El cheapo reflector


UncleFai

Senior Member
Mar 10, 2010
4,454
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Singapore
#1
Suppose you are outdoor and wants to make a shot but the light is not quite in the right direction. You need a handheld reflector to bring in more light to areas of your subject. I know you can buy something like that. But I was just thinking, would (a) a mirror, (b) cardboard wrapped in aluminum foil, or (c) a piece of white paper, do the trick too?

Any idea?
 

Dream Merchant

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 11, 2007
9,659
6
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#2
Yes, they will all work.

Different surfaces will give you different effects - mirror - hard or representative of light source; crumpled silver foil mounted on board - diffused directional fill; white cardboard - soft fill.

Have fun experimenting! :)
 

cabbySHE

New Member
Dec 5, 2008
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#5
Impromptu situation, newspaper also can, but do not use those page with colour pictures.
 

denniskee

Senior Member
Oct 26, 2003
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bukit batok
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#6
if u ever see tv crew doing outdoor shoot, u will see them using styrofoam board taken from big styrofoam box (normally used as ice box). normally one face is bare styrofoam the other they stick alu foil.
 

pokiemon

Senior Member
Mar 5, 2005
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#7
aluminium + card board can do the trick.

but basically u just need to judge how much light you require and choose the material.

those mentioned above will have different reflective properties depending on the material so choose wisely. :)
 

Fotophilic

Senior Member
Jun 18, 2006
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big tree town
#8
i would just use anything suitable i can find in the place. Restaurant menu, white cloth, etc...
 

Numnumball

Senior Member
Mar 6, 2009
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Central
#9
Just get a dedicated reflector, its quite affordable nwadays.. All those u mentioned, not worth the trouble.. :)
 

Dream Merchant

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 11, 2007
9,659
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#10
No offense NNB, but there are way too many reflector shapes and sizes, as well as surface reflectance and textures needed in various shoots which are not available commercially. :)

TS, if you ever get to watch a cinematic or production crew at work, you'll be surprised at what you see being used as reflectors or shades - could be anything ranging from huge cardboard boxes people throw away to painted tentage tarp and groundsheets or even a cheap $1 disposable tablecloth.

Local TV/film crews here as well as commercial studios ranging from small to large (and prestigious!) seem to prefer painted styrofoam and cardboard (and anything they can get their hands on!). Besides cost, there are other reasons why a commercially-made reflector can be a hindrance rather than a help in a big budget studio shoot. I'm not saying they are not used in studios, just that there are various and different answers to various specific needs.

Having said that, commercially made general-use or 5-in-1 type reflectors are great to have around though - very convenient and affordable. ;)

Don't stop thinking out of the box to find a solution to a need. :)

All the best and have fun in your journey.
 

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