Diffusion. Use what you've got. Some is better than none.
So Casey Schmidt of Northwest Grip and I conducted a little test recently on diffusion. Sometimes on low budget shoots, people remember to bring lights, but often forget the modifiers. So what do you do when you need a little diffusion? Well, you start looking around your house or around set for some common items. Here's the results, read below to know more about the test.
Our little test used several items and we did our best to let you know how much each one drops the light in terms of stops. The items were.....
Garbage bag 1, garbage bag 2, hand towel, visqueen, paper towels, computer paper, t shirt, dress shirt, pillow case, bed sheet, and opaque tupperware.
Our key light was an Arri 650 tungsten fresnel on full flood. f9.6
Our fill light was a Desisti Magis 300 tungsten fresnel. f4.0 (never adjusted exposure when key was under f4.0)
Our kicker was an Arri 150 tungsten fresnel with a small amount of diffusion on it. f4.0 (never adjusted exposure when key was under f4.0)
Camera was RED Epic set to ISO 320 and balanced at 3200k. Red Color 3/Red Gamma 3 and 5:1 compression. This is ungraded minus RC3/RG3 specs.
Exposure was set to the key light and we adjust aperture to account for light loss of each object. Now had we have had more time, we could have done some more things like subtract light from fill and kicker to keep same ratio or move the key light closer account for the light loss. Key was direct through a 2x3 frame with diffusion pinned to the frame 24" from the globe.
Our goal was to see what different items would do if absolutely needed. My personal faves were paper towels, bed sheet, and garbage bag 1. Just goes to show that when in a pinch, anything you can find to make some diffusion will definitely help your look. A softer light is a happier light. Click through the pics below to see how each was hung.
So what do you think? What sorts of diffusion tricks do you carry in your bag? Reply in comments. :)