Hair light - Strip or Round Softbox

Discussion in 'Lighting and Hardware' started by CDAPhoto, Nov 2, 2018.

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Hair light on Boom Stand - Strip or Round Softbox

  1. Strip Softbox w/ grid

    50.0%
  2. Round (Octa, etc...) Softbox w/ grid

    25.0%
  3. Standard round reflector

    25.0%
  1. CDAPhoto

    CDAPhoto TPF Noob!

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    Anyone have a specific preference when using a hair light?

    This poll is for application reasons, these are the two options I am choosing from for a specific reason, that’s why I’m not adding options like a snoot, barn door, or other items to the poll.


     
  2. Fujidave

    Fujidave Blue eyed and Beautiful

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  3. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    It sort of depends on what you're trying to accomplish, I've used a strip, barn doors, standard reflector and snoot. Maybe a little more information on the shot?
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I voted for the standard round reflector...if fitted with a honeycomb grid and one,two, or three layers of mylar diffusion material. And also with a two-way barn door unit added to it. This is my standard hair light. There's a lot of control depending on what degree of grid is used, the size of the reflector, the distance, and the number of diffusion layers used.
     
  5. Cody'sCaptures

    Cody'sCaptures No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A ”standard” round refector with a honeycomb, 2-3 of mylar and, a two way barn door attached to it... That's some standard refector Darrell!!
     
  6. CDAPhoto

    CDAPhoto TPF Noob!

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    I’m shooting a homecoming so is probably what you would imagine repetitive shot nothing overly creative just trying to use the lighting to make it more dynamic band avoid the every day blah look of school photography
     
  7. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I vote for "None of the above". After becoming tired of not finiding what I iiked in a hairlight, I made my own:

    [​IMG]
    It's a standard Speedotron Brownline snoot with a 2" strip cut down the length of it and a soup-tin end (Campbell's Split Pea & Ham IIRC) riveted onto the end. I painted the inside rattle-can white.

    Mounted on an MW311 head:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
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  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    That looks like an MW3U flash head, not an M11...just sayin'...
     
  9. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That's what I said! :p
     
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  10. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Whatever you use should be flexible and quickly adjustable. Multiple shapes and sizes of people moving through, likely not keen on the idea of standing there while you fiddle with lights. I'd follow the advice of others and go with the diffused standard reflector and barn doors.
     
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  11. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I think it would matter less what kind of light, as long as you have the modifier that works best. That's why I voted for the softbox with a grid. Your other choices did not specify a grid. A grid on practically any light would be my choice. Or doors, or snoot, or a homemade slotted snoot, or whatever would cut the spill.
     
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  12. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Let me explain 'why' a standard reflector, diffusion materials, a honeycomb grid, and a barn door set should be in EVERY single studio lighting kit.:

    A grid is a wonderful tool. A grid keeps light going "straight ahead", mostly, and prevents the spread of light. A gridded softbox can be used close to a subject, and because the box has a grid on it, the softbox will light pretty much just the subject, and the light will not spread, and will not reach to even a pretty close-in background wall or background paper. A grid, in effect, causes a rapid fall-off in the light's intensity. There was a time in the 1980's when egg-crate type softbox grids were "new", and it was fashionable to place a person in front of a gelled, colored backdrop, and then to light them with a grid, so that the background stayed dark (meaning the backdrop was NOT lighted by the softbox), and that kept a gel color from being "washed out" by extraneous light hitting the backdrop; extraneous light from the main light maintained the color saturation of the colored, gelled light that was coming from a backdrop light unit that was providing said gelled light. This effect still looks good to me.

    But back to the standard, metal flash reflector bowl. A grid on a standard reflector, like a 5- to 8-inch (or even a 10,11.5,or 16-inch) metal reflector from a studio strobe, works well, but the light tends to still be a slight bit raw, and hot, and when the light is angled in at the subject at shallow angles like 5 to 25 degrees from behind and angling in toward the lens, it can create a very "hot", specular highlight on the cheeks,jaws,neck,etc.. With a gridded light at a softer angle of incidence to the subject and to the lens, the light is not so "hot" and specular. The reason I like to add mylar diffuser material (think gallon milk jug in color and density, but made by Speedotron, clip-on mylar diffuser) is that it allows the light to be placed fairly close-in, so there's not a lot of spread, but it keeps the specularity of the standard reflector's light closer to the specularity level of an umbrella or a softbox.

    A softbox is a soft light modifier, so if you hair-light with a grid-equipped softbox, then the light will match-up pretty well with the main light's softness. So this is why so many people use a strip box or a softbox as their hair light. The only issue is that it has no control over spread angle, and not a lot of adjustment for brightness/specularity. Those are why I prefer using a metal reflector, 11.5 inch, with a grid ( either 10,20, or 35 degrees), and mylar diffuser(s) either 1,or 2,or even 3 diffusers, and a Two-Leaf barn door unit; this allows you to create a LOT of different lights; hair light, rim light, accent light, wide angle, medium angle, tall,skinny, narrow, whatever. You can go from hot,specular,hard light, down to pretty soft light, and can cover 50 degrees to less than 5 degrees of angle, all off of one light unit.

    When you have a standard reflector, and a grid or two, and some diffusion material, you have a HUGE range of lighting capabilities. Add a barn door set, and you can light a zillion things. This is NOT the case with a softbox or a strip-box, which tend to be large, and very limited by comparison, in how their light output can be modified and controlled.
     
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