|Plume Limited / Tools for Imaging||
|888 Main St, PO Box Nine, Silver Plume, CO 80476 USA|
Assembly: 1) Each of the four wands should already be installed into the four inside corner pockets of the reflective shell and should always remain in the pockets when disassembled. 2) Insert aluminum ends of the four wands into the four holes in the Wafer Ring using last the Special Tension Release Notch indicated by a red dot. (This hole first during disassembly.) 3) Attach Wafer Ring with specific adapter to reflector supports on flash head. 4) Snap Graduated Inner Baffle No. 1 OR No. 2. onto the inside elastic bands. Each baffle changes the center to corner light evenness of the front diffuser. You may also choose to use neither baffle or, rarely, both together. Make tests with meter. 5) Place Front Diffuser into position. Secure corners first, then close sides. 6) Place Closure Cowl around flash head and Wafer Ring to close rear opening. Disassembly: Reverse the above. If difficult, see section 2. DO NOT DISASSEMBLE BY PLACING WAFER ON THE FLOOR.
Section One- The Wafer Ring
The aluminum Wafer Ring serves as the structural basis of the Wafer Diffusion Bank and attaches the Wafer to any flash head. (The Wafer Ring may also be used for Chimera and Photoflex banks.) Each Wafer Ring consists of an outer ring which will support the diffusion bank and an inner adapter ring which mounts to your particular brand of flash head. In most cases, the Wafer Ring has been pre-assembled and attaches to your flash head's reflector support system in the same way as your reflectors attach (See specific notes below). Each Wafer Ring features: Tension release notch- Note the red dot marking one of the four holes in the outer support ring into which you will be inserting the Wafer wands. This marked hole has a special tension release notch at a lesser angle making assembly and disassembly easier. Use this notched hole LAST during assembly and FIRST in disassembly. (Except the HexOvals.)
Rotation- The outer support ring rotates on the inner adapter ring. You adjust the ease of this rotation by changing the tension on one or both of the "thumb nuts". Interchangeable- All our inner adapter rings can be easily removed and exchanged with a different inner adapter ring specific to another brand of flash head. To do this, remove [then replace] the four retention nuts, the bolts and the one of each pair of nylon washers. A 1/8" Allen wrench and a 3/8" socket wrench are helpful in removing the two opposite "lock" nuts.
Specific Notes on Attachment and Special Assembly:
Ascor QC8 & Balcar-All models - Attach as you would a reflector.
Monolight and -Quadmatic" flash heads)- Position adapter
ring's flange between the edge of the flash head's fixed reflector
and the outer housing, align the two "fingers" with
the notched openings in the adapter ring and tighten fingers.
Some "Quad" heads have a protective Pyrex shell held
in position by two spring/hook assemblies which may obstruct
the adapter ring's placement. If so, aim the flash head straight
up (for a little help from gravity) and carefully unhook each
assembly, attach the Wafer Ring and re-attach the assemblies.
Broncolor- Universal (Older light blue flash heads)- Attach as you would a reflector. Note that the diameter of the flange on our adapter ring is slightly smaller than the corresponding flange on your reflectors. This is for easier clearance of the closure lever.
Broncolor Pulso, Flashman, Impact, Primo- Attach as you would a reflector, as our Bron adapter is made with the same part used on the Bron reflectors. The Broncolor design already allows about 350 deg. of rotation, so you may wish to lock down the rotation of the Wafer Ring by tightening its thumb nuts. Primo head may need four extra nylon washers to serve as spacers- call.
Comet- When assembled, attach as you would a reflector. Due to shipping reasons, the inner adapter ring comes unassembled from the outer support ring. An 1/8 inch Allen wrench is included, a 3/8 inch wrench or pliers is also needed to help tighten the lock nuts. To assemble: a.] Remove the four retention nuts, the bolts and one of each pair of nylon washers from the outer support ring. b.] Place the inner adapter ring against the four remaining nylon washers with the adapter's flange up and away from, not through, the outer support ring. c.] Replace washer, bolts and nuts. Do not tighten "lock" nuts so tightly as to restrict free rotation of the outer ring on the inner ring- use the "thumb" nuts to control rotation.
