Photographing RikeCool Solar Film Problem


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Apr 20, 2006
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#1
I am trying to photograph this rather unique problem I have with my RikeCool solar films.

Maybe I should tell the story first. I just bought a Honda Stream from Kah. I was told that I will be given RikeCool solar films with my purchase. However, when I got my car, I found out that the film has rather uneven refraction, which is very visible to the naked eye. When I asked RikeCool about the problem, I was told that these films are not the standard ones they give to walk-in customers. These are sub-standard films (compared to the standard ones given to their paying customers) that are put only on Honda cars purchased at Kah Motor. They have only implemented this for about a month, so I expect them to get more complains. I think RikeCool is not very smart to partner Kah in this rather shady deal, but that is their business decision and their long-term viability is not my concern here.

I have been trying to snap this light phenomenon with the films, but my attempts have not been wholely successful. So, I am seeking help here.

The film has high transmission of light, but has uneven refraction. So, if I were to set up my camera and tripod in the car and shoot out, I need to snap a direct light entering the car. This is a problem, because direct light has very strong contrast compared with the surroundings. Also, focus is problematic since the camera will try to focus beyond the film. I need to stick an object on the film to focus on the correct part. In addition, this effect of uneven refraction is most obvious in stereovision. Cameras, being monovision, cannot capture the full effect. Maybe someone can offer me some advice? :)

To be fair, these RikeCool films are not the only ones with this problem. I have friends who went out to buy those cheapo films on the market that go by many different brands, and they too have this problem. In film manufacturing, the plastic is extruded through rollers to produce film. It's the quality of these rollers that determine if the films have this problem. The poorer the rollers, the more severe these lines of uneveness. So cheap films tend to have this problem.
 

Apr 20, 2006
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#3
manual focus, shoot in shaded area to bring down the contrast
use smaller aperture + tripod
Thanks Ortega.

How small should the aperture be? Since I set up the tripod in my car, it is not 100% stable because the car's suspension moves a little.

I plan to bring home my laptop monitor and use the LCD screen as a subject. Since the light would be direct from the LCD screen, any refraction from the film should be brought out.

But the effect captured (if successful) would still be much less compared to what our eyes can see because of our stereovision. :(
 

lsisaxon

Senior Member
Nov 29, 2004
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#4
I am trying to photograph this rather unique problem I have with my RikeCool solar films.

Maybe I should tell the story first. I just bought a Honda Stream from Kah. I was told that I will be given RikeCool solar films with my purchase. However, when I got my car, I found out that the film has rather uneven refraction, which is very visible to the naked eye. When I asked RikeCool about the problem, I was told that these films are not the standard ones they give to walk-in customers. These are sub-standard films (compared to the standard ones given to their paying customers) that are put only on Honda cars purchased at Kah Motor. They have only implemented this for about a month, so I expect them to get more complains. I think RikeCool is not very smart to partner Kah in this rather shady deal, but that is their business decision and their long-term viability is not my concern here.

I have been trying to snap this light phenomenon with the films, but my attempts have not been wholely successful. So, I am seeking help here.

The film has high transmission of light, but has uneven refraction. So, if I were to set up my camera and tripod in the car and shoot out, I need to snap a direct light entering the car. This is a problem, because direct light has very strong contrast compared with the surroundings. Also, focus is problematic since the camera will try to focus beyond the film. I need to stick an object on the film to focus on the correct part. In addition, this effect of uneven refraction is most obvious in stereovision. Cameras, being monovision, cannot capture the full effect. Maybe someone can offer me some advice? :)

To be fair, these RikeCool films are not the only ones with this problem. I have friends who went out to buy those cheapo films on the market that go by many different brands, and they too have this problem. In film manufacturing, the plastic is extruded through rollers to produce film. It's the quality of these rollers that determine if the films have this problem. The poorer the rollers, the more severe these lines of uneveness. So cheap films tend to have this problem.
Park your car facing a brick wall with even lines (or anything with even grid lines), shoot through the windscreen and if it's really that bad, it will distort the lines on the brick wall.

If photos cannot show the problem, try using video, moving the camera across the entire windscreen to show the optical effect to the brick wall when you move the camera across.
 

Apr 20, 2006
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#5
Park your car facing a brick wall with even lines (or anything with even grid lines), shoot through the windscreen and if it's really that bad, it will distort the lines on the brick wall.

