Best way to keep large, stand-mounted softboxes from losing their tilt-angle?

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by studio460, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. I have two large softboxes, an extra-large 54" x 72" Photoflex LiteDome, and a 5' Profoto RFi Octa. Although I plan to buy some Einstein E640s for use with these, my current monolights, a Dynalite Uni400 Jr., and a Speedotron Force 10, have tension-only (as opposed to saw-toothed) tilt brackets, with baby receivers. I happen to be using Matthews' Beefy Baby rolling steel stands for these (a.k.a. "Hollywood Baby Jr." stands).
    I'm wondering what's the best way to keep these strobes' tilt brackets from slipping? I was thinking of just attaching a 40" extension arm to a Cartellini clamp on the light stand with another 20" extension arm as a support. I'm not sure what else I could use to "hold up" the softbox, or at which point, and to what, would I attach to the top of the softbox (if I were to support it from the top instead of the bottom), without damaging it.
    Now, if I were dropping these down from a boom (which I'm not), I could use a baby pin, dropped vertically from a grip head, but it's just more convenient to have these on rolling floor stands for the moment.
    Any ideas? What does everyone else do?
     
  2. Well, I couldn't figure anything out that made sense, so I just put my Matthews mini-boom on top of the stand with a grip head on the end of the boom, then dropped a baby pin through it (vertically, pointing downward), onto which, I attached the strobe's baby receiver. More cumbersome than I'd like, but at least there's no droop anymore.
     
  3. Ralph, I would use a 20 or 40" extension arm with a grip head/baby pin attached to lthe ight. I dont have a problem with them slipping indoors even with a 7' octa. However, if the problem is the light tilt bracket is slipping, I would find the angle I wanted the box, then slide the extension arm back til the lower part of the box rested against the the stand vertical shaft. That might relieve enough weight to keep it from slipping or prevent much movement. I agree on the rolling stands, they allow precise placement of shadows/highlights and even inexperienced assistants can easily move them. I have a shoot tomorrow with the 5 foot octa and will take a photo of what I am thinking might help.
     
  4. double post
     
  5. Hi Ralph, I've used counterweights made for this purpose; unfortunately I can't source them for you. I thought they were Elinchrome items, but don't see them listed anywhere.
    Basically they are rods with a cylindrical weight on one end. You put it through the umbrella fitting which most lightheads/monolights seem to have. The weight, about 5-6 pounds, sticks nearly a foot out opposite the softbox.
    These have done a really good job with Photogenic mono units and a moderate-size softbox, maybe 3x4 feet. It gets the weight more centered on the light stand, so you don't have to worry about a rolling stand getting dumped over so easily.
    Sorry I can't find a source, but maybe your lighting supplier will know something if you describe them.
     
  6. I like that counterweight idea, Bill! And that's a very easy thing to DIY. Which I'm going to do! Thanks.
     
  7. They're extremely easy to DIY. I made my own, years ago.
     
  8. This is handy:
    http://www.cameraking.co.uk/Manfrotto+172+Mini+Counterweight+1.3+Kg.html
     
  9. Chimera makes an attachment that screws onto their metal speedrings, and the base section fits into a C-stand grip
    head. Both the softbox (Photoflex boxes fit the Chimera speedrings) and the flash are supported by the speedring. With
    big softboxes this works far better than relying on a flash head tilt mount.

    Here is a link: http://m.bhphotovideo.com/mobile/detail?R=71213_REG&
     
  10. Also consider the Matthews Studio Equipment Magic Finger.
     
  11. Nothing called a "magic finger" is getting within 10 yards of my studio. I have enough trouble saying "super clamp" with a
    straight face.
     
  12. Ralph, the Dynalite looks like it's got a brolly hole through the tilt mechanism. Why not use a length of 1/4" diameter rod with a counterweight hung off it? (Not sure if this is what previous posters were suggesting or not)
    However the Speedotron doesn't look as if it's got anything handy to hang a c/weight from. Maybe a bungee strap could be hooked down to the stand base from the back of it?
     