Dynalite- Position adapter ring against the Dynalite flash head's accessory "boss" (the bump that holds external reflectors, barndoors, etc.). Tighten the three nylon bolts behind this "boss". (We use nylon bolts to avoid marring the flash head, but will substitute steel bolts upon request- call.)
Elinchrom- Attach as you would a reflector and lock bayonet. Caution: Older Elinchrom flash heads may not have a locking bayonet. This allows the Wafer Ring to be unintentionally removed if rotated the "wrong" direction perhaps "removing" the modeling lamp and flash tube at the same time. We strongly suggest that you obtain the upgrade kit from your Elinchrom dealer. Call Bogen Photo Corp 1.201.818.9500 for nearest dealer.
(older metal flash heads) and LH2400 (new -improved plastic flash
heads)- Attach to the Norman LH2000 as you would a reflector
except we use two bolts/bolt inserts instead of the spring pins
on the Norman reflectors. The LH2400 uses two spring metal clips
to "bayonet" the reflectors into place- maybe good
for reflectors but too light-duty for lightbanks. Replace the
upper spring metal clip with the "support bar" included
with the Norman adapter: a.] Remove the round handle and the
spring clip from the top of the LH2400. b.] Position the support
bar with its "center" hole pressed down around one
of the adapter ring's threaded bolt inserts with the "holeless" end
of the bar against the adjoining face of the adapter. c.] Put
adapter ring's "boss" (the "bump" around
the inside opening) against the front of the flash head, position
the end hole of the support bar over the round handle's threaded
hole in the LH2400 and replace handle through support bar. Note:
assembly to the LH2000 does not use the support bar and the LH2400
does not use the bolts except possibly to retain the support
Novatron-Barebulb model- Attach as you would a reflector. [Note on Standard Novatron flash head- Its deep fixed reflector is excellent with umbrellas, but inappropriate with lightbanks especially with the -barebulb Novatron available. The barebulb flash head is a good investment for use with Wafer and many other applications.]
Photogenic-heads with removable reflectors, i.e. AE-10, Powerlight- Attach as you would a reflector. The Photogenic design already allows full rotation, so you may wish to lock down the rotation of the Wafer Ring by tightening its thumb nuts.
Speedotron-All Blackline and M5 Brownline- Attach as you would a reflector. Caution: The Speedotron flash head lacks any bayonet lock. The Wafer Ring may be unintentionally removed if rotated the "wrong" direction (possibly "removing" the modeling lamp and flash tube at the same time). Tighten your Speedotron head's bayonet posts and keep the Wafer Ring adjusted loosely to reduce this problem. Note on 202VF flash head- as this Variable Focus head will accept all standard Blackline reflectors, it will also accept our Wafer ring without the purchase of special 202VF red -knob. Leave -focus forward so there is plenty of air space between the flash tube and the inner Wafer baffles. There is no -focus inside a lightbank.
Sunpak 4000- Attach as you would a reflector.
Two - Wafer and its Assembly and Disassembly -
The Wafer Diffusion Bank is a unique flash head accessory which transforms raw flash into a broad even light better suited to the constraints of film contrast and commercial advertising aesthetics than any similar product available. The Wafer features a very narrow profile, silver with white interior surfaces, a removable front diffuser, a fiberglass closure around the flash head, two graduated inner baffles for contrast changes and a "duffel" style stowage bag.
Assembly of the Wafer Diffusion Bank onto the Wafer Ring is the simple "pole-in-a-hole" concept- put each of the four wands (the poles) into each of the four holes in the four corners of the Ring. Use the special notched (red dot) hole last and make certain each wand is well seated in the bottom of the hole, especially the last notched hole. Disassembly is a little more difficult than assembly due to the forward bend of the wands and the tight fit of the reflective shell on the four wands:
a.] Remove the Wafer from the flash head. And begin with the wand in the notched hole (red dot). Brace the Ring opposite this notched hole with one hand and with the other hand, lever the wand back towards your body thus reducing the forward tension between the wand and the inside wall of the hole. Elimination of this forward tension is the key to this maneuver, not strength.
b.] At the same instant the wand is levered backwards, press the thumb against the side of the Wafer Ring to move the wand out of the hole and away from the Ring at least a quarter inch. Let the wand fall into the release notch (red dot) from which it will be much easier to remove.
c.] Remove the remaining three wands in much the same manner.
