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Large Outdoor Diffuser


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#1 Timothy David Orme

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 01:27 PM

I'm shooting a film this fall that primarily takes place outside. It has many walking shots on the street, shots of a man sitting on a sidewalk, etc. One thing I am in desperate need of, is a massive diffuser. Our cinematographer recommended building a 70x70 pvc frame to hand a white sheet from. I'm wondering if there isn't a better way to do this--something stronger, easier to break down, longer lasting.

If it matters, we're shooting the film on SD8.

Thanks for any help.
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#2 Michael Collier

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 01:49 PM

You can log onto B&H photovideo and see what they have. I think they have several frame kits (6x6, 8x8, 12x12 and 20x20) then with that you can hang either difussion or bounce or neg fill. They arent cheap though, but will be very durable, and easy to break down and most importantly, easy to rig up.
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#3 Bob Hayes

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 01:58 PM

If you are trying to do this on the cheap, and it sounds like you are, PVC tubing will not be ridged enough and a white sheet will be too thick. I?d get steel tubing half inch with elbow connections. Shower curtain works well as a diffuser and they have many differed levels of opacity. That?s where I?d be heading.
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#4 Timothy David Orme

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 02:03 PM

Well, price doesn't matter so much. I'd rather get something I could use over a longer period of time and spend more than just rig something that's not going to work and is going to be a hassle.
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#5 Michael Nash

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 04:30 PM

Well, price doesn't matter so much.


Well how much does it not matter? ;)

It's always best to use the right tools, so renting some combination of 6x6', 8x8', and 12'x12' frames with the right stands, sandbags, and collection of rags makes life so much easier.

You could attempt to "reverse engineer" one of these and build one yourself. But really the proper gear is of a proven design, crew members know how to rig it and pull it apart quickly, and if it breaks the rental house can replace it.

Don't underestimate the safety factor of designing and rigging large overhead frames outdoors (in the wind). There are standard approaches that grips use to secure large frames, and experienced grips know exactly what will and will not hold up when they rig it. With a homemade design all bets are off.

Standard frame sizes offer you the most flexibilty for "rags" also. You can switch easily between different densities of scrim or diffusion to accommodate the shot.
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#6 Bob Hayes

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 04:48 PM

I have found an 8' x 8' frame is the best size for any production. Small enough to be hand carried and large enough to cover two actors comfortable. Any larger requires a good amount of gripping to make it safe and is always a problem in the wind.
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#7 Timothy David Orme

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 04:56 PM

Okay, it sounds like I'm starting to get a good idea of what to get. 8x8, framed, etc. Where can I buy a good one? B&H?

Anyone have a link to one they specifically recommend?

Thanks again for all the help.
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#8 Michael Nash

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 05:10 PM

http://www.msegrip.c...products&cat=46

Search the site for the rest of the accessories you'll need (stands, etc.).
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#9 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 07:11 AM

+1 on the rental idea on all counts.
When you start buying the windups and sandbags etc. why not keep it simple?
The amount of shooting you would have to do to make up this investment is quite high unless you get into the rental business yourself. Save the money, get the right (and safe) gear and put the savings on the screen.
Just my humble opinion.
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#10 Bob Hayes

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 09:41 AM

+1 on the rental idea on all counts.
When you start buying the windups and sandbags etc. why not keep it simple?
The amount of shooting you would have to do to make up this investment is quite high unless you get into the rental business yourself.


The amount of gear I own (Arri Soft light kit, Lowell DP and Lowell Tota kits, 8x8, 6x6, 4x4, C-Stands, Flags, Skateboard Dolly, Jib Arm, and Sand Bags) will all fit in my SUV. This size package one guy and I can handle. If I need more gear then I need more guys and just rent a truck. I don?t have proper stands for the 8x8 so I never use it with out getting and extra guy and the proper stands. Having my own small package has been great. On little projects I have exactly the gear I want and that makes the job so much more fun.
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#11 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 10:07 PM

I'm resurrecting this thread from a forum search.

I'm thinking to build a couple frames of my own. I'm getting into lighting in broader strokes and could really use a couple frame of my own, but I just don't see myself paying top dollar for the Matthews ones. Maybe just a 4x4 to start out.

Just wondering if anybody's been successful in constructing some good rigid, metal frames. And what tubing would you recommend?
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#12 Matthew Parnell

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 09:03 AM

Get four lengths of 1"x1" aluminium square tube and get cut to length(this will do for upto an 8by frame outdoors or a 12by frame in the studio).

You can get metal corners that join them together, and ears to mount on C-Stands/Grip heads from Matthews. OR You can get cheap plastic frame corners(good on up to 6bys, wouldn't trust on anything over that).

There you go, you have the frames, now its just a matter of spending hundreds on textiles to suit.

As for 4x4 frames, i would be more tempted just to buy the knife blade frames, full 4x4 frames are pretty clunky unless attached to a bigger lamp.
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#13 John Sprung

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 01:10 PM

I'm thinking to build a couple frames of my own.

One thing to think about with anything large like that is that if you own it, you have to have a place to keep it when you're not using it, and you have to move it if you ever change places. That's a plus for going rental.




-- J.S.
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#14 Buddy Greenfield

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 03:40 PM

I know my suggestion isn't the same kind of overhead diffusion frame sought, and it certainly isn't professional by any means, but for cheap, portable, sturdy and multi use, maybe try a garment rack something like (but less expensive than) in the link below:

http://www.garmentrack.com/

I use one as a bounce material holder, throw a sheet over it for diffusion and clamp lights to it. It breaks down and sets up easily, is on wheels and can be weighted across the bottom with ease.

Cost, zero. Someone threw it away.

Hotels or stores going out of business are sure to have really nice ones for almost nothing.

:)
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#15 Chris Keth

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 04:20 PM

I know my suggestion isn't the same kind of overhead diffusion frame sought, and it certainly isn't professional by any means, but for cheap, portable, sturdy and multi use, maybe try a garment rack something like (but less expensive than) in the link below:

http://www.garmentrack.com/

I use one as a bounce material holder, throw a sheet over it for diffusion and clamp lights to it. It breaks down and sets up easily, is on wheels and can be weighted across the bottom with ease.

Cost, zero. Someone threw it away.

Hotels or stores going out of business are sure to have really nice ones for almost nothing.

:)


That's not a bad idea for a lot of stuff on the cheap but it can't go overhea, which to me is 3/4 of the point of a large frame with changeable textiles.
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#16 Buddy Greenfield

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 07:40 PM

I totally agree. I was just throwing something cheap in the mix for on the ground use.
Even as broke (Cheap) as I am, when it comes to something being overhead unless you can REALLY REALLY secure it, then it's just asking for trouble like a dollar store hammer, sure it's cheap and might even work, but that emergency room bill is gonna be something else when it goes sour.
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Visual Products

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

Rig Wheels Passport

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Metropolis Post

CineTape

FJS International, LLC

Technodolly

Wooden Camera

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Abel Cine

rebotnix Technologies

The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Opal

Willys Widgets

CineLab

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio