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Mesh screen to diffuse sunlight?

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nelsonmay10
Mesh screen to diffuse sunlight?
on Aug 14, 2007 at 1:04:44 pm

I am low on money and I want to find a low cost solution to diffuse sunlight with an overhead frame. I am looking for material that will work well with video (HVX200). I read that plant mesh screen from a greenhouse supply could work. I need enough material to cover a 10x10 frame that I built from electrical conduit. Can parachute or light silk material work? I assume it also has to be white on color.

Thanks for all thoughts.



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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: Mesh screen to diffuse sunlight?
on Aug 14, 2007 at 1:39:43 pm

Well, you are on the right track... there are a number of "everyday" materials that can work.

Just be aware that different materials do different types of things.

Mesh-type materials are one such choice. They can be greenhouse mesh, nylon mesh like is used in some screen doors or patio doors, etc., or sometimes you can even find mesh materials at the fabric store. BUT... you said you wanted to DIFFUSE sunlight. Mesh type "rags" are used when you want to cut the QUANTITY of the light, without really affecting the QUALITY. They don't really diffuse... they are used for example when you still want the QUALITY of sunlight (i.e., harsh or visible shadows) but you want to cut its intensity (such as adjust a foreground subject against a differently-lit background).

If you wish to actually DIFFUSE light (make it softer), you will need to go with a different type of material for your "rag" choice. Parachute material is one idea. I know of one still photographer who just uses bedsheets. You may find that some of these "on the cheap" solutions cut way too much light...they could be 2 stops or better. If you buy real rags (from say Matthews or a company like that) you will have a lot of choices and can specify you need, say, only a 1/2 stop silk. Of course they are kind of pricey and might not fit a limited budget. But you can probably find some material that will work. One of my favorites is this translucent shower curtain material (from the fabric store) that I use all the time. It gives a nice diffused quality to light, and cuts the intensity by only a half stop or less (you still get a bit of soft shadows). Best thing, it's cheap... like a buck a foot. It is five feet wide so you would have to piece it, but you could fill a 10x10 butterfly frame for like $20.

Keep in mind that a 10x is a pretty sizable overhead. Make SURE you have very strong stands, plenty of sandbags for them, and maybe an assistant just to make sure it doesn't klunk anyone on the head. It doesn't take much of a breeze to turn a butterfly that size into an uncontrollable sail.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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nelsonmay10
Re: Mesh screen to diffuse sunlight?
on Aug 14, 2007 at 2:18:01 pm

Thanks. That helps. I didn't even think of my shower curtain liner. Anyway, I spent my money of a few used c stands and combos and if I have to use the 10x10, I was going to use tie line to anchor the corners on the ground in case of a gust of wind.



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nelsonmay10
Re: Mesh screen to diffuse sunlight?
on Aug 15, 2007 at 3:01:23 am

Is the shower curtain material clear or is is frosted?



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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: Mesh screen to diffuse sunlight?
on Aug 15, 2007 at 1:55:18 pm

The stuff we use is translucent... you can almost see through it, but not quite. If you were to, say, place a printed page right behind it (flat against it) you could probably sort of read it, but move it back even an inch and you can't.

Totally clear shower curtain material wouldn't do you any good.

The stuff we found was at a large fabric store, in the area where they sell stuff like vinyl, canvas for patio furuniture upolstry, even car headliner... that kind of stuff.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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