Alternate Disassembly Method #1- Brace the Ring against hip with one hand. Use the entire strength of other hand and arm on wand to lever the wand backwards as above and remove the first wand.
If all else fails, Alternate Disassembly Method #2- Leave Wafer attached to the flash head and the flash head on the light stand. Back the light stand/flash head against a wall (table or post). Remove the front diffuser and baffle from the Wafer. Rotate the notched hole straight down. From inside the lightbank, brace the upper wand with one hand while grasping the lower wand near the Ring hole with the other hand, placing forearm and elbow against the wand. Push wand towards the wall with elbow and forearm to reduce tension as above while pulling down with the hand to remove wand from hole. Easy! Use caution so as not to damage your flash tube/modeling lamp during this procedure.
Additional Notes for Wafer 200, Strips, HexOval and SL:
Wafer 200- The largest Wafer Diffusion Bank uses a two part aluminum wand to keep its collapsed storage size only 40" in length. (This one meter length is more or less an industry standard, cf: Manfrotto light stands, Gitzo tripods.) The outer (lower) half section of this two-part wand is black in color and pre-bent. This pre-bent section should remain in the corner pockets of the reflective shell and behind the elastic stay provided. Note that one end has a silver insert to join into the inner (top) silver wand section.
To assemble the Wafer 200, let gravity help you on this big one- begin with a short 4-1/2 foot side "overhead" and insert each of the straight silver sections onto the black pre-bent sections already in place inside the Wafer. Then, with "everything still up in the air", insert these first two wands into the Wafer Ring. Now add the silver section to the two remaining pre-bent sections down at your knees. Insert the third wand into Ring. Stop to check that first three wands are bending outwards and that each 2-part wand is seated properly into each other and into the Ring. Complete the fourth wand placement in notched hole (red dot). Disassembly can be accomplished by any of the methods described above, but consider Alternative #2 first.
Wafer Strips The Wafer Strip Diffusion Bank is half the width of our standard Wafer Lightbank, but the same length and depth, same baffles and performance. Each Wafer Strip includes a full width diffuser and a half width diffuser to be used individually, that is one or the other but rarely both. Use the full width diffuser for linear coverage but lateral contrast- 3/4 portraits, long table top. Use the half width diffuser for long highlights in the subject and portrait rim light. To assemble the Strip, start by placing the two wands of a short side into the top side of the Wafer Ring. Then complete the third and fourth wand placement of the other end.
Wafer HexOval- The HexOval Diffusion Bank is a unique oval shaped, six wand bank especially designed for fashion work and portraits because its oval shape matches the shape of the face for greater highlight-to-shadow modeling. HexOvals also have the best depth-to-light surface ratio making them the thinnest Wafer in the family.
Support "widgets" for
the HexOval (in America), are necessary for the extra fifth and
sixth wand, included with the HexOval so that a special Wafer
Ring is not required (also longer bolts, lock nuts and an Allen
wrench are packaged with the -widgets). To attach these fifth
and sixth -holes to the Ring: a.] Remove two opposite lock nuts
(or thumb nuts) and Allen bolts from the Wafer Ring using the
Allen wrench included and a 3/8" wrench or pliers. Do not
remove the nylon washers. b.] Align the widget's smaller hole
over the bolt's hole against the nylon washers with the widget's
wand hole against the outside wall of the ring. c.] Replace the
longer Allen bolts (included) through widgets and replace lock
nuts. Assemble the six wands into the now six holed Wafer Ring.
Make certain that the two 'end' wands of your oval shaped bank
(the fifth and sixth wands) are placed into the holes in the
two widgets- note the two black retaining loops to help quickly
identify the two 'end' wands (vs the other four white loops).
For easier assembly, place the 'end' wands into the widgets last.