  13. Hey, thanks for eveyone's helpful suggestions! Since my lighting experience is mostly drawn from dealing with grip and lighting equipment designed for film/TV, this problem caught me by surprise, and an adequate solution wasn't immediately apparent. Certainly, in film/TV we also use large softboxes, but the associated grip and particular lighting instrument hardware is usually robust enough to tighten with enough force so that the unit doesn't tilt.
    A while back, I took my Speedotron Force 10, and my 54" x 72" Photoflex softbox on one of my first commercial assignments. To my embarrassment, the softbox continued to tilt past its intended direction as I worked. Somehow, I got through the shoot anyway. Now, it's less of an issue with the Speedotron monolight, since that will largely be dedicated to on-location applications only, using a either 22" beauty dish, or a silk as a modifier (supported by a separate stand).
    But since my large modifiers will be mostly restricted to studio use (with my yet-to-be-purchased Einstein E640s), I'll need to determine a solution specific to the E640's tilt bracket.
     
  14. Bob said:
    . . . However, if the problem is the light tilt bracket is slipping, I would find the angle I wanted the box, then slide the extension arm back til the lower part of the box rested against the the stand vertical shaft . . .​
    Yes, it's the monolight's tilt bracket that's slipping. I did find a rather tidy solution, at least for the Dynalite head--I simply hung the unit upside-down, and the bracket's own hard-stop restricts its tilt at a conveniently, near-perfect angle (any further angle adjustment may be had by adjusting the boom angle).
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  15. The Chimera grip head adapter and aluminum speedrings mounted in a grip head is the solution I use for medium and
    large softboxes (48" and up). Including with Einsteins, as well as with Broncolor, Dynalite, Elinchrom, and Profoto flash
    heads.

    It's just the strongest solution I've found and the grips (not photo assistants) I've worked with approve.
     
  16. Ellis said:
    The Chimera grip head adapter and aluminum speedrings mounted in a grip head is the solution I use for medium and large softboxes (48" and up).​
    Aha! The magic bullet! Supporting the rig from the speedring makes perfect sense. The adapter's dual grip-head friendly rods are genius! I knew someone would know a better way! Thanks Ellis!!!
    Chimera 3770 Universal Grip head Adapter $42.35); manufacturer's site:
    http://chimeralighting.com/Products/Parts-and-Lighting-Grip/Lighting-Grip
    B+H product description:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/71213-REG/Chimera_3770_Stand_Adapter_Universal.html
     
  17. Ah, I posted the wrong link . . . I would need the Chimera model 3700 bracket instead (not the 3770) for use with Chimera QR speedrings:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=chimera+3700&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma&Top+Nav-Search=
    [​IMG]
    Chimera 2160QR speedring for Dynalite.
    Although, I hope just two points of attachment are enough to support an extra-large softbox, and a heavy monolight like the Speedotron Force 10. Do they supply the nuts and bolts with the product, or do you have to supply them yourself?
     
  18. Ellis said:
    Chimera makes an attachment that screws onto their metal speedrings, and the base section fits into a C-stand grip head.​
    I didn't even notice your earlier post and included link at first. Thank you, Ellis! The Chimera 3700 grip-head adapter, I would consider, an essential piece of grip for any well-equipped studio.
     
  19. I'm pretty sure it will Ralph: you have four pairs of threaded attachment points.
     
  20. Thanks, Ellis. Four points of attachment? Do they include the necessary hardware? Now, I'm thinking to return my Profoto RFi speedrings and get Chimera QR speedrings instead so that they're compatible with the Chimera 3700 bracket. Aren't Profoto RFi softbox pins the same diameter as Photoflex' pins? There's no reason that Profoto RFi 5' Octa's pins shouldn't also fit into a Chimera Octaplus speedring, right?
     