If photos cannot show the problem, try using video, moving the camera across the entire windscreen to show the optical effect to the brick wall when you move the camera across.
Thanks for your suggestions. :)

I was thinking of LCD screen because I find that the distortion of direct light (or direct reflection off a smooth surface) shows more clearly. The distortion occurs when the direct light enter the film. A brick wall, being mainly diffused light, will not show the effect that well. But what I can do is to create a lightbox with grid lines... or put grid lines on the LCD screen. Then, I should slant the lines because the distortion lines on the film are vertical. Yes, that may just work. :)

Video would probably work... but unfortunately, I don't have a video camera. :(
 

ortega

Moderator
Staff member
Nov 2, 2004
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#6
park your car facing a white wall
and use your flash to light up the wall

at least you can control how bright the wall is
 

crusher

New Member
Mar 4, 2005
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#7
So did you get to see the chio bu Rikecool admin ger?
 

Apr 20, 2006
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#8
park your car facing a white wall
and use your flash to light up the wall

at least you can control how bright the wall is
That's an idea, but I would need an external light for the wall. If I flash from within the car, it will obviously bounce off the windscreen. Then I should put lines on the wall to show off the refraction. It also has to be a small strong light source to reduce diffusion... but there is nothing I can do with the diffusion off the wall. If LCD screen fails, I will do this. But I will need to carry another light to the basement carpark. :(
 

Apr 20, 2006
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#9
So did you get to see the chio bu Rikecool admin ger?
No... not yet. Maybe this Saturday. I spoke to someone on the phone. Don't know if it is the same ger... :)
 

Apr 20, 2006
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#11
Nikon CLS or slave flash?
Nah... I have never liked flash. I don't even have an external flash unit though I can borrow one easily. Usually if the situation demands a flash, I'll just lose the shot. I'm not pro, so I can afford to lose some 'moments'. If you get paid to shoot, like weddings and stuff, then you must capture all important moments and a flash is useful.

A flash would be useful in this instance... but I would still need to bring a small table to the basement to put the external flash and slave unit... in which case, a bright light on a stand would suffice. I actually have 5000K bulbs... but then I don't think the colour temperature matters much for the shot I'm trying to take. :)
 

Apr 20, 2006
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#14
Should be her, they have only one girl. She is very hot! ;)
OK. I will probably get to see her this Saturday. Hopefully it will not affect my objectivity when I feeback the problems with the film to her... because the film is quite bad indeed. :)
 

Apr 20, 2006
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#15
to control the brightness of your artificial lights, just adjust the distance of the lights to the wall
good luck
Thanks Alex. I'll post the effect if I manage to catch it. It's not the kind of photo I like to take, but it gives me the opportunity to understand lighting better... particularly through objects of high light transmission.

It's a bit like taking a picture of a transparent bottle. Usually people light the bottle from the top, bottom or back with coloured light since the bottle is trasparent. But in this case the uneven lines on the film is small, which makes it a bit tricky. But I'm sure if I can see it, I can photograph it. I just need a bit of patience. :)
 

lsisaxon

Senior Member
Nov 29, 2004
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#17
Thanks for your suggestions. :)

I was thinking of LCD screen because I find that the distortion of direct light (or direct reflection off a smooth surface) shows more clearly. The distortion occurs when the direct light enter the film. A brick wall, being mainly diffused light, will not show the effect that well. But what I can do is to create a lightbox with grid lines... or put grid lines on the LCD screen. Then, I should slant the lines because the distortion lines on the film are vertical. Yes, that may just work. :)

Video would probably work... but unfortunately, I don't have a video camera. :(
You could use a digital PnS to shoot the video.. So is the distortion affecting the geometry or the intensity?
 

Apr 20, 2006
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#18
You could use a digital PnS to shoot the video.. So is the distortion affecting the geometry or the intensity?
It is affecting the geometry of light. The uneven refraction distorts the light. At night, you will feel like you have astigmatism.

Don't think the intensity is affected.
 

lsisaxon

Senior Member
Nov 29, 2004
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#19
It is affecting the geometry of light. The uneven refraction distorts the light. At night, you will feel like you have astigmatism.

Don't think the intensity is affected.
Then using the grid would be useful. It should show the geometry distortion pretty well.. You're going to get some distorted lines and grids with uneven sides etc. If you have grid paper, you can try photographing that through the windscreen. If you don't you can easily make one using Microsoft Excel. ;p Experiment to see what distance the grid needs to be away from the windscreen and how far the camera needs to be to get the optimum distortion.
 

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