Thursday, May 29, 2014

DIY Reflector & Scrim

I'm a huge fan of the Westcott Scrim Jim. I use it a lot when I'm on location shoots. Although, I haven't purchased one yet. Sometimes I use different sizes depending on the room I have access to and the gig itself might not call for the larger frame. Like the California Sun Bounce, the Scrim Jim is easy to assemble and transport. I like the Scrim Jim for its ability to mount onto a C stand, and I like the silk. California Sun Bounces are great if you have an assistant and you need to follow the talent. Both cost between $350-$500. Considering a lot of things cost about $300 it's easy to start to wonder where you should be dropping cash first. And let's be honest, it doesn't stop.

Upon hearing that Calumet Photographic Inc were closing its doors, I finally trekked into Hollywood to see if there were any bargains left for me to grab. With 9 days left till closing the store was already heavily picked over, but it never hurts to check thoroughly.

Right at the front entrance was my gold. Some black, silver, translucent & zigzag panels for bounce and diffusion. Granted the translucent material wasn't silk, but I had an idea. Calumet had  a range of sizes. I quickly found some 42"x42" and 42"x78". Alas, no frames, but at $4.40-$9.80 per piece I wasn't leaving that behind. Add a purchase of a couple of filters and a clamp, I had spend a whopping $60 and left feeling rather stoked and bittersweet. I'm happy to score a bargain but it's sad when it's due to an closure of an institution.

Next stop: Home Depot to build a frame. I was torn at first between aluminium or PVC. I like the look of aluminium, it's clean, professional but more expensive and the sizes I was after would need to be special ordered. PVC was cheaper and they had all the parts. At the advice of Fred (our friendly neighbourhood Home Depot professional) I stuck to PVC.

I headed to the plumbing dept and picked up some PVC piping, elbows and a PVC cutter. Enough to make two full frames with at both 42" x 42" and 42"x 78".

I measured my piping accurately only to discover that the fabric wasn't quite at the specifications listed. In fact, the facric was shy on the measurements by 3-4 inches on all sides. This is where the PVC cutter came in handy. I little tweaking & before you know it, I had my first frame. 

It was perfect!!! And done in the Home Depot parking lot. 

Now to the long frame. 

It worked too but felt a little flimsy on the long side. I thought back to the California Sun Bounce & decided to add a handlebar.

A few extra elbows and PVC & I finally did it.

I needed to cut the long edge in half and add a T section which ended up giving me more stability. I also purchased some glue to keep some elbows and t-parts fixed. Be sure not to glue all pieces, it's nice to be able to pull the frame apart for easy storage.

Having the handle now enables assistants to manoeuvre the bounce as needed.

The PVC, elbows, T sections, glue and cutter cost me about $25.

Granted its not a Sun Bounce or Scrim Jim, but for a total of $60 for all materials (taking out my clamp and filters), it's a handy tool for my kit and it's pretty damn close to the real thing. 

Now, what was next on my list of things to buy...

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