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Why unbleached muslin over bleached?


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#1 Jamie Lewis

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 11:49 AM

Most of the times I've seen muslin recommended it's said to get unbleached over bleached. Is this an aesthetic (color or diffusion) choice or something more than that? I'm gonna build a muslin frame and before I ordered some fabric I wanted to clear this up.

Also another quicky, how do silk and ad muslin differ in how they diffuse light? I'm not against getting silk but to save some money I'm looking into muslin. Or should I just get both?
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#2 Serge Teulon

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 12:15 PM

Muslin can be bleached to match daylight or tungsten or just to reflect whatever colour you want.
You can point your light and use it like that, but keep in mind that it does tend to suck a lot juice out of your light. Also you can use it as a bouncing source. The bounce renders a very flat look.

Edited by Serge Teulon, 14 July 2008 - 12:16 PM.

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#3 Jamie Lewis

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 12:18 PM

So, would it would be better to use silk if light power may be an issue? I actually just helped a friend the other day on his shoot and we used a white table cloth that worked pretty well and I'm guessing it was as thick or thinker than muslin is (I don't know if I've ever seen muslin).
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#4 David Rakoczy

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 03:23 PM

Muslin can be bleached to match daylight or tungsten or just to reflect whatever colour you want.


That is a new one on me... I don't think that is what you meant(?).

Muslim is a fantastic way to Soften Light. Yes, it sucks a lot up and you need to go with larger units (usually) like 5k instead of a 2k.. or a 10k instead of a 5k etc..) but the Quality of Light you get through it is fantastic. Bleached (generally) does not alter the color temp.. Unbleached will be 'Warmer"... that is the difference. Unbleached will be warmer. Here is a very simple example.. your Wide Shot can be Hard Light and using thinner Diffusion such as Opal.. when you go in for a Medium Shot you could go to 216.. then use the Muslin when go in for the Close -Up... this is a very 'simple' demonstration.

You can use it as a Bounce.. or punch Light through it.

It is hard to beat a 4x4 or 6x6 Muslin close to Talent with even just a Mighty Mole punching through it.. the Muslin really 'wraps' Light... awesome for modeling Faces.

Edited by David Rakoczy, 14 July 2008 - 03:26 PM.

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#5 Daniel Wallens

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 12:01 AM

I've never seen or heard of muslin (bleached or not) being "balanced" to anything. I don't even know how they'd accomplish this, since color temp balancing is measured via the "burning" (or heating) of a metal or gas (until it glows). Mr. David Mullen, do you know anything about this?


Muslin (bleached or not) is used generally as a diffuser, and sometimes as a bounce. Usually, other types of bounces tend to be preferred. Muslins take off about 3 stops, if my memory serves me correctly (someone feel free to correct me if I'm off).

Bleached is whiter, and has only a very slight warming effect. It's often described as similar to a white bedsheet.

The reason why you probably see more requests for unbleached rather than bleached is because unbleached has a particularly unique effect on the light. It provides a very rich, yellow-gold, warming glow, while at the same time allows for a very soft and wrapping diffusion. Really, there is no other type of material that does this all by itself. Bleached, on the other hand, has the same diffusing effect, but doesn't provide the same in terms of color. Other types of diffusion are closer to bleached muslin in this respect. Different, yes, but still not as unique as unbleached muslin.

As for how silk compares to muslin, you can ask this from a variety of different viewpoints. In terms of lightloss, it depends on what KIND of silk you are referring to. Full silk reduces intensity by about 2 2/3 stops. China silk cuts only 1/4 stop. Regardless, though, two things generally hold true: Silks generally do not provide any color change; muslin, arguably even a bleached muslin, has a slight warming effect (and unbleached, of course, has a very noticeable warming effect). Also, silks, while being effective diffusers, allow for a harder, more defined shadow, while the muslin tends to be extremely soft and "wrapping." Silks tend to have a more "linear" throw (you can see this if you look into the silk with a light behind it -- lines in one direction are visible) whereas with the muslin, the light is extremely even, from the center outwards in all directions (this difference is due to how the two materials are woven). As for what you should get, that is up to you, and what you want to do with it.