Placement of the HexOval's front diffuser begins at these same
'ends', then adjacent corners and finally close up the six sides.
To disassemble, reverse the sequence.
Section Three - Wafer Inner Baffles -
Wafer's two unique inner baffles let you change the difference in measurable light values from the center to the corner (the "hot" spot or lack thereof) across the front diffuser to match your particular need. -Screen 1" has a more translucent graduated half-tone dot pattern printed onto its surface and Screen 2 has a more opaque graduation. After making your own tests (see margin), you may choose to use either the #1 or #2 baffle singly, perhaps neither baffle, or rarely, both baffles together. Both are color corrected to result in a slight warmth (100 º K).
Why Baffles? Different manufacturers' design of the flash tube and any integrated reflector can greatly vary the way in which the flash is projected within a diffusion bank and whether or not the light values on the front diffuser are relatively even. As an example (see margin), certain flash heads offer an extended "bare-bulb" flash tube without any integrated reflector- more light goes into the sides of the diffusion bank than goes straight forward. Conversely, some flash heads use a deep integrated parabolic reflector behind the flash tube to focus most of the light forwards allowing very little of the light to go into the sides. Between these extremes are most other flash head configurations which use a flash tube positioned against a flat reflective surface so that some light is pushed forward and some light goes into the sides. The Wafer's unique inner baffles "catch" any of these various light projections and change it to match your wishes.
Intended use- Effectiveness of the baffles assumes proper use of the Wafer. Bring the Wafer as close to your subject as possible. Only when a diffusion bank is positioned as close to the subject as possible does the work of the baffle (light evenness or lack of evenness) show itself on the subject. The possibility of closeness is one of three unique reasons to illuminate using a diffusion bank. (The other two reasons are an unobstructed reflexive highlight in the subject and the opaque backing to avoid spill onto other studio objects or flare back into the lens.) If you must use the Wafer at some distance from the subject, say more than a distance equal to the length of the diagonal measurement of the front diffuser, the light reaching the subject will probably already be measurably "even" with or without the baffles, so you may choose to use the Wafer without the baffles to gain the added light efficiency.
Color Temperature- The very neutral combination of the various Wafer layers- the silver fabric, white ellipsis, fiberglass cowl, baffles and fabric front diffuser result in a minus 100 º K shift in temperature to the warm. As the inner baffles uses slightly blue inks, this color choice is arbitrary. American photographers want a warmer bank, Europeans want one neutral and Japanese want it cooler. We kept the Wafer in the middle of the question. (See test suggested in final notes.)
Two more baffle
notes: a) One size baffle works in all sizes and shapes of the
Wafer diffusion banks (except the little Wafer SL) and are therefore,
completely interchangeable. b) Color temperature shifts to neutral
or slightly cool when #1 and #2 are used together. Tests, tests
and more tests - We strongly encourage you to make your own tests
of light contrast (evenness) and color in order to establish
your own guidelines for different subjects and film emulsions.
Measure the brightness of the diffuser itself, not some distance
from the diffuser where the light values are already mixing.
It is best to use a spot meter or flat incident disk. Measurement
of color should be both at the diffuser and at the subject.
Section Four - Wafer Accessories -
"Hard" Diffuser" This optional diffuser uses a translucent plastic material (Lexan¨ or Translum2¨) in an aluminum frame to create flawless straight edged reflexive highlights in the subject. The Hard Diffuser replaces the Wafer's fabric diffuser. Translum2 has the same light quality as our fabric diffuser and is about 600 º K warmer. Lexan features excellent durability, mimics the light quality of Plexiglas¨ and is about 700 º K warmer than our fabric diffuser. (All plastic materials we have tested which mimic the light quality of our fabric diffuser, though "reflectively" neutral, are "translucently" warm. If you need a neutral color, both Rosco and Lee offer light blue gels in 200 º K increments, "quarter blue", etc.)
