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Muslin like diff that doesn't waste light?


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Does anyone know of a diffusion material thats something like 250d only with really small perforated holes?

 

I'd love to find a material that can let a little hard light escape and still cast a nice soft light that doesn't need such large source to get an exposure. Bleached muslin and mus died with peach coloring are my favorite soft romantic diffusion materials but they're the lifted Hummer SUV of the diffusion world when it comes to wasting light.

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I use it but usually for different purposes. The muslin I usually make into a softbox kind of source. And it's easy to run power from fixtures on the ceiling and gaff tape it up and use duvetyne

to shape and texture the light. Ultra bounce is good for bringing up ambient/fill but it's not something very directional, at least shapeable I feel.

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The silks and gridcloth are pretty good like that. 1/4 silk, 1/4 silent gridcloth are pretty efficient. Still get softer light(abeit not as soft as through muslin, , but the light loss is reduced.) Usually come in variations of 1/4, 1/2 and Full.

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I don't think there is some magic bullet diffusion material that somehow has more softening but less light loss, the two qualities are connected -- more even spread of light = denser and less light output.

 

Now in terms of using a material that both diffuses and allows some specular light through, some people used to take a razor blade and cut slashes in diffusion frames for that effect -- I seem to recall an old Rosco ad with William Fraker talking about cutting slashes into heavy RoscoLux or something like that, or maybe he was talking about the old days of using tough spun and cutting it into ribbons. You could also use fabrics that allow more specular light to pass through like Quarter Silk or some curtain sheer materials.

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Maybe a trip to a very good fabric store with a sungun will reveal a new fabric/material with exactly the characteristics you describe. Likely or not its how many of the bounce and diffusion materials we use today were discovered.

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I seem to recall an old Rosco ad with William Fraker talking about cutting slashes into heavy RoscoLux or something like that, or maybe he was talking about the old days of using tough spun and cutting it into ribbons. You could also use fabrics that allow more specular light to pass through like Quarter Silk or some curtain sheer materials.

I remember reading of a DP who would use a lamp in front of the diffusion, as well as one behind. So, say he had a 2k pushing through a 8x8 grid, he would then put something small like an 300w fresnel directly in front of the frame and centered. By adjusting the intensities of the two lamps he could achieve his desired soft/hard quality.
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Maybe treating musin with a strong bleach or an acid solution would weaken the fibers/threads/weave enough to allow a natural appearing "hole" pattern to emerge, yet the intact areas of the fabric would still have that soft diffusion look.

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In the UK, the material that is commonly known as muslin in the US is called Calico. What we call Muslin is a very light and open weave fabric of a type that you may have seen used for herbal teabags or mulled wine spices. If you can find something similar, then using various different layers of it might give you the effect you're after.

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Thank you all for the suggestions. I've been bleaching it until it's almost falling apart and that does help. Good ideas to keep in mind though all around.

 

I think I'm going to try taking a china ball lantern and use a heavy duty horse brush to stab as many small holes through it as I can and experiment. As much as I like using conventional equipment, I always like experimenting. There's just something about muslin and the leaking hard light that just makes skin have this kind of eggshell glow. It's also really great I've found when

I need to make people with very dark brown or black skin pop more. The shine brings out their skin much more from what I've been able to gather.

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It's also really great I've found when

I need to make people with very dark brown or black skin pop more. The shine brings out their skin much more from what I've been able to gather.

Generally, dark skin responds better to having light skipped off it from an acute angle, like a 3/4 backlight.

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I'll keep that in mind thank you. Nice photography to Stuart, the exteriors you do remind me of Crewdson's exteriors. Are they stitched long exposures or single shots?

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I'll keep that in mind thank you. Nice photography to Stuart, the exteriors you do remind me of Crewdson's exteriors. Are they stitched long exposures or single shots?

Thanks. They are generally 30 second exposures. Kodak Portra 400

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  • 2 weeks later...

I remember reading of a DP who would use a lamp in front of the diffusion, as well as one behind. So, say he had a 2k pushing through a 8x8 grid, he would then put something small like an 300w fresnel directly in front of the frame and centered. By adjusting the intensities of the two lamps he could achieve his desired soft/hard quality.

 

Interesting idea.

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