Lastolite’s HiLite Background; Versatility In A “Giant Light Box” Page 2

Once unfolded, you position a short steel rod in each corner to keep the front and back frames expanded. When all four rods are in place, tilt the HiLite to a standing position with a touch fastener strip running along the bottom. (Lastolite sells a Super White Vinyl "train" that can be attached to the touch fastener for full-length shots. The HiLite has a touch fastener strip on two edges, one for portrait orientation and one for landscape.)

By simply placing a colored gel over the flash head in the Lastolite HiLite, it is possible to change the background color with a minimum of effort and loss of time.

With the HiLite standing on its own, unzip one of the sides, position a flash head inside and the background is ready. Other lighting configurations are possible. A second light can be positioned on the other side, inside the box, or one of the lights can be positioned outside the HiLite and shot through the side diffuser for a softer light, or both could be positioned outside the HiLite.

Takedown is just as quick and easy. Tilt the HiLite to the floor, remove the corner rods and, with a couple of twists of the wrist, fold the box back to its original shape. A little compressing is needed to expel the air trapped inside and the HiLite stores back into its carrying bag.

Easy setup and takedown, transportability, and simple high-key backgrounds would be enough to win me over to the HiLite, but that wouldn't begin to describe the versatility of the unit. Need a chromakey background? Gel the head(s) inside the HiLite with a blue or green gel and position your subject a little farther from the unit. Want the subject against a variety of colored backgrounds? No need to change seamless--change a gel. Want more of a hot spot behind the subject? Point the light inside the HiLite toward the front diffuser. Subject too tall? Raise the HiLite on the crossbar between light stands.

Subjects can be posed within 2 ft of the Lastolite HiLite background without casting a shadow, making it ideal for small spaces and location photos.

Need a large softbox? No one said the HiLite has to be behind the subject! Move it off to the side and you have a 6x7-foot soft light that you can take on location. Looking for a shadowless beauty light? Position the HiLite behind you and you have it. Need to photograph a large group on location? Position one on either side of you with different power levels and you have virtually shadowless, ratioed lighting. And I'm betting that enterprising photographers will find ways to float a HiLite and heads above a set for an inexpensive overhead light bank.

Versatile. Portable. Affordable. The Lastolite HiLite background is a truly innovative and welcome addition to any photographer's lighting arsenal. The MSRP of the 5x7-foot HiLite is $456, while that of the 6x7-foot is $537.

Both sizes have zippered sides. Flash heads can be mounted inside and the zippers closed around them, or outside and shot through the closed side(s) for a more diffuse effect.

For more information, contact Bogen Imaging, Inc., 565 E. Crescent Ave., Ramsey, NJ 07446; (201) 818-9500;