To assemble, find included: the diffusion material rolled in a cardboard tube; black aluminum frame faced with double sided tape and "Velcro" on the outside edge; and four corners to assemble frame. a.] Place corners into both ends of the longer frame sides, then connect shorter sides. b.] Unroll the diffusion material and the "kraft" paper onto a flat work surface. Use the paper to keep the diffusion material clean. Weight or tape the diffusion material down onto the work surface. c.] Completely remove backing of the double sided tape from the frame and slowly place onto the diffusion material- long side first, then short, long, then short. Hint: For better tautness, bow the sides very slightly just as they are attached by pushing on the midpoint of the Velcro edge. d.] Press frame and diffusion material firmly together to assure attachment and trim excess material with mat knife. With Lexan: score first, fold over and break excess away.
Placement of Hard Diffuser in the Wafer- Attach the Hard Diffuser, with the frame side out, to the Velcro of the Wafer's front opening. This is an intentionally tight fit. Hint: Place the frame at least 3/4" into the Wafer's reflector. Get the frame behind the plastic wand tips hidden in the corner pockets as they reduce the size of the initial opening. Close up sides. Possible gaps at the corners due to the wand pockets may be closed by opaque tape placed behind (inside) the frame.
Notes: 1] Adhesive failure- Sooner or later even the best adhesives fail when exposed to heat and UV. We suggest the use of pop rivets in addition to the double sided tape for long term use or when attaching heavier materials to the frame such as Plexiglas or Polaroid's polarizer. Rivet the Velcro side strips in the same way. 2] Semi-portability- The Lexan Hard Diffuser can travel in a tube by attaching only the long sides (with pop rivets) and using the unattached short sides with corners as "stretcher bars". Or substitute hook/loop Velcro for the double sided tape making the Lexan removable. 3] Diffusion substitution- Any number of diffusion materials may be attached to the aluminum frame to substitute for our choices. Many, many fabrics, papers or rigid plastic are available. their various translucent densities can change the character of the light to your exact need. Try art and architect suppliers, home furnishing and cloth suppliers, theater and cine suppliers as well as your local photographic supplier.
Barndoor- Our "barndoor" is a 6 inch wide scrim made of 5mm Coroplast¨. It is reversible black and white- Use the black side facing the diffuser to control (graduate) or eliminate spill of the light onto the background (or lens). Use the white side facing the diffuser to add to the immediate reflective surface. Our barndoor fits both the long or short side of the Wafer Bank and the single Barndoor will travel together with a Wafer in its stowage bag. To install, recess the Wafer diffuser and attach edge of the Barndoor to the front edge of the reflective shell.
Honeycomb Grid- Use of the Honeycomb Grid results in a shielded and more directional diffusion bank. More importantly when used near the subject, a Honeycomb Grid overcomes the Inverse Law of Light to result in better color "saturation" due to a near/far exposure equivalence (See explanation in margin). The use of Honeycomb also challenges the first rule of broad source lighting which states- -the closer the diffusion bank, the less is the contrast, the more distant the diffusion bank, the greater is the contrast. Not true with Honeycomb, move closer or farther (until all the cells are "seen") and the light source stays the same relative size and the relative contrast remains the same. Both this size equivalence and the exposure equivalence result in improved and unusual color saturation with objects nearer and farther from the light. Yet another Honeycomb characteristic is the six sided reflexive highlight from the shape of the collective hexagonal cells- table toppers take note.
the HoneyComb Grid into the Wafer as you would a Hard Diffusion
Frame. We recommend attaching a piece of plastic diffusion material
to the inside of the honeycomb rather than using the fabric diffuser.
Others photographers use the honeycomb with neither diffuser
or baffles, just raw light. Try it, you decide which works best
for you. Also see note on Adhesive Failure in "Hard Diffusion
Section Five - Advance Wafer Techniques-
Polarizer- The use of a large sheets of polarized material attached to the Solid Diffusion Frame results in reduction of glare and much improved color saturation. By combining a polarized diffusion bank with a polarization filter at the lens, you can eliminate [or greatly reduce] any reflexive highlight in the subject. This is useful in difficult subjects such as products with plastic wrappings or computer monitors or eyeglasses. The best material is available direct from the Polaroid Corporation. They have many different types available. We suggest "NH38" at a cost of approximately $100. Minimum purchase [in the USA] is $200. Unfortunately, the material from Polaroid is only available in a 50x120 cm pieces. You must seam [by transparent tape on the inside of the sheet] two pieces together for a Wafer 100, for instance. Again, we recommend "pop rivets" through the Polarizer and into the frame including Velcro edge strips. Note where to order under Final Note #6.
