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Muslin diffusion


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#1 Alberto Larios-Saavedra

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 12:37 AM

I might do some tests with Muslin diffusion and I have a few questions:
1. If a throw a light through it (2k) what's the safest distance to be placed near the light?
2. Is there a big difference in color between regular muslin and bleached?

Thanks,
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 06:52 AM

I might do some tests with Muslin diffusion and I have a few questions:
1. If a throw a light through it (2k) what's the safest distance to be placed near the light?
2. Is there a big difference in color between regular muslin and bleached?

Thanks,


1. Certainly not on the barn doors. A foot or two away should be fine, but keep an eye on it.

2. Yes, there is a noticeable difference. Bleached muslin transmits white light. Unbleached has a noticeable warming effect (that is quite pleasant if you want that sort of thing, actually.)
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#3 Andy Sparaco SOC

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 08:45 AM

Muslin as a difuser is a terrible waste of light. especially when using 2k's 1k's. You are better off using spun glass or opal or any of the other difusers made by Lee or Rosco. You can also attach them to the barn doors which is more convenient and reduces stands. Tracing or drafting paper in large rolls is also a good diffuser and can be cut, shaped and slit for effect.

Edited by asparaco, 04 December 2005 - 11:24 AM.

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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 11:37 AM

I've lit faces with a 2K through a 4'x4' frame of Muslin many times; you get about an f/2.8 at 400 ASA if the frame is about three feet from the face or so and the 2K fills the frame from behind.

Muslin is odd because it can create a super soft light sometimes, but other times, I feel like the hard light is leaking through the weave of the Muslin, creating a very faint hard light mixed in (which can be nice too.) But there is nothing much softer for a close-up than a 5K through two frames of Muslin...

Unbleached Muslin is just slightly warmer, like adding less than a 1/4 CTS to a light.

I tend to prefer to use frames of Grid Cloth and Light Grid Cloth instead of Muslin because I think it is a more even distributor of light, is more light efficient, and I can switch the strengths (usually when I want to go lighter than Light Grid, I go to 216, then 250, etc. -- but they also make Quarter Grid.)

But there's nothing wrong with the effect of using Muslin on frames and shining lights through it. Conrad Hall was fond of doing that.

I don't generally use diffusion right on the barn doors of the key light because the effect is not particularly soft, but I'm not sure that there's a heat / fire problem with muslin on barndoors -- but since I don't know for sure, don't assume there's no problem.

Edited by David Mullen, 04 December 2005 - 11:38 AM.

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#5 Chris Keth

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 01:06 PM

I don't generally use diffusion right on the barn doors of the key light because the effect is not particularly soft, but I'm not sure that there's a heat / fire problem with muslin on barndoors -- but since I don't know for sure, don't assume there's no problem.



There is often a great problem, since quite a lot of muslins aren't fire-retarded like most other fabrics. I don't know why.

One of the secrets to using bleached muslin, if you do it yourself, is to bleach the hell out of it. Bleach it until it's almost-falling-apart-fragile. Then it will look the best and transmit the most light.

David's absolutely right, it's a beautiful look but not the most light-efficient. It's definately worth carrying around, should you want to use it.
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#6 Michael Nash

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 11:02 PM

Muslin is a pretty poor diffuser most of the time, but it's interesting because it's one of the few materials commonly found on the truck that can be used both as a diffuser AND a bounce material. Silks qualify in that regard as well.

Not to get off topic, but lately I've become all too conscious of the notion that whatever tool you may feel is best for a given task, you still have to know how to use ALL of them since you may not have the luxury of getting your favorite toy.

"Give me a 12x12' light grid" -- "Sorry, we don't have that, we've got bleached mus instead."

Doesn't matter if it's grip gear, lights, cameras, film stocks, whatever; you sometimes end up having to work with tools that would be your second or third choice, and you'd better be able to make it work... ;)
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#7 fstop

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 02:44 AM

Re: barndoors-

there are many places you can buy muslin wholesale and they'll fireproof for an added price. Unfortunately, it seems every form of coloured muslin bar plain white comes pre-fireproofed, certainly around here anyway.
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#8 Travis Cline

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 02:20 PM

I have to say that I personally love using muslin. For many instances a 6'x6' Muslin really close to the talent, especially lady talent, is sexy. I can't say enough good about it. It does need to be fairly close to the talent to really appreciate that soft quality though I feel. Usually I try to have the muslin just outside of frame. I find I get the same strength David was talking about using a blonde, but often for close-ups I get the mus closer than three feet and I get too much light, a f/4 or 5.6. I like making it even softer by putting some 216 or something lighter even in front of the light, usually a 4'x4' frame.

Travis
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#9 Paul Bruening

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 04:12 AM

Rosco makes very fine diffusion that can take about all the heat and abuse you can give them. The full white and half white are real work horse plastics. I put them on barndoors, frames and windows to fake daylight. The 25 ft. rolls are under $100.00 per.

I've tried the fabric tricks, and like David says, sometimes they can show their pattern when close to the subject.

In confession, I've smoked fabrics as well as reflectors and prefer to buy the heat resistant palstics. Set 'em and forget 'em.
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