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Janhavi Asthana

Lighting a small space with a big mirror

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Hello there, I'm an amateur gaffer andI've had this light plan in my head for a while that ive been working on where I'm going to use two M18s pointed at a mirror and then back into the main window of the house. Decided to use a reflective material close to a mirror instead of an actual mirror keeping in mind the danger that comes with using it since the location is very space restricted and is on the second floor(it's heavy, can break etc). Now on the execution stage, I started testing out the materials I am going to use for this project. I tried LEE diffusions 271 which is a mirror sheet that reflects a hard source back but it gave me concentrated hot-spots instead of a clean reflection. Then I tried mirror foil, it had the same characteristics. Now I'm out of ideas as to how I should go about it. I'm pretty sure I'm doing something wrong with the materials but can't figure it out. ūüė쬆Shoot date is extremely close and I dont have a plan B!!!

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Do you want it to be hard light or diffuse. 
 

for a more smooth mirror like effect try Mylar stretched over a frame. Make sure it’s right or it will act like a concave surface. 
 

if you want diffuse reflection use the dull side of tin foil and wrinkle that poop up before flattening our and applying. 

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I like to do reflecting surfaces by applying shiny aluminium tape to one side of a styrofoam or a kapa board. I use the type of insulating tape which is real smooth aluminium with glue added on it. there is also the mylar based aluminium tapes but the real aluminium foil tape has been more handy in my projects and it does not deteriorate in light like the plastic based "aluminium tapes".

dull aluminium foil can be glued to various surfaces, it can be a bit harder than using a tape. Or there is different reflective materials available which can be used. 

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It sounds like the Cine Reflect Lighting System is exactly what you want:  https://www.thelightbridge.com/

Their system uses flat aluminum panels polished in precise amounts to control the exact amount of beam spread.  Putting the panels up in the air and keeping the lights on the ground is one of the main applications of the CRLS system. 

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@Janhavi Asthana

Using a flexible highly reflective material will create a broken pattern, like what you're describing. No different than a shattered mirror. If you want to preserve the light's beam completely like through a mirror, then use a rigid reflective surface. So a solid mirror or HVAC tape over foamcore like Appo said.

Now, if you want to simply reflect the light to distance the source and not necessarily preserve a perfect beam then it becomes more forgiving in materials and their imperfect surfaces. It's pretty simple: The more dull the reflective material, the more spread you will get. Bounce-card white is completely matte and therefore gives the most spread.

My suggestions would be:

1) Home Depot insulation board. There is a matte silver style (wider spread, like 250), and a styrofoam silver style (narrower spread, like opal). Both are $12 a piece for a 4x8. The styrofoam has a white side that makes a great white bounce too.

2) Silver Lame. This is a soft silver (wide spread, like 250) reflector available for production frames. Matthews makes some.

3) Rigid Mirror. This is 100% beam preservation and zero diffusion effect. I've used a the mirror in bathroom to stretch an Astra's beam to reach a better inverse square falloff.

silver2.jpg

silver1.jpg

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