Color changes- Small repeatable changes- to change the color temperature about 100 º K to 150 º K Attach a light colored gelatin of the desired color shift or colored reflective foil behind the flash head onto the Wafer's closure "cowl". Here there is only an influence of color and not the full color of the filter or surface itself. The color mixes against the Wafer's inner baffle so that efficiency and light quality remain largely unchanged. Remember that a Wafer cowl fits any size or shape Wafer. To create a inner cowl "tweak" filter, you need a gel or foils of the desired color- light color work best, a mat knife or scissors and 20 cm of 2 cm adhesive loop Velcro: 1.] Place the Wafer's Closure Cowl, white side down, onto the gel or foil Using the Cowl as a template, carefully cut the gel or foil around the inside and outside of the Cowl. 2.] Next, reduce the outside dimension of the cut gel or foil as above by about 2 cm or the width of the inside Velcro edge. BUT leave tabs on the gel or foil at its midpoints and corners. See drawing. 3.] Cut the Velcro into 2 cm squares- nine squares per gel. 4.] With the gel or foil laying against the white side of the Cowl, attach each piece of Velcro onto side of each tab between the gel and the Cowl. 4.] Attach the gel to the Cowl and the Cowl with attached gel onto the Wafer. We suggest you make your own tests with color meter or film to determine the amount of "influence" each surface will have with your particular flash head. Different flash head's tube/reflector configurations together with your choice of Wafer inner baffle will affect the amount of color change (see "Why Baffles?" in Section 3). For your nearest cine filter source, see the Rosco and Lee listing in the Sources list in final notes or ask your WAFER dealer for the best supplier.
Up to 400 º K color changes- take a color marker sold a art suppliers to mark on the mylar cells used in overhead projectors. Mark directly only the Wafer Inner Baffle with the marker of the desired color. A 6 cm grid is a good patter to use, but any repeatable pattern will work. Make repeated applications of the marker onto the same pattern. After each application, test the color change with a meter or film test. Baffles can be tuned to exact film stock requirements and can be used in different sized Wafers with similar results.
Large and exact changes in color- use full sheets of color gels placed wall to wall inside the Wafer as least 20 cm from the modeling [pilot] light. Clip or tie filters to the wands. Do not use adhesives or tapes. Do not simply attach the filter to the Inner Baffle as a distinct color shadow will result on the front diffuser.
graduations- Color graduation add a wonderful sophistication
to lighting with diffusion banks, especially with product and
portraits. Placement of partial color or neutral density gelatins
within the Wafer together with the Wafer's graduated Inner
Baffles will result in color or value [or both] graduations
across the front diffuser, preferably a solid diffusion frame
to avoid screen defects. Distance from the front diffusion
panel will determine the quality or speed of the graduation.
But it is easiest to use the Inner Baffle position and the
Inner Baffle itself to attach and stabilize the gelatin. Again,
position the gelatin to the three interior walls of the Wafer
by use of clips or ties, not adhesives. Experience says to
make a slight U shape in the middle of the free edge of the
gelatin to result in a straight edge graduation.
Section Six - Some Common Questions Answered -
Why use a lightbank? Three important reasons: 1] The clean unobstructed reflexive (incident) highlight in the subject. 2] The possibility of light-to-subject closeness. 3] The lightbank's opaque backing to avoid light spill onto other surrounding objects or flare back into the lens.