-DW
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#6 Serge Teulon

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 05:30 AM

I've never seen or heard of muslin (bleached or not) being "balanced" to anything. I don't even know how they'd accomplish this, since color temp balancing is measured via the "burning" (or heating) of a metal or gas (until it glows). Mr. David Mullen, do you know anything about this?


In part you are correct Daniel, but you can manipulate the temperature of a light fixture by adding coloured material in front of it...ie gels. Hence CTO and CTB.
The same applies with any other source of material, if coloured, that you put in front of a light.

Jamie, what I meant was, if you want to use a muslin to represent a particular colour temperature then you have to bleach it.....if you don't, as pointed out, and unbleached natural muslin will render a warm colour.
Its the same if you put a ctb gel in front of a tungsten light.....it will render daylight.
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#7 Jamie Lewis

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 08:00 AM

I ended up getting a sheet of unbleached and bleached muslin (45"x9ft.) for $18. For $18 I can't go wrong and I'll be able to see first hand the effects and light loss.

Does anybody have a good source for silk? I got the muslin from Joanne.com and this seems to really be the only silk, not patterned, that they carry.
http://www.joann.com...p;source=search
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#8 Daniel Wallens

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 09:19 AM

(sigh)
Serge,
Yes, a light can be balanced using gel. However, nowhere in the original post did we talk about gels or lights. This post has always been about diffusion. So, "Muslin can be bleached to match daylight or tungsten" is untrue, since muslin is a diffusion, and you don't color-correct diffusion. You color-correct light. 1/2 CTO takes 5500 to 3800. 1/8 CTO takes 5500 to 4900. Full CTB takes 3200 to 5700. Double takes 2800 to 10K. ie, you don't color correct the muslin fabric, and not to "match daylight" etc. Hell, you can put straw, CTB, CTO, cosmetic peach, or whatever in front of the light -- the color will still change, regardless of whether muslin is in front of the light as well or not. Jamie never mentioned anything about lights.
Now, what you may have meant was that the muslin changes the color temperature. Yes, this does happen, since it has a color. Muslin is not, however, manufactured to be balanced to 5600K or 3200K.

Jamie,
Are you wanting a specific size for use on a frame? If so, Filmtools.com is good.
Are you wanting raw material? If so, Theragplace.com is good (Hollywood).
Mutual Hardware also has a good variety (NYC).
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#9 Serge Teulon

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 12:03 PM

(sigh)
Serge,
Yes, a light can be balanced using gel. However, nowhere in the original post did we talk about gels or lights. This post has always been about diffusion. So, "Muslin can be bleached to match daylight or tungsten" is untrue, since muslin is a diffusion, and you don't color-correct diffusion.


:rolleyes:

It is about diffusion, not of the gel kind and isn't about lights. But since light is required for the diffusion to take place and also the fact that part of Jamie's question is about the reasoning behind BLEACHED and UNBLEACHED muslin, I gave him as much info as I could about all aspects of using muslin.
Saying that a muslin is a diffusion and its softening effect is like this or like that, is, please refer to his initial post, only part of Jamie's question........but not ALL of his questioning.

In this case as a muslin is a material that soaks up most types of liquid form, thus meaning that you can bleach a muslin. By doing so you are adding not only DIFFUSION to your source but also COLOUR! As we say in the UK, killing 2 birds with one stone.

Peace!
;)
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#10 Jamie Lewis

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 12:26 PM

(sigh)
Jamie,
Are you wanting a specific size for use on a frame? If so, Filmtools.com is good.
Are you wanting raw material? If so, Theragplace.com is good (Hollywood).
Mutual Hardware also has a good variety (NYC).