  21. Actually, I would be using the Profoto RFi 5' Octa with an Einstein E640. So, I would hope that the Profoto octa's pins would fit into a Chimera Octaplus 2520OP speedring for Paul C. Buff monolights:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/354855-REG/Chimera_2520OP_Octaplus_Speed_Ring_for.html.
    Then, I believe I would need the Chimera 3770 adapter to mate with the Chimera Octaplus speedring:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/71213-REG/Chimera_3770_Stand_Adapter_Universal.html
     
  22. Nope. Profoto RFi pins are smaller in diameter than Photoflex pins. I guess Photoflex, Westcott, Elinchrom, etc. pins are 8mm, whereas, Profoto pins are 7mm?
     
  23. Bill said:
    Hi Ralph, I've used counterweights made for this purpose; unfortunately I can't source them for you . . . Basically they are rods with a cylindrical weight on one end. You put it through the umbrella fitting which most lightheads/monolights seem to have. The weight, about 5-6 pounds, sticks nearly a foot out opposite the softbox.​
    Thanks, Bill! This looks like another viable solution, especially since my Profoto softbox rods don't really fit other manufacturers' speedring receivers. I've been trying to source something similar for something else. Let us know if anyone finds something suitable.
     
  24. The smaller pin diameter of the RFi rod ends mean you should have no problems using them in the Chimera speedrings.
     
  25. Sorry about no photo Ralph, was to shoot new lady friend and we didnt get around to shooting. I currently store a 7 foot acta with a threaded stud into the 9th hole in a speed ring and the whole thing on a stand rolling the face of the octa against a wall, and therefore not taking up too much space. The speedring isnt threaded but it stays in place. I dont understand the attachment above but it looks way more secure and could be a permanent attachent to the stand then just clip in the light. Do I need to purchase the mfgr's speed ring to use it and I dont understand how it attaches to the speedring or stand.
     
  26. Bob said:
    I dont understand the attachment above but it looks way more secure and could be a permanent attachent to the stand then just clip in the light.​
    The Chimera grip-head adapter mounts to a Chimera speedring using two (or four, depending on model) threaded machine screws, I believe. The two rods on the Chimera adapter fit neatly into any standard grip head.
    You know, the things on the ends of extension arms on a C-stand. Usually made to hold the small pin on the end of a flag or net, or in the case of the Chimera adapter, its rods fit both the small hole and the large hole in the grip-head clamshell so that both holes are utilized for an even more secure grip--plus this two-rod design prevents it from twisting.
    Whether or not these will fit on other manufacturers' speedrings is anyone's guess. I may try to adapt it to the holes in my Profoto speedring. But, unlike the Chimera speedring, which is all-aluminum, the boltable "ring" part of the Profoto RFi speedring is some kind of plastic, and may not have the required strength to handle the torque. Another possibility is to drill your own holes into the plate of the Chimera 3700 bracket to match the holes on your specific speedring.
     
  27. Bob said:
    I currently store a 7 foot acta with a threaded stud into the 9th hole in a speed ring and the whole thing on a stand rolling the face of the octa against a wall, and therefore not taking up too much space. The speedring isnt threaded but it stays in place.​
    That sounds like a good idea! Would love to see a photo of it someday.
     
  28. Chimera Grip Head adapter on Chimera Aluminum speedring (with Einstein / Alien Bees / Balcar insert) and Avenger D200B grip head
    00bO28-521829584.jpg
     
  29. The long protruding screw is not one of the standard issue ones; it's just one I grabbed from a box of screws.
     
  30. Thanks for posting that, Ellis! Ultra-rad!
     
  31. Ellis, thanks. Looks really solid.
     
  32. Chimera also makes what they call a "Heavy Duty Stand Mount" which is a massive "Y" shaped yoke.
    http://m.bhphotovideo.com/mobile/detail?R=13174_REG&
     
  33. I said:
    I may try to adapt it to the holes in my Profoto speedring. But, unlike the Chimera speedring, which is all-aluminum, the boltable "ring" part of the Profoto RFi speedring is some kind of plastic, and may not have the required strength to handle the torque. Another possibility is to drill your own holes into the plate of the Chimera 3700 bracket to match the holes on your specific speedring.​
    I was mistaken. The black "plastic" ring on the Profoto speedring is actually powder-coated steel. Looks like I'll be able to adapt the Chimera grip-head bracket directly to the Profoto speedring by drilling a second hole in the Chimera 3700 bracket (which has the most blank-space), specific to the location of the bolt-holes in the Profoto speedring.
     
