Instead of complaining about it, like I tend to do, Geller decided to design
his own line of location gear. What he came up with was the Sunbounce Pro, a
large and sturdy reflector designed to be either handheld or clamped to a stand.
This design was soon followed by another reflector that is totally unique, the
Sun-Swatter Pro. What is unique about the Sun-Swatter is that it is made to
be clamped to a telescoping pole, held by an assistant, and can be moved in
and out, virtually anywhere required to block or reflect light, quickly and
easily. This is an extraordinary time-saver for anyone on assignment, especially
when a minimum number of images are required by the client. Instead of moving
a light stand here and a light stand there every time the sun moves a degree--or
moving a light stand here and a light stand there every time the model moves
a foot--the assistant moves from place to place to assure complete coverage
and light control.
Model Kira Distler with unmodified available
sunlight and shade.
|Model Kira Distler with modified
light using a Sunbounce Pro and Mini reflector. Note that in both
images I have retouched the image exactly the same in Adobe's
But, you say, look, Anchell, if I could afford an assistant I'd have
a studio and wouldn't be reading this. Not so fast. My solution to assistants
is to always ask the model to bring her boyfriend. A model without a boyfriend?
Unheard of. As soon as he shows up I put him to work. Won't work? That's
okay. The old ways still work--the entire Sunbounce line attaches to light
stands using clamps and accessories--you just won't be able to take
full advantage of the Sun-Swatter's mobile capabilities.
Sunbounce light panels are well designed, lightweight, easy to assemble, easy
to store and carry, and strong enough to stand up to professional abuse. I have
yet to find a system as well made as Sunbounce, outside the motion picture industry
(motion picture gear is the best made and the most reliable--it is also
the heaviest and most expensive). And because Sunbounce is designed to be used
on stands as well as handheld, the light panels work beautifully in the studio
with strobe or incandescent lights.
Using a reflector only increases the amount of light falling on the subject's
shadow side. But there is much, much more to modifying and controlling light
than the amount. For this reason the Sunbounce line includes more than just
reflectors. Sunbounce also makes flags, scrims, diffusors, and cucoloris, items
not normally offered by other reflector companies. And just what are flags,
scrims, diffusors, and cucoloris? These are basic light-modifying panels used
by the motion picture industry--who invented both studio and location light
Sunbounce light modifiers on Avenger C-stands with attenuated arms.
Note the use of sandbags to hold the stands in place. Always use
sufficient sandbags when on location to avoid a catastrophe. The
sandbags seen here are from Bogen Imaging Inc.
A flag is used to block unwanted light. Flags can be used to protect the camera
lens from flare or to control spill light from other sources, or keep light
from reaching certain areas on the set. As "light blockers" they
were used extensively in the '50s for film noir lighting. Flags are usually
black and opaque.
A scrim is also used to block light, but not in the same way. While scrims can
be either semiopaque or translucent, black or white, their main purpose is to
soften the light. Place a scrim in an overhead frame, such as those available
from Sunbounce, and you have instant wraparound soft light in the brightest
Diffusors and cucoloris are both types of scrims. The specific purpose of a
diffuser is to soften the light falling on the subject, either from the sun
(overhead/location) or studio lights (side/overhead/studio). A cucoloris is
a specialized diffuser, usually made of two pieces of translucent diffusion
material sewn together with an opening at one end. Any number of items can be
stuffed inside a cucoloris--leaves, more diffusion material, an ex-spouse--in
order to create a lighting pattern other than the flat, even lighting created
by normal diffusion material. This is a technique often utilized in films to
add drama or special effects to otherwise uninspired lighting. The cucoloris
holder is also known as a Le Louche and it can be used as a stand-alone diffuser
without the cucoloris material inserted. All of these light-modifying tools
are made by Sunbounce in a variety of sizes, up to 20x20 ft, for their Sun-Scrim,
with frames to match.
Which brings us back to where we began. Not everyone has a studio available
to them. If you are lucky you have a back yard. If not, a park, beach, or riverfront
location can all be good places to photograph. Be certain to have a permit if
it's a paid assignment. However, if you are photographing for fun, or
working on a model's portfolio, you usually don't need one--if
you're not certain call the city and ask.
For more information, contact Sunbounce USA, 29488 North Sequoia Rd., Santa
Clarita, CA 91387; (661) 252-9460; www.sunbounce-usa.com.