's, they have their own version grid/gel holder for around $50 or 60, and they dont' kill you on shipping. Barndoors are superfluous to my needs.

re: Scrims for automotive photography: Best solution I've found to date is 1" metal electrical conduit frame, sailcloth for the diffusor. For an average size car, I used to use a scrim about 12'x20', positioned about 6-10 feet above the car, with the softboxes or heads appropriately positioned to allow for the reflection in the glass and/or paint to have a decided gradient to it. (always to the top or rear)

For custom cars, I typically had low power kickers in each wheel well, (~ 500 w/s, I typically shot at around F32-45 with a 4x5 or 8x10 camera) along with a full length softbox 7-8' high, parallel to the long axis of the car, approx 8-10 feet away. Fill cards (4x8 sheets of foam core) as needed to bring up the detail in the grill area and give some highlights to the surfaces in the front marker and headlights.

All said and done, would take about 12,000 w/s of lighting and a day or so to light it, all in a studio that we could pull a semi and trailer into comfortably (and light it). Huge difference from the 15' square studio I use now.

erie

nvr2low
07-26-2007, 01:01 PM
That guy on ebay rapes on shipping, another source is Tallyn's, they have their own version grid/gel holder for around $50 or 60, and they dont' kill you on shipping. Barndoors are superfluous to my needs.

re: Scrims for automotive photography: Best solution I've found to date is 1" metal electrical conduit frame, sailcloth for the diffusor. For an average size car, I used to use a scrim about 12'x20', positioned about 6-10 feet above the car, with the softboxes or heads appropriately positioned to allow for the reflection in the glass and/or paint to have a decided gradient to it. (always to the top or rear)

For custom cars, I typically had low power kickers in each wheel well, (~ 500 w/s, I typically shot at around F32-45 with a 4x5 or 8x10 camera) along with a full length softbox 7-8' high, parallel to the long axis of the car, approx 8-10 feet away. Fill cards (4x8 sheets of foam core) as needed to bring up the detail in the grill area and give some highlights to the surfaces in the front marker and headlights.

All said and done, would take about 12,000 w/s of lighting and a day or so to light it, all in a studio that we could pull a semi and trailer into comfortably (and light it). Huge difference from the 15' square studio I use now.

erie

i would love to have a setup like that to play with, i really want to get into lighting for automotive work, just not sure where to start since i have 0 funds to play with right now.

epatsellis
07-26-2007, 01:12 PM
best bet is available light and moderate fill flash, there's at most 5 mins every day, at surise and sunset, where the sky just gets absolutely amazing, color wise. meter the sky, stop down a stop or two to increase saturation, fill flash appropriately, though in this case it'd be a stop or two brighter than the sky.

Cost- $0 with what you already have.


erie

convergent
07-26-2007, 01:21 PM
Chris, from what I've seen, the Alien Bee stuff is priced more to the low end of the scale, so even at what seem like high prices... they aren't bad when compared to other brands of lighting equipment. You can also find Alien Bee stuff used frequently. Alien Bee accessories will fit White Lightening strobes, which I'm sure you already knew.

nvr2low
07-26-2007, 01:50 PM
best bet is available light and moderate fill flash, there's at most 5 mins every day, at surise and sunset, where the sky just gets absolutely amazing, color wise. meter the sky, stop down a stop or two to increase saturation, fill flash appropriately, though in this case it'd be a stop or two brighter than the sky.

Cost- $0 with what you already have.


erie

ive always used apature priority, never thought about doing manual then stoping down and using the flash to fill the light back in. i will have to try that next time and see how it works.

convergent
07-26-2007, 02:08 PM
best bet is available light and moderate fill flash, there's at most 5 mins every day, at surise and sunset, where the sky just gets absolutely amazing, color wise. meter the sky, stop down a stop or two to increase saturation, fill flash appropriately, though in this case it'd be a stop or two brighter than the sky.

Cost- $0 with what you already have.


erie

What is the best way to determine exactly what that time is, and how to position the subject? I don't do a lot of this type shooting and I need to do a couple of shots for a 4x5 poster that will be displayed in a post. They want to do them on the steps of a building somewhere in the area, so I get to pick the time and place. Given that set of requirements, how would you determine the best "set of steps" and the best time to do the shot?

epatsellis
07-26-2007, 02:44 PM
In my opinion, the best bet is west facing, to pick up the colors reflected in the building. Easiest way is to sit outside tonight, about 10-15 mins before sunset, bring a few cold ones and a watch, pen and pencil.

Ideally, look up the civil sunset times, so you have a reference, now watch what happens to the sky in the west and carrying into the north and south. Make notes as to times when it starts to get interesting. (you'll know when you see it). just when you think it's over, keep watching, about 4-10 mins later, the sky explodes in color, for a min or two. dark blue, reddish clouds, etc. The sky almost starts to look dark around this time,

Once you have notes on what times, etc. compare the times to the civil sunset times you had gotten earlier, establish a differential and you now know, within a few mins when that time should be. it varies by location both long. and lat., I'm in the easterly end of the Central time zone, and it's differerent here than an hour east, west, north or south.

The first step in becoming a photographer, as I was told by someone old enough to ahve been my grandfather 30 years ago, is to learn to "see". Not just subjects, but lighting, both natural and artificial.


erie

StudioCMC
07-26-2007, 03:52 PM
For morning shoots, (Summertime) I am on site by 5:00 to 5:30 AM. That prime light is about that time, till 6:00, this is depending on the weather/haze obvoulsy.

For Mikes shoot, I would set the shot up when the building is in full shade of the sun, this drive more blue hue's into the shot. Steer clear of the sun for a group shot. And if possible use a white bounce card(s) to give back some reflective light (from the building) back onto the subjects.

Then again, I don't know what this building looks like.. LOL

Chris

epatsellis
08-03-2007, 07:50 PM
fwiw, if anybody has a hankering for making some diy light modifiers, download http://www.software-cinema.com/tinkertubes/tt-book.pdf and harvest whatever ideas you can from it.


erie

zacker
08-04-2007, 10:04 AM
lol... thanks erie.. i actually have this in my faves file...