  34. Unfortunately, the Chimera grip-head adapter won't attach too securely to the Profoto speedring, since there is no flat surface for it to mate with. I know I could simply insert the smaller-than-standard Profoto softbox pins into the larger Chimera speedring receiver and be all set, but that little bit of play would tend to allow the assembled softbox to relax at a slightly smaller dimension than originally designed.
    Bob said:
    I currently store a 7 foot acta with a threaded stud into the 9th hole in a speed ring and the whole thing on a stand rolling the face of the octa against a wall, and therefore not taking up too much space. The speedring isnt threaded but it stays in place . . .​
    Looking at my Profoto RFi speedrings, there are also extra holes, which are threaded, in the perimeter of the steel ring (in the same orientation as the softbox-pin holes). All I would need is a threaded bolt that ends in a baby pin, and I should be able to rig the same set-up. They appear to be 3/8"-20 threads.

    If it's a 3/8" threaded receiver in the Profoto speedring, then I'm all set since Modern Grip Equipment happens to make a 3/8" male-threaded-to-baby pin, part no. 006-1692. Plus, MGE will custom make almost anything at very modest prices.

    Modern Grip Equipment baby pins: http://www.modernstudio.com/58341hardware.html
    Now, the question remains if a single 3/8" steel threaded rod is strong enough to handle the torque imposed by an extra-large softbox and a heavy monolight.
     
  35. Profoto RFi speedring hard-mount ideas:
    On the Profoto RFI speedrings (which are different from standard Profoto speedrings), there are two 3/8"-20 threaded holes (in addition to the eight holes for the octa softbox pins). They are located 90-degrees apart. A quick check of the Profoto site revealed no information as to what these are really for. If a single 3/8"-threaded baby pin is strong enough to hold a softbox and monolight, then fine. If I need two points of attachment, that's going to get a little tricky. Any thoughts or suggestions are more than welcome!
    Profoto RFI speedring:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  36. Here's the 3/8"-20 baby pin:
    [​IMG]
     
  37. I quickly realized that I will need two points of attachment, or else the whole rig will twist. I could attach two of the threaded baby pins to the speedring (which are 90-degrees opposed). Then, use a 20" or 40" extension arm and grip head, attaching both the extension arm's built-in grip head, and the sliding grip head, articulated in a way such that both pins may be secured by the two grip heads.
    I would then slide a third grip head onto the extension arm for mounting to a standard baby stand or C-stand. Perhaps not the most elegant solution, but it should be pretty secure. Something like this (you'll have to imagine the two baby pins in place):
    [​IMG]
     
  38. Or . . .

    Simply mount the monolight using its own baby receiver normally (using its own tilt bracket to set tilt-angle), and use a single 3/8"-threaded baby pin in the speedring as an attachment point for a "tilt-lock." A 20" extension arm could be mounted to both the stand and the edge of the speedring, making for an adjustable "support" arm.
    A Cartellini or Mafer clamp could be attached to the stand (below the light), then, a grip head attached to that. Then, the extension arm could be easily adjusted by sliding it back-and-forth through the grip head, to "assist" in securing the desired tilt-angle.
     
  39. It seems to me that you are trying to make the rigging as complicated as possible. My advice is to actually try the RFi
    softbox with it's very slightly smaller diameter pins in a Chimera speedring and use the Grip head adapter. I have my
    doubts that you will see much if any appreciable difference in the tautness at the front of the softbox.
     

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