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    what diffusion material for a DIY softbox?
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    I want to build a simple continuous light softbox for an art installation. Seems like the basics are easy: light sockets, high-CRI CFLs, wiring, a reflective box (aluminum foil?), and some kind of diffusion material. It's this last part I'm looking for input on. Seems like some people use simple cloth from the fabric store but I was hoping for something a bit better. I was looking at the Rosco filters and wasn't sure what to pick. What would people suggest?

    I was thinking maybe Rosco #116 Tough White Diffusion 24" x 25' (I don't need that much, but I need it to be at least 30" in one direction).

    thx


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    Senior Member legrevedotcom's Avatar
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    We build a lot of these for our still photography studio. We used roll diffusion and the frames are made from wooden rails. The contruction itself is just under 4' wide and how ever tall you want it to be.

    It can definately be done better, but here they never leave the studio or even the setup area, so they work decently. If you want more diffusion you can just add another sleeve of filter over the other.

    20120326_111110.jpg

    If it was my personal studio I would spend the extra money and make the frame from aluminium modular frames instead. More sturdy and look better.


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    why not just get a cheap photo umbrella? I think you can find those for like $5. A simple continus light with umbrella holder like another $7
    http://www.amazon.com/Professional-P...2755362&sr=1-6
    http://www.amazon.com/Adorama-Socket...2755565&sr=1-8

    Of course, you could buy a simple "reflector disc pack" $10... you know those 5 in 1 type. And one of the discs it'll come with is a semi transparent white, which you can mount in front of a light and get a softbox like effect. Its light and easy to transport. Also comes with a silver and gold... you could go as far as to use it behind your lights, reflecting even more light forward.

    Also, in the past, we used some cheap Plexiglas... frosted 1 side. You can cut that to fit your needs, add mounting holes, and it gives a nice softbox effect.

    IMOP, its cheaper just to buy these items... along with a simple $12 light stand, and you have a softbox kit light for under $30. It'll all fold up fast and is easy to transport.
    Last edited by daihard; 03-26-2012 at 03:09 AM.


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    If this box is for display purposes you might want to look at opal or "opalized" glass. It is readily available at most any glass company. White plexi sheet will also work.
    You might want to brouse a cfrafts store such as HobbyLobby, who has a lot of frame making material. A deep "shadow-box" frame with a 1/16" white plexi glass would make a fine piece.
    Last edited by kennedymax; 03-26-2012 at 07:01 AM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by kennedymax View Post
    If this box is for display purposes you might want to look at opal or "opalized" glass. It is readily available at most any glass company. White plexi sheet will also work.
    You might want to brouse a cfrafts store such as HobbyLobby, who has a lot of frame making material. A deep "shadow-box" frame with a 1/16" white plexi glass would make a fine piece.
    oh nice, so plexi will do just as well for diffusion? yes that would make a good looking setup. this light will be illumninating viewers of wall-mounted screen-based artwork in a specific way so that face tracking algorithms can see them accurately.

    for that reason, umbrellas won't work for me. this will be a wall-mounted fixture and the space is tight.

    is there any advantage to the rosco diffusion material over plexi or opal glass or even ripstop nylon? is it better at softening?


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    Senior Member David W. Jones's Avatar
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    Are you even sure you will need diffusion?
    Most CFL lights are very soft to begin with.
    David W. Jones
    www.joneshdfilms.com


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    So much of what you are doing is subjective. I would suggest testing your options. White plexi will most likely give you maximum diffusion. Doubling up any filtration will increase the effect. If you are planning several of these units it might be advisable to test different combinations, simplify and zero in on what you're looking for. None of the diffusion materials is very costly so it might be worth the investment to come up with a good solution.
    Good luck.
    Ken


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    Senior Member RyanT's Avatar
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    Just a quick overview of diffusion materials that are available to you....

    129, 216, 1000H, Full Grid - All of these are very heavy diffusion materials. Really soft shadow.
    250, 251, 1/2 Soft Frost, 1/4 Grid - Medium Diffusion, they'll soften things quite a bit, but you'll still have an edge to it.
    252, Opal, Hi-lite, Hampshire - Light diffusion, definitely still have an edge to it, but takes the harshness away.

    Of course this all depends on how close the light is to the subject, so this is all just talking about the density of the diffusion.

    I compared a bunch of these diffusions and took pictures a while ago, take a look. This should really help you figure out what you should get based off of how soft you want it to be.
    http://rtcinematography.tumblr.com/p...sion-test-pt-1


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