Daniel, what I thought to do is build it out of PVC pipe or some other pipe from Home Depot. I'm gonna grommet the fabric and create a frame that's a bit bigger than 45" x 84". I'll put holes in the PVC and tie the muslin or silk to it. PVC will give me the flexibility to create any size/shape frame pretty cheap. My lights are all under 600w and heat shouldn't be a problem with the PVC. Also, I can probably get some cheap window screening for diffusion also. I like filmtools.com a lot and order stuff from the time to time. I'll check out the other sites you linked also!
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#11 Jamie Lewis

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 12:48 PM

I just found a site that allowed me to order some cheap, 25 cent, silk samples. I ordered six samples and I'll test what works best.
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#12 Daniel Wallens

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 12:53 PM

Jamie,
PVC will work fine. Arguably even better (and most often used for large diffusion frames) is 2x4 or batten wood. Batten will be lighter, 2x4 will be stronger. Both are definately cheaper than PVC, but might not be as durable if you plan on keeping the frame for a long time. Also, wood is arguably easier to cut down to size if you need a smaller frame on the spur of the moment. I don't know how modular you need this to be. For a more perminant solution, you can staple the muslin to the wood frame, and this allows for a tight stretch that won't sag. It also keeps things neat and pretty.

Regardless of which route you take (PVC or wood), you do not nessasarily need to put holes in it. After you've made your grommets, take some trick line and put ties in each grommet. You can then tie these around your frame, just as in a standard metal frame made by Matthews or Modern.

If you have any more questions about muslin, feel free to ask :)


-DW
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#13 Jamie Lewis

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 01:02 PM

Jamie,
PVC will work fine. Arguably even better (and most often used for large diffusion frames) is 2x4 or batten wood. Batten will be lighter, 2x4 will be stronger. Both are definately cheaper than PVC, but might not be as durable if you plan on keeping the frame for a long time. Also, wood is arguably easier to cut down to size if you need a smaller frame on the spur of the moment. I don't know how modular you need this to be. For a more perminant solution, you can staple the muslin to the wood frame, and this allows for a tight stretch that won't sag. It also keeps things neat and pretty.

Regardless of which route you take (PVC or wood), you do not nessasarily need to put holes in it. After you've made your grommets, take some trick line and put ties in each grommet. You can then tie these around your frame, just as in a standard metal frame made by Matthews or Modern.

If you have any more questions about muslin, feel free to ask :)


-DW


Thanks for all the help, Daniel. Yeah, it needs to be pretty modular as I store everything in my apartment, inside my editing studio. That means, props, lighting, frames, a big wood dolly I built, etc.

The reason I thought of the holes in the PVC it to prevent slipping. Also, how many and where should I put the grommets. I was thinking the four corners plus one more at top and bottom and three more on each side for sheets of 45"x84". I have access to a grommet machine and the amount I use is irrelevant.

I can't wait to get all the fabric in. I never thought I would ever say that. :D
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#14 Daniel Wallens

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 01:52 PM

Don't worry about it slipping -- it wont. Tie tight bows with trickline, and you'll be fine. This is how all "professional" frames are constructed. You can kinda see (but not that well) here in this photo:
http://www.cinemagad...ages/B024-1.gif

Keep in mind that speed and effeciancy is also an important factor on a big, professional set. Doing your job (the grip, in this case) quickly and precisely puts a professional apart from a beginner. And if you think about it, threading a piece of trickline through a hole can be a lot more time consuming than quickly wrapping it around a pole -- maybe not once, but try doing it 10 times x 4 sides -- 40 times, on a 20-by frame. This could mean the difference between 5 minutes and 15 minutes.

As for the number of grommets, on professionally-manufactured rags, they are generally spaced about 2 feet apart, I believe, starting at the corners. So one in each corner, and then every other foot.

