View Full Version : DIY diffuser paper

Hans Moleman
11-18-2005, 12:43 PM
anybody know of a good kind of paper or material i could put over my (crude as hell) halogen lights that wont burn up or melt?

11-18-2005, 12:49 PM
I've heard of people using wax paper before. I've never tried it myself, but it's built to withstand heat, so who knows?

11-18-2005, 01:01 PM
I've used wax paper with work lights before. It worked when I needed it. Of course, using something other than a worklight is prefered but that certainly isn't always possible.

11-18-2005, 01:17 PM
Commercial gels (Lee, Rosco)come in sheets and sell for $6 each at the local theatrical supply... If you don't already have wax paper and you can find a dealer nearby, then you might as well get the real thing... This is one area it barely makes sense to DIY unless you're in a pinch and need something right now! Otherwise, it's just silly to save $2 and end up with poor light softening, not to mention a potential fize hazard!

11-18-2005, 07:45 PM
There's white glass-fibre material at your local home-depot which diffuses light okay and doesn't burn.

11-18-2005, 07:54 PM
If you insist on not using commercial diffusion material, then an alternative that I have seen work fairly well is a shower curtain. Pick one that is basically devoid of color and has the amount of diffusion that you are looking for. Can't vouch for how tolerant this will be to high temperatures, so either space it a decent distance away from the face of the fixture, or since the material is cheap enough, live with the shorter life expectency.

11-18-2005, 11:49 PM
Wax paper? Shower curtains? Over a worklight? Are you all crazy? You can cook the crew's lunch with a worklight. I doubt either would last through the scene.

Hans Moleman
11-19-2005, 07:56 AM
well, i held a lighter under some wax paper to simulate the workilights, and the stuff cooked like an egg. any other ideas?

11-19-2005, 08:12 AM
I have used materials (like the shower curtain idea) but you can't put it directly in front of an open face fixture (like a work light). The proper approach is to put it a distance away, supported by a different device (like a gobo arm of a C-stand). Then the energy of the lamp is spread across a bigger area (and hence lower in density). This is true for these sorts of "ghetto" approaches as well as for when you use proper grip equipment. You should never put anything too close to a lamp face, not only for the consideration of the life of the diffuser material, but more importantly, it won't provide the same quality of light.

Consider that the light is being used to illuminate the diffuser and the diffuser is being used to illuminate your subject. If you have a lamp with a 6" face, then your light source emanates from this small area. Now if this same 6" light beam is allowed to spread to something like 2' feet in diameter, which is used to illuminate a diffuser of adequate size, you now have a 2' source diameter on your subject. The later provides a much different quality of light than a smaller source. Keep in mind that the admittance angle is a big aspect of the characteriscits of an illumination source, especially when lighting people.

11-19-2005, 09:03 AM
I've heard of using parchment paper. It's good up to 451 degrees (the temp at which paper burns) and is used in oven baking. Just don't put it right on the face of the light. I've also heard of using white fabric and PVC pipe to build larger diffuser flags that can be put like 2 feet in front of the light rather than connected to it.