Grids for softboxes

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by steven_finlay|1, Nov 12, 2004.

  1. Hi,

    A week or so ago I posted a question about how a particular
    softlighting style was achieved. One of the posters stated it might
    be a grid on a softbox and it turns out that a grid is just what was
    used. I found a thread on another site in which the photographer
    stated that was what he used. That photo apart, just how
    useful/necessary is such a grid for product photography? I ask,
    because I looked at the price of one for my Bowens Wafer 100
    (Plume?) softbox only to find it costs more than the softbox. I am
    therefore reluctant to pay out for something that may have only a
    few uses (and really isn't much product for what your paying).

    I'm new to product photography (and studio photography in general)
    so I don't have much experience with regards to what is required
    equipment wise.

    I'm not interested in home-brew solutions to this. I'm quite willing
    to pay if its something that is regarded as a neccesity for top
    quality results.

    Regards...
     
  2. Steven
    you would not want to put a grid on a soft box, it would not serve a purpose. A grid spot
    is used to make the light in the center of the grid directional light and then feathers the
    light to the edges .If you used a softbox it would defeat the purpose. Grid spots come in
    different sizes to give you different looks in the photos. The larger the holes in the grid
    the less effect the spot has , the smaller the holes the greater the effect. I use them on my
    white lightnings to feather light on product shots or portraits.
     
  3. There are several companies that manufacture softbox grids. Delta, Profoto, PhotoFlex and others. You can go to a site like the B&H website and type in a search for "softbox grids" and find quite a few examples.

    Grids on softboxes are quite usefull in controlling light spill on tight sets and adding a bit of directionality while maintaining the softer quality of the light. Similar effects can be achieved by carefull use of gobos, but I do recommend the use of grids when needed. I regularly encounter situations in product photography where there just may not be enough room on the set for extensive gobo use and here is where the grids really perform.
     
  4. They come into their own in the same type of lighting situation in which you would be most likely to use honeycomb grids - when the light is pointing towards the camera. A typical lighting arrangement where a softbox grid is likely to be needed is where the softbox is providing top and back lighting and so is pointing more or less towards the lens, although barn doors are often all that is needed in this situation.

    The problem can usually be solved by slight changes of angle or by using gobos but you may feel it's worthwhile getting a honeycomb grid for one softbox simply because it will make your life easier.

    Hope this helps
     
  5. I learn something new every day here.Is the softbox difusion in between the light and the Grid ,or between the grid and the subject?
     
  6. Yes Michael...there is diffusion on the face of the softbox...the grids are like rubberized or similar attachments that are placed over the diffusion panel on the face of the softbox.
     
  7. A large gridded box is nice for shooting people. They are expensive, but hard to replicate. There used to be a commercial airline part wharehouse in Seattle (which I believe is long gone) that sold great grids, better than photographic grids in some situations. What it was was the material they used in plane tanks to stop fuel sloshing, it was really really cheap too.

    For product shooting I'd suggest gobos. Or skip the box and use a screen with heads behind it. This is far more adjustable, since you can adjust the qualities of the light by altering the distance of the heads to the screen, and you can easily mask the screen with an opaque material to further adjust light.
     
  8. Wahoo! Do I get a prize for guessing right?

    As mentioned there are a few different makers. I think the brand I am familiar with is
    called Egg Crates. Check the Chimera Web site. Yes, they are insanely expensive, but if you
    like the look of the light they produce that is the only way I know to get it. If you are just
    trying to reduce softbox spill you could probably make some barn doors for you boxes
    with cardboard, black cloth (or maybe white?) and some velcro.

    For me they have two advantages: I love the look of soft, directional light; and they make
    lighting easier because you usually don't need flags.

    One potentail compromise is the Photoflex grid (louvres). Instead of a small ribbon grid,
    they are large pieces of plastic held together by elastic. The space between the plastic
    louvres is a couple inches compared with a centimeter or so on the ribbon grids. I think
    they are designed to reduce spill more than make the light more directional. They come in
    a kit with a strip mask and circle mask and can be found used for about $65 for a medium
    box.
     
  9. http://www.lighttools.com/technical1.html
    (pricey)

    I have seen a grid made from black coroplast pieces intercut into each other and velcro'd onto the softbox, if yor are handy with a sewing machine maybe it could be made for quite cheap?
     

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