Why a lightbank vs. an umbrella? An umbrella is for rain and a light bank for lighting. But seriously, folks! Every possible kind of light has its strengths and weaknesses. No one way is correct for every occasion. There are as many ways to "correctly" light a subject as there are subjects to light. Which is exactly what keeps a good number of different photographers working and, at the same time, keeps a good share of them totally confused. An umbrella is a large broad source of light and when compared with a lightbank of similar surface area placed at the same distance and position from the subject does results in similar contrast. However, an umbrella's reflective surface is three dimensional (a portion of a concave sphere) sending light in more directions than toward the subject- great when an umbrella is used with "fill" cards, not so great when shooting in a small green hotel room. A lightbank is a flat, very two-dimensional light source, so that the light is much more directional than an umbrella. Further, an umbrella, due to its pole, must be used some distance from the subject to avoid seeing the pole in the photo. A lightbank can be moved the the very edge of the frame. (Of course, you can get closer with an umbrella by using a "shooting-thru" a translucent umbrella, capture the unacceptable "back flash" with a second umbrella, and successfully re-invent the 3-D lightbank- ref: Halo, Brittdome.)
Why WAFER vs. any other lightbanks? First, better light quality which is based on our unique interior surfaces- the white side ellipsis sewn down onto the silver surfaces. A lightbank with all silver interior results in four bright corners plus a bright center value thus no clear core shadowing, but five shadows. Conversely, all white is too dull. Again, light quality is a question of taste. Which is the reason for our inner baffle set- to match taste and contrast to subject and texture. Second and the biggest selling reason for Wafer is the thinner profile- better efficiency, stability and mobility. And the more useful design, better physical components and superior workmanship compared to any other product. What is the best size and shape for a particular subject? If there is a basic rule of thumb, it would be that the optimal size and shape relationship is equal to the size and shape of your subject, that is, a standard "breadbox" sized object not larger than20x30 inches requires a lightbank approximately 20x30 inches- a Wafer 75. A full length photo of five or six people or a table with chairs, then a larger rectangular Wafer 200. For a portrait of a face which is an oval shaped subject, an oval shaped Wafer- HexOval 100 or larger. If a general mix of small subjects- a product one day, two or three people the next, then use a general window light shaped Wafer 100 or 140. And so on. Of course, this is only someone's current opinion (mine). As the fashions of lighting ebb and flow from hard to soft, it is presently much more a mix of all types of light sources, rules once made, tried and true, should be immediately broken.
What are Strip Banks used for? Wafer Strips are half the width of our regular banks meaning that as "Strips" they are a fairly wide shape. And for that reason, a Strip 140 is excellent vertically for single bank lighting of 3/4 portraits with good head to toe coverage, with better contrast left to right. Or horizontally, for a head and shoulder portrait of several people. The wide strip also makes an excellent portrait fill under or along side our regular banks. Better than a fill card as the power level is controllable. Switch to the second narrow masked diffuser when a long highlight is needed in the subject- a rifle, motorcycle, or portrait edge light or hair light.
Is there a basic one Wafer portrait set-up? Place the Wafer on a stand (or boom) next to camera position. Then rotate the Wafer so that 1/3 of the diffuser is on the far side of the camera axis and 1/3 of the diffuser is under camera axis. Thus fill and form with one flash, one Wafer.
Is there an quick way to change contrast when changing from color film to black and white film? Black and white usually needs a little more contrast than color. Without making any other changes, simply open the rear cowl and remove the inner baffle. This should be worth a Paper Grade of contrast.
Appendix- Glossary of Terms In attempting to write instructional material to describe new inventions, here are some "invented" word "explanations".
Assembly- To put into working order from a storage configuration. And it is assumed in all cases that "assembly" and "disassembly" can be done by one person.
Diffusion Bank- Also Known As Light Bank, Soft Box and SoffBox. All are coinages. The simpler, more logical "Light Box" is not used to avoid confusion with the light box used to view transparencies. George Larson invented the name -"Soffbox", a pun on the quality of light intended and the earlier "hard" light boxes made from fiberglass or metal. We have coined the term "Diffusion Bank" in an attempt (to be different and) to be more precise as these light boxes do not produce light, but diffuse it. And remember softness is a warm kitty.
Diffuser- An intentional misspelling to denote the last and final diffusion material through which the light passes from the flash head on its way to the photographic subject.
