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what size reflector?

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    what size reflector?

    I want to buy one of those 5 in 1 collapsible reflectors (like this:

    I wanted to know what teh most versatile size would be. Does 'bigger=better' apply here?

    my shooting will vary between close quarters indoor shoots and outdoor varying weather shoots.

    Story Tailors

    no one can answer this seemingly simple question? or is this too newbe of me to ask?
    Story Tailors


      it's really a personal preference. anyhting smaller than a 36' incher and you might wish you had bigger, especially if you are using it as a silk. That being said, a 46 incher is great, but ocaasionally a little unwieldy.


        If your talent is one close-up shot, go with the smaller setup. If the shoot is a tight shot with a few, an oblong might do the trick. If you are shooting a medium shot with several subjects separated by some distance... (you get the idea). And if you're out in the wind, good luck!

        Regards, Michael


          I have FlexFills in 36", 48" and 52". I almost always use the 36" because I mostly shoot interviews. If I were using a reflector to provide fill for a 2-shot or wider angle setup, I would use something larger but for me, most of the time, 36" is perfect.


          It's a business first and a creative outlet second.
          G.A.S. destroys lives. Stop buying gear that doesn't make you money.


            You can get Wescott reflectors on Ebay. Just have to watch out for them.
            "Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
            Portfolio of an Entertainment Blogger


              In the case of a "reflector" its size and distance to the subject will determine two factors.

              One is obvious, the quantity of light. The closer you are to the subject, the more light (based upon roughly the inverse square law). The area that is covered is inversely proportionate to the distance so this is a balancing act.

              The second and somewhat less obvious factor is the "character" of the light from the reflector. If the area of the reflector is larger, it will be a softer light, if it is smaller, it will be harder. The surface of the reflector will also determine the degree of "hardness" based upon its character.

              Things like beadboad, checker boards, aluminized mylar, pebble board all attempt to soften the reflected light.

              Now if you go to the other extreme and use a mirror you will have an extremely hard source. Normally, mirrors are used in what is called a double bounce approach, where the mirror's output is bounced a second time off of another surface (or though a silk or similar) before reaching the subject.



                I bought the Fotodiox 40X60 and Love it! Great when you need to bounce light in from a distance, and fine for closer as well. A little hard (at first) to fold up, but great price!


                Best wishes!


                  khmuse - I'm curious about your comment about the surface of the reflector. I've been shopping around for a 5 in 1 reflector and find that some of the silver/gold surfaces have a crinkly look. Do you know what material that is, and does it make much difference with respect to diffusion? Here's an example:



                    Hello Jonathan,

                    I have used these types of reflectors before, but these types tend to be better in static rather than motion projects as they are very sensitive to position and are easily "blown around" by even the slightest air movement (which looks like absolute hell on motion projects). The surface of these types are not as uniformly flat and parallel as would be desired, so you tend to get a bit of a mixed character, mostly soft, with the occasional hard reflection when a wrinkle aligns just right (or wrong as the case may be).

                    If you want to save some money and get better results, try some pebble board attached (spray glued) to a nice stiff piece of plywood. This won't be as portable, but the results will be much more controllable.

                    Oh, and in answer to your question, the material used in these 5-in-1s is a mylar fabric.


                      Thanks khmuse! Sounds like these fabric reflectors might be o.k. in an indoor interview situation, right? I'm looking for something very light and portable for indoor interviews, but I was concerned that some of the reflectors I've seen have this crinkly surface while others seem to have a more uniformly flat surface. From what you've said, even in a locked down interview situation, I'd probably be better off with the more uniform surface...