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#1 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 09:10 PM

I came across this on Konvas.org discussions. Terry Todd is a commercial professional with many years of experience who owns Fantastic Plastic, a successful commercial production company so I tend to listen when he imparts advice. Here's what he has to say:

"Hey kids...

I ran across some great stuff today and thought I'd share it...

We were doing a big commercial shoot today for an airline in the waiting area of an airport gate. I was sweating the planning a little bit because of all the huge windows and killer bright sunlight outside(the windows were to be in a lot of the shots, seeing the jetway and airplane in the background). We had shot in this location for them before, and even with screening the windows (with black hardware cloth)and a full compliment of HMI instruments it was very difficult to fight the bright exterior.

Well... now some backstory. We have long used this translucent vinyl material for silking (diffusion for either sunlight, or lighting instruments)... we call it the "shower curtain," because that's exactly what it is. We buy it by the yard from big rolls at the local fabric store (at the store we use it's back where the upholstery fabric and car headliner material is). I use this a lot because it almost exactly emulates Lee 250... except you can just wad it up and stuff it in your rags bag to use it again next time. Even though it's vinyl I regularly put it in frames to diffuse 1200w HMIs with never a problem with the heat. PLUS its less than TWO DOLLARS a yard.

Well, en route to the shoot I stopped by the same fabric store for more of this "shower curtain" stuff... anticipating the need to be able to fill a couple more 4x4 frames. Right next to the "shower curtain"was this big roll of see-through but dark smokey vinyl... I'm not sure what it's really made for, but it's basically a big wide roll of neutral density material. Quite durable and thickish, too. Only about three bucks a yard. I bought a half dozen yards of it just for kicksand headed to meet my crew at the shoot.

We taped it up on the big windows, and it WORKED LIKE A CHARM. It was a perfect ND window covering, I'm guessing about two or three stops. And I covered a large run of gigantic windows for about $20. I didn't even need all the HMIs I had because it worked so well.

I shudder to think what it would have cost to use "real" ND film to cover such a big area... and it would have been a lot more trouble too as this stuff was really easy to work with. It didn't take more than a few minutes to put it up and it looked perfect. We done, we took it down, rolled it back up.. and it's ready for the next time we need it.

I think it's my new favorite thing this week.


T2"

Hope it's helpful. B)
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#2 Tim Tyler

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 12:48 AM

When you buy real ND gel, you know what you're getting.

You know exactly how much it will reduce light transmission. You know exactly how it will affect the color temperature. You know generally how much heat it will withstand before failing. You know it will not catch fire.

Hanging vinyl in front of any tungsten or HMI light is dangerously irresponsible. Even if the material doesn't catch fire it might melt and damage whatever is below it.
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#3 JD Hartman

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 08:44 PM

How wide was the "shower curtain" material you found? I wonder how it differs from the vinyl normally cut and stitched into rags such as "soft frost" or "hi-lite" from: http://www.theragpla.../diffusions.htm
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