-DW

(just thought of another reason not to make holes: because wherever you end up putting the holes, you MUST line up your grommets at that exact place -- for that one AND every other rag you make. Just tieing AROUND the frame allows more flexibility. Remember, film companies have been doing it this way for 100 years -- I think they know what they are doing ;) )
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#15 Jamie Lewis

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 07:15 AM

Don't worry about it slipping -- it wont. Tie tight bows with trickline, and you'll be fine. This is how all "professional" frames are constructed. You can kinda see (but not that well) here in this photo:
http://www.cinemagad...ages/B024-1.gif

Keep in mind that speed and effeciancy is also an important factor on a big, professional set. Doing your job (the grip, in this case) quickly and precisely puts a professional apart from a beginner. And if you think about it, threading a piece of trickline through a hole can be a lot more time consuming than quickly wrapping it around a pole -- maybe not once, but try doing it 10 times x 4 sides -- 40 times, on a 20-by frame. This could mean the difference between 5 minutes and 15 minutes.

As for the number of grommets, on professionally-manufactured rags, they are generally spaced about 2 feet apart, I believe, starting at the corners. So one in each corner, and then every other foot.

-DW

(just thought of another reason not to make holes: because wherever you end up putting the holes, you MUST line up your grommets at that exact place -- for that one AND every other rag you make. Just tieing AROUND the frame allows more flexibility. Remember, film companies have been doing it this way for 100 years -- I think they know what they are doing ;) )


I will put no holes in the PVC! As far as attaching, anything that's not flammable should be fine cirrect? I'm just gonna get some black boot laces and cut them up.

Daniel, again thanks a great deal!
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#16 Daniel Wallens

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 08:05 AM

I will put no holes in the PVC!

Heh, you can do whatever you want -- it's all just suggestions here. But I think you've made the right choice ;)

As far as attaching, anything that's not flammable should be fine cirrect?

Do you mean the tie lines from the rag to the frame? Yeah, pretty much anything will do it. Shoelaces might be fine, but trickline will be better. You can cut off whatever length you want. It's stronger and more durable. It's plastic-coated so that it sticks to itself and doesn't slip. Plus, it might even be cheaper -- you can get a hanks (45 feet) for like 4 or 5 bucks, and a spool (750 feet) for under $30. By the time you end up buying a whole bunch of shoelaces, I think you will have spent more at the shoe store.

:)
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#17 Jamie Lewis

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 08:19 AM

Heh, you can do whatever you want -- it's all just suggestions here. But I think you've made the right choice ;)


Do you mean the tie lines from the rag to the frame? Yeah, pretty much anything will do it. Shoelaces might be fine, but trickline will be better. You can cut off whatever length you want. It's stronger and more durable. It's plastic-coated so that it sticks to itself and doesn't slip. Plus, it might even be cheaper -- you can get a hanks (45 feet) for like 4 or 5 bucks, and a spool (750 feet) for under $30. By the time you end up buying a whole bunch of shoelaces, I think you will have spent more at the shoe store.

:)


Yeah, I'll save more going the trickline route. I didn't have a friggin' clue what a hank was so I didn't place an order in fears of getting one 12" piece. :(

Nah, I'm not gonna put holes in it. It will cut down on time, especially when I have other people do it.
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#18 JD Hartman

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 09:49 AM

Try this site for information, fabric and supplies. http://www.rosebrand...ps/default.aspx

Request a catalog.
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#19 Jamie Lewis

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 10:00 AM

Try this site for information, fabric and supplies. http://www.rosebrand...ps/default.aspx

Request a catalog.



@ DJ, thanks! I hit them up for a catalog.

@ Daniel, I ordered one hank of trick line and a roll of gaffers since my order didn;t reach the minimum $15 <_< But you can never have enough gaffers.

Edited by Jamie Lewis, 16 July 2008 - 10:00 AM.

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#20 Jamie Lewis

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 08:34 AM

I got the silk samples in and I'm probably going to go with two different china silks, 16mm (slightly heavier than "regular" china) and 8mm ("regular" china?). I'll wait to see how the muslin looks before I place an order in case the 16mm is too close to the bleached.
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