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help with softbox

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  #1  
Old 03-10-2011, 12:23 PM
LunaLuna LunaLuna is offline
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help with softbox

Hello!

I don't have the posibility to afford a studio light or a softbox, so I bought an halogen lamp like the one in the attached file, and need to build a soft box for it.

Could you give me advice?

The lamp hits a lot and I'm afraid that if I build the softbox with paper or cardboard it can burn.

Did anyone build a soft box? What materials did you use? How do you hold it in the lamp?
I don't have any of those light's tripods... Any advice for a home made one too?

Thank you very much.

Lu.
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File Type: jpg halogen-lamp-4082.jpg (72.4 KB, 7 views)
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:54 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: help with softbox

Lu, check out this page at instructables. You can subscibe to their email list for free.
http://www.instructables.com/pages/s...59-1&q=softbox
Regards, Murray
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:41 PM
LunaLuna LunaLuna is offline
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Re: help with softbox

Thank you, Murray!
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:15 PM
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Re: help with softbox

I would be concerned about the amount of heat these halogen lamps output, I assume it is either 500 or 1000 watt. So any material touching it is at risk of scorching at a minimum.

To soften the light a softbox needs to be pretty close to the subject - the further away the more like a point light source it will become. What type of work do you want to do with this?

Have you considered bouncing it of a reflector held some distance away (will need to experiment) or building a frame to hold material some distance away from the source.

As you have identified products marked photographic usually carry a premium price. Have you considered something like a comercial lightstand for the building industry e.g Amazon twin light workstand $25
a home made one may cost as much for raw materials - unless you have stuff lying around
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Old 03-10-2011, 04:12 PM
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MBChamberlain MBChamberlain is offline
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Re: help with softbox

Luna,

I hate to have to tell you this, but a halogen lamp will not provide nearly enough light for studio photography.

A high-power halogen lamp is rated at about 700w. Halogen lamps put out about 1.5 lumens per watt. So, at an exposure time of 1 second, you're putting about 1050 lumenseconds (also called wattseconds) of light onto the subject. It is, of course, very difficult to hold still for a full second, so you would need to reduce your shutter time to 1/60 of a second and by doing so, reduce your lighting to a mere 17.5ws.

To put this into perspective, the tiny little on-camera flash on a point and shoot usually puts out between 100ws and 150ws. An inexpensive studio strobe will dump 500-1000ws, and a professional strobe can go as high as 128,000ws.

You'll also find that, because hot lights are just that, hot, your studio will be warm and uncomfortable to work in and the models will sweat. A halogen bulb can reach 900°c (about 1650°f) which is above the flash point for most organic materials and way above the melt point for synthetics. Any modifiers you put on them, especially a closed softbox, can overheat and burn or melt in minutes depending on what material you use.

It may sound like a good alternative to a strobe, but it's just not worth the risk to health and safety. Be patient and save up for a decent monolight (alien bees are well made and affordable), and in the mean time, think of the limitations as an incentive to drive your creativity rather than a hinderence to it.

Cheers,
Michael
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Old 03-10-2011, 04:20 PM
LunaLuna LunaLuna is offline
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Re: help with softbox

Hi. Thank you for reply.

I want to do some portraits from some relatives that are musicians. They asked me for a photo with their instruments for their curriculum, concert programs... sometimes some magazine asks for a photo.

I've never worked with artificial light. This will be my first try.

I have a 500W halogen light pretty like the picture a attached. By the moment I'm using a frame with a tracing paper to soften the light for some "product" photos and I'm buoncing it to light the other side of the product.

The thing is, the focus lights all around, even the background. That's why I consider to use a softbox, to contain the light and avoid the light goes everywhere. And I hope the silver from the inside the softbox helps to have little more powerful light, because this one is not enough for a portrait, I believe, because for products I had to use a very low speed to get some dept o field. And considering that a person will move, or blink or even breath...
But by the moment is all I have!

For the stand, where I live is almost imposible to get one of those you say, and will probably cost much more. But I remember I have a michrophone stand that may be work.

By the moment I'll try bouncing the light as you said and try to avoid the light reaches the background.
I don't want to burn anything!

Thank you for your help. Lets see what I can do!
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Old 03-10-2011, 06:19 PM
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Re: help with softbox

Now that you have identified that you want to do portraiture and if you are adamant that you have to use continuous light rather than flash then it is possible.

In the good old days (pre studio flash) all studio work was undertaken using Photoflood bulbs rated between 500 - 1000W. I can tell you from personal experience that at times the studio became very hot (air con or similar rec.) and it could be uncomfortable for the subject. In addition due to the bright lights subjects would tend to frown and screw up their eyes - until you told them to pull themselves together . The big advantage of continuous light is the fact that you have a WYSIWYG situation. The biggest disadvantage is relatively low shutter speed and wide aperture.

For instance using either medium format or 5x4 and 2 x 1000w photofloods in large reflectors exposures in the range of 1/30 second at f5.6 achievable with Tri-X rated at 200 ISO (personal speed vs Mnfctr quoted 400 ISO) developed in fine grain dev.
So you can forget about prancing around the studio set camera in hand shooting zillions of images from all angles - this set up is more contemplative and requires a tripod for sure.

I would forget about the halogens and consider converting to CFL's these run very cool and put out quite a lot of light - interesting that manufacturers are now producing continuous light kits using this technology. However they are very costly IMO.
You may want to try a diy solution as you can buy the bulbs and holders at reasonable prices have a look here for some info:
http://www.diyphotography.net/cold-halogen-lights
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...8&tag=diy0c-20
http://alzodigital.com/online_store/...escent_hid.htm

From what I can see whichever way you look at it you are going to need to invest a little more to get decent results i.e. assuming that you need suplementary lighting. Some wonderful images can be made by placing subject near window and just using reflector you know!

My personal recommendation though is to forget continuous (other than natural daylight) and consider investing in a flash and umbrella (or two). Umbrellas and stands can be had remarkably cheaply from the bay and cheap manual flashguns can also be put into service

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Old 03-10-2011, 09:27 PM
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Re: help with softbox

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony W View Post
My personal recommendation though is to forget continuous (other than natural daylight) and consider investing in a flash and umbrella (or two).
Amen with three underlines, bold italic, and five exclamation points.

If you insist on using continuous, the other option are super-bright LED lighting units.

Continuing on my previous information,
Incandecent = 1 lumen per watt
Halogen = 1.5 lumen per watt
Florecent = 2 lumen per watt
Xenon Strobe = 4-5 lumen per watt
LED = .5-10 lumen per watt

Considering that we pay for electricity by the kilowatt, you get the most bang for your buck with strobes or LED.

Cheers,
Michael
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Old 03-11-2011, 07:43 AM
LunaLuna LunaLuna is offline
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Re: help with softbox

Hi!

With all that info I guess I cand find a better solution than the halogen.

Tony, you're right about the window and the reflector. I should have thought about it before! :-S

Thank you both so much for all the info you gave me!

Regards!
Lu.
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