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Bounce vs Diffusion?


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#1 Alexander Sutton Hough

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 09:14 PM

What would you describe the light characteristic differences between lighting through diffusion vs bouncing off a white reflector or bead board? When do you prefer to use each one?


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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 03:08 AM

There are different grades of "softness" depending on the diffusion material you use. 


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#3 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 04:53 AM

Some videos:

 

 

 


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#4 Bruce Greene

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 10:23 AM

It's often more about logistics than "quality" of the light. And sometimes both.

 

If I'm lighting a big area, especially if the light needs to be high, then using a 4x8 bounce board (or two of them together) will get me a bigger source than a 4x4 frame, and thus softer light, as the bigger the source, the softer the light.  The more distance between the source and the subject, the bigger the source needs to be to appear soft.  If it's high up, it's easier to hoist light weight white board on c stands and bounce into it than to erect a large frame of fabric and get the light up even higher behind it.

 

Also, if you need the light source up against a wall, a bounce card can be placed right on the wall, but a diffusion frame would need to be placed several feet in front of the lamp, which is also in front of the wall.

 

Other situations make using a diffusion frame easier because when there is space as you won't need to place the light in front of the bounce board, but behind the frame, making it easier to direct the light and avoid any shadow from the lamp and avoiding having the light bounce at the wrong angle off the board.

 

When you're working in practical locations, these logistics usually make this decision for you, more than "quality of light".


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#5 Ryan Emanuel

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 10:26 AM

There really is none as long as the diffusion frame is fully illuminated from edge to edge and the bounce is the same size as the frame.  The real question is what is easier to do in your shooting situation.  The only thing that matters is the size of the source in relation to your subject.  In small rooms you wont be able to fully illuminate a diffusion frame at least not a large one so bouncing will create the bigger source in relation to the subject.  In a large space going through the diffusion might be better because it can provide more exposure.

 

Also the "quality" of light often times gets thought of as subjective when it really is very objective.  Take a look at the nose shadow, cheek shadow, and chin shadow when analyzing the softness of a source.  At least when I started looking there, I saw less and and less differences between bounced light, diffused light, book lights, and double diffused light of the same size. 


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