Personal View site logo
Make sure to join PV on Telegram or Facebook! Perfect to keep up with community on your smartphone.
Diffusing your lights
  • I got a great tip from a lighting gaffer the other day - if you want to produce the most beautiful soft light from your LED panels, try sticking a sheet of Depron in front of them. It's a closed cell foam used by model maker hobbyists for aircraft skins, and in a 2mm thickness, transforms the light from your LED's. As you can imagine, it's dirt cheap, and works brilliantly.

  • 13 Replies sorted by
  • One minus of such solution - it block much more light compared to usual diffuser filters,

  • I just got the 1024 LED off of deals and plan on using something like this Softbox to diffuse to a nice soft source. I have a shoot this weekend and will let you know how it works.

  • Making soft light always wastes a lot of the output, but it can look amazing.

    Book lights are fantastic for soft, even lighting. Simply aim the light at a piece of showcard, foamcore, or other white, reflective, flat surface, then bounce that light through a piece of diffusion at the talent. Tracing paper makes terrific diffusion for this (hang a long roll from a C-stand arm and then roll it back up at the end of the shoot - reuse indefinitely); frosted shower curtains are also great. You're far from the light source so melting or burning isn't an issue (especially with flos or LEDs). There are some DPs who bring no equipment to set but a roll of 1000H.

  • @RatLabProductions Looking forward to your results. I also want to get one like this.

  • I use a 1.0m x 1.5m scrim, very helpful when an interviewee feels the lights are to bright. I love d Depron for modelling, however I guess that it hasn't got even opacity through the colour spectrum.

    Reckon it would bounce well though!

  • Another solution may be to cut at good size a white plexiglass

  • Guys, check out this diffusion slider tool on Lee's website -

    It's a more precise way to observe how much diffusion vs. light loss you can expect with the various diffuser sheets that they sell. I've had great luck using their diffuser products on different size/brand LED panels.

  • @Mance

    The light preformed well. I used it as a soft backlight for a 2 person intv with a tota 750 in chimera as key light. Boy do those totas get hot but can't beat the light/$$.

    I'd say the 1024 bi colour panel is about as bright as a 500w tungsten but that is just going by eye. I'm sure the single colour is brighter as all LEDs are lit instead of a mix. The softbox worked great and produces a nice soft light. The colour was good to my eye but I wasn't pixel peeping but overall I like it a lot. We will see how it holds up to regular use and abuse.

  • @atLabProductions Thanks for your details. Mine is the daylight one. It's brighter and perform well.

  • Light loss isn't the most important thing when talking about diffusion. The light output is ultimately in service of making it look nice, and that often means sacrificing a lot of stop to get a nice soft source. Think about something like unbleached muslin- light coming through it is really soft, but it is reduced by 3.5 stops or so. Much less expensive and readily available are bedsheets. Hang a sheet in front of a sunlit window and you get a beautiful source.

    And don't forget that the size of the source relative to the subject has a tremendous effect on how soft the light appears. Put 10 layers of diffusion in front of a light, but if the diffused source is not bigger, then it's not that much softer.

    Also, I have to mention that there are other great softbox options that are much more convenient than hanging large fabrics in front of your lights. There's the one @ratlab productions mentioned, then there are the nifty mid-priced inflatable softboxes, and higher-priced Chimeras as well.

    disclaimer: Airbox Lights is my company.

  • Curious: how is the Airbox light better than the one ratlab linked to?

  • @rottencarcass Sorry or the late response- I didn't follow up on this thread for a bit. Differences between an Airbox softbox and the one linked to:

    The linked softbox has to go on a panel of that exact size, with barn doors. It has no structure of its own, it's more of a bag that slips over the barndoors. An airbox can go on a range of different panels, or even on things that aren't really panels like the Westcott Flexlite. Airbox softboxes have a front sleeve so you can add additional diffusion or color. The base diffusion layer is half soft frost, which you can check out on the lee filters like that was provided by someone else. The linked softbox is cheaper, but I don't know if it's backed by a 1-year warranty like ours are. Airbox softboxes can take eggcrates to direct the light and control spill. Airbox softbox front face is larger than the one ratlab linked to.

    bias advisory: is my company. I developed them because I wanted a cheap, light and easy solution for LED diffusion.

  • @airboxlights

    What are you thinking about adding remote phosphor to your air things? Seems to be natural.

    So inside you have very compact UV leds. And all the big light is very tiny if not inflated.