Creating a nice feathered spot on background

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by kkamin, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. kkamin

    kkamin TPF Noob!

    Aug 25, 2009
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    I have some questions about how best to control a nice feathered spot on background. Some of these questions are dumb, but I want to make sure I understand this completely, and maybe others have similar questions and could benefit.

    1. I am looking at a snoot for this. I am assuming the honeycomb grid makes the spot harder and feather less? Do they make different grids for snoots, or is it pointless, since the snoot itself is so directional that the grids impact of focusing the light is nominal?

    2. the snoots I've seen look fairly narrow. It seems like even if I back it up from the background 8-10, it still couldn't throw a very large spot, is that true?

    3. I've seen other circular grids that pop on lights with different angle ratings (e.g. 40 degrees, 30 degrees, etc.) I think they are for use with strobe reflectors, right? Or do they fit to barndoors?

    -How do they cast different trajectories (angles), do the more narrow ones have a deeper grid?

    -Could these be used to create a smooth, feather spot?

    4. What if I make a snoot out of black foil? Would that work well?

    Thanks for reading,


  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Jul 23, 2009
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    A snoot is the wrong tool in most cases--the circle of light it throws will be very small in diameter. The snoots with a honeycomb grid are, in my opinion, novelty gimmicks, found mostly in very low-end eBay kits. You either want a snoot, or a grid. If you want to create a nice,feather edge background spot, you can use a parabolic reflector from fairly close, and aimed perfectly parallel. Adding a grid, either a 10,20,or 30 degree grid is a good starting point.

    Snoots are fairly narrow, usually with a 3 inch aperture, and even 8-10 feet from the background, a snoot will project only a tiny spot of light on the background,and will not produce much feathering at the edges.

    Circular grids of various degrees, like 3,10,20,30,35, and so on fit directly into reflectors called "grid reflectors", which have a straight lip area where the grid rides,held in place by a small, flat steel spring. Professional flash systems, like Speedotron, have grids in 7 inch, 11.5 inch, 16 inch, 20 inch and 22 inch diameters and those grids mount DIRECTLY onto the reflector.
    Speedotron Products Accessories
    On smaller flash systems that have straight "bowl-type" reflectors and not "grid reflectors", many brands have some type of adapter system that holds the grid to the reflector--it can be a V-shaped ridge and a wire clamp, a V-shaped ridge and two set-scews, or a barndoors type deal.

    The smaller the degree on a grid, the more straight-ahead and soft the light is. Tight grids like the 3 degree and 10 degree grids cut down on the light output quite a bit, compared with the larger grids like 20 and 35 degree. A big reflector, like a 20 inch with a grid casts a bigger pool of light than an 11.5 inch or a 7 inch with the same degree of a grid.

    If you want a smooth, feathered background spot, a plain reflector in 7 inch size or a little larger, with a mylar diffuser, works pretty well. You can also do it with a grid in the reflector. And yes, you can make a snoot out of CineFoil or regular aluminum foil.
  3. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Oct 26, 2003
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    Brisbane, Australia
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    I haven't the time to properly go have a look but I vaguely remember Strobist featuring a full article on lighting backgrounds. Not sure if they covered this kind of thing

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