DIY Ways to Diffuse Light

Uploaded by playgallery on 03.11.2010

In this demonstration, I’m going to talk to you about how you can diffuse light. Sometimes
there are scenes or situations where the lighting is too harsh and you actually want to soften
it before it hits the subject. What we’re going to construct today is a device that
can help you to do that using kind of inexpensive materials.
To make a diffusion device, you’ll need some sort of semi-transparent material. In
our case, we’re going to use silk organza. I’m going to hold it up so you can see how
actually the light can get through this material.
If you double it up, which is what you can do with some of these semi-transparent materials,
you can see that less light gets through. So depending upon the light source and how
much light you want to diffuse to your subject, you can choose to either use it when it’s
at its thinnest weight or you can double it up.
The other part of the diffuser is the frame. So you can construct a frame using a quilting
hoop. So this is an example of a quilting hoop and they come in various sizes.
You could also make a frame using foam core, which is what we’re going to do in this
demo. Again, your foam core can vary in size and so can the inner shape of your diffuser.
The other material you might consider using is PVC pipe. It’s actually a plastic pipe
that you can purchase at a local hardware store, and they come in long poles like this.
And then you can purchase these attachments. So to begin to construct a frame using PVC
pipe, you would have the hardware store cut it to the length that you want, and then attach
it to begin to construct the frame, like this.
A completed PVC frame might look like this. And again, it can be various sizes. So this
is four pieces of PVC pipe with connectors at each end.
If you choose to use a PVC pipe frame, the next thing I’m going to show you is how
to attach your material to the frame, but in this case, you might choose to either use
a stapler so could wrap the material around and then staple it, or you could even sew
it just to itself. You could make a slip cover and sew it around, or you could use rubber
bands or elastic.
The same thing could be applied to something like this. For the foam core we’re actually
going to staple it to the foam core. So to make this frame, just take a regular piece
of foam core and draw lines that would give you a, I guess a wide enough frame that it
still feels like it’s sturdy enough. So we use three inches here. So three inches
on all sides. If you chose to use a larger piece of foam core, you might end up having
a wider frame or you might choose to double up your foam core so that it’s even sturdier
that way.
So after you make your cuts, so to make your cuts, you would actually use just an X-ACTO
blade, an X-ACTO knife, and a straightedge like we did in the previous demo. And make
a score and then make a cut, and then remove the inner part of the foam core, to get something
like this.
After you have that, you can choose how thick you want your diffusion material to be. So
again, this might be a little bit of experimentation where you place this material, even just hung
like this in front of your light. So between your light and your subject, and you could
decide how much light you want to let through.
In this case, we want to diffuse the light quite a bit. So I’m going to layer this
by folding it several times.
The good thing about using fabric like this that comes in a larger piece is that you can
always take this apart, and then change the number of layers that you use.
So you can lay your frame on top of it.
And then we’re going to bring the edges of the material up over the frame and staple
it to the foam core. This is similar to stretching a canvas. So you want to take the center of
each part of the material and we’re going to go ahead and staple that down.
Okay, and then once you get that stapled, you can see that what happens is you’re
actually diffusing the light before it hits the subject. And I’m going to show you how
to use this in a scene.
Here’s the diffuser that we created using a foam core frame and silk organza fabric.
You want to place this in between your light and your subject to soften the light. It’s
particularly important in a case like this where the subject has reflections. So if I
place this here between my light and my subject, you can see that the light is a lot softer.
If I place it closer to the light, it’s less diffuse than if I place it farther away.
It’s more diffuse. So close and then far, and then without it. So again, this is our