Flash head- The English and Euro English term for the American "strobe" head. "Flash" is probably a more accurate name as "strobe" is a shorten colloquialism for stroboscopic- great for discos, rare in this trade.
Integrated reflector- The reflector fixed behind the flash tube which cannot be removed. Can be flat or concave, silver or white. Not a reflector which can be added and removed.
The reflection of the light source (here, a diffusion bank) in
some part of the photographed subject. Typically the highlight
in the subject's eye of a portrait or the highlight a smooth
surface of a reflective product.
1] WAFER- U.S. Patents No. 4,669,031 and No. 5,023,756
2] Nuts! Placement of nuts We prefer thumb nuts placed inside the LightBank (nut against metal), you may prefer them outside the bank (nut against nylon washers). As you choose. Chimera Banks on Wafer Rings Works well though sometimes the rounded end caps of the Chimera support wands may allow the wands to slip out at an inopportune moment. We suggest sharpening the caps to improve their grip . Chimera Rings with Wafer lightbanks Not an intended match. The Wafer wands are a larger diameter than Chimera wands and will become jammed into the bottom of Chimera's wand holes. Also the exit angle of Wafer wands will be more extreme than intended for the reflective shell making disassembly very difficult. If you must use this combination, open up Chimera's wand holes with a drill and the next larger drill bit that ring should still work fine with your Chimera lightbank.
3] Specific evenness- The following guide should serve only as our opinion of expected difference in light values from the diffusers center to corners. MAKE YOUR OWN TESTS: BAREBULB Flash such as Bron Pulso (Swiss), Profoto (Sweden), Comet (Japan), Speedotron (USA), Novatron Barebulb (USA) No baffle-1.3 stop #1-.7 stop #2-.2 stop #12-Not Rcmd FLAT REFLECTOR Flash such as Bowens Traveller (England), Bron Impact (Swiss), Elinchrom (Swiss), Norman LH2000 (USA), Balcar with a dispersal ring (France). No baffle-2 stops #1-1.2 stop #2-.6 stop #12-.2 stop CURVED REFLECTOR such as Bowens Mono (England), Bron Standard (Swiss), Balcar (France), Dynalite (USA) No baffle-3 stops #1-2 stops #2-1.3 stop #12-.5 stop.
4] Best Test for contrast and color variations- [And before you call us.] Use a single roll of film to eliminate differences in film stock and processing. A short roll is fine- 120 or 135-12. Choose a colorful subject with reflexive highlights if possible. Subject should be about the same size as the diffusion bank you intend to test. Expose test roll as follows: [Frame 1.] Direct flash , no diffusion bank. [Frm 2.] Minus 1/2 stop bracket of Frm 1. [Frm 3/4.] Flash plus a known and familiar diffuser in a typical position, not the Wafer- use a favorite umbrella, diffusion screen or another light bank, home-made or bought. And -1/2 stop bracket. [Frm 5/6.] Flash with Wafer with #1 baffle as close to subject as possible. Bracket. [Frm 7/8.] Flash with Wafer with #2 baffle, no other change. Bracket. [Frm 9/10.] Flash with Wafer, no baffle, no other change. Bracket. [Frm 11/12.] Flash with Wafer no baffle, but pull back Wafer at least four times its present distance to subject. Bracket.
5] Why honeycomb
is worth its outrageous price- Normally a first meter reading
at 6 inches from the front diffuser when compared to a reading
at 12 inches should be two stop less light (double the distance).
And a reading at 24 inches should be two stops less light than
at 12 inches and four stops less than the reading at 6 inches.
True with the Inverse Law of Light, but not true with Honeycomb-
with Honeycomb, all readings would be the same f/stop. Why? The
meter at 6 inches "sees" a smaller, though brighter
collection of individual cells. At 12 inches, the meter "sees" a
numerically greater number cells equal to their reduced brightness.
The same at 24 inches. Until the distance is reached where the
meter "sees" all the cells, then the Inverse Law takes
World flash manufacturers [addresses "they" don't want you to have] plus Rosco, Lee and Polaroid- These are the addresses of the manufacturer, not the importer. In this day and age of fax and e-mail, get to the bottom line asap.
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