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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting
Thread started 31 Jul 2017 (Monday) 17:45
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Portable Flag and scrim solution: Road Rags, Fast Flags or...

 
F2Bthere
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Jul 31, 2017 17:45 |  #1

I'm looking for a portable solution which will provide me with flags and scrims (don't mind having diffusion and reflector options, too, but the first two are the goal).

Best options seems to be:

1. Matthews Road Rags for weight and portability, although the cost and some reports of breakage are troubling.
2. Westcott Fast Flags for lower cost, attatching to grip heads from the corner as "normal" flags do and possibly more stable in wind. Disadvantages: some reports of coming disconnected, leading to droopy flag, fixable with gaff tape.

Digital Juice offers a more complete kit at a competitive price, but a number of problems exist. The one which takes them out of the running for me is the rough finish of the edge which ends up casting shadows in the image.

Any experience or other suggestions?

Bonus points for anyone who knows if the scrims in 24x36 from Westcott will fit on Road Rags II in 24x36, or vice versa!


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RicoTudor
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Jul 31, 2017 19:07 |  #2

I'm also interested in owner feedback, and another contender is Scrim Jim. More frequent breakage is the consequence of portable design, and exposure to the elements (wind). California Sunbounce is probably the winner in this category, but seems to require human assistants. I do know that MSE will conform to grip standards—unlike some vendors.


Canon, Nikon, Contax, Leica, Sony, Profoto.

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F2Bthere
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Aug 01, 2017 00:06 |  #3

Agreed.

Sunbounce and Scrim Jims are too cumbersome for my intended purpose. They are both good.

My needs are light weight and portable. I build my kit on the assumption that I am operating alone, since I need to do so enough. I use c-stands, so I try to keep everything else light :).


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Sturdy
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Post has been edited 4 months ago by Sturdy.
Aug 02, 2017 10:57 |  #4

Just got the below Quenox scrim 145x145cm (4 feet 9 inches) and an Avenger 2030DCBKIT :-) Will use it next week. Can't attest to durability or anything really, as I haven't used it yet. I believe the scrim is sold under the Fotodiox and Pro Studio Sollutions name in the US. It comes as a kit containing the foldable frame, a boom pole, a rosette bracket, diffuser, a white/silver reflective material, and a carrying bag. All their scrim sizes are square and transport length is the full length of the scrim. Here a few links: https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=Ok-dtd-DJDk (external link) and https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=A3QQxCqezdg (external link) Edit: Just looked up the products you mentioned, and they're both very small, so my post is probably not much of a help.


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happy2010
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Post has been last edited 4 months ago by happy2010. 5 edits done in total.
Aug 02, 2017 15:43 |  #5

Dear F2BThere,

You are an exemplary photography veteran, so my comments may not be useful to you, but I thought in the interests of POTN input, I would chime in anyway…

Matthews & Westcott would be my vote too (have been in my B&H wish-list for several years but have not had the justification to take it to the check-out stage).

Yes, your comment about the California Sun-bounce products is valid.
I’ve used the complete line of California Sun-bounce products for about a decade, excellent quality, durable (for windy applications); but yes, best used with an assistant (except for say the 2ftx3ft, or 3ftx4ft which are ok for solo use).
Also have the Lastolite SkyLite Rapid-2 products which set-up/tear-down quite quickly, but trade-off is stored/travel size is a bit large than the Westcott Scrim series.
https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=wZ4TTRNhvmU (external link) (19:42 minute video)
https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com ...stolite%20Skylite%2​0Rapid (external link)
I prefer the Lastolite’s solution for its ease of setup/tear-down, over the California Sun-bounce (which are great too, but use California Sun-bounce such as its Sun-Swatter product only if shooting in one location for a long time with wind).

OTHER SUGGESTIONS…
The following maybe not what you want or a bit of a paradigm-shift thinking, yet still complies with your criteria of:
portable, minimalist & solo use.
Everyone has to find a solution that works best for them; with no right or wrong way.
Just an FYI – I have found through numerous products & manufacturers iterations, the following effective for a minimalistic, 80/20 rule with very fast set-up/tear down, particularly for on-location applications (such as outside portraits, weddings, or events, in harsh sun, etc.)…

Large Scrim –
1 (or 2) Westcott 7ft Parabolic Umbrella – White Diffusion [Mfr # 4632]:
https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com ...bolic_Umbrella_Whit​e.html (external link)
on Mathews 7ft Reverse lightstand(s):
https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com ...7486_Reverse_Stand_​7.html (external link)
(using strobe-light-bag or camera-bag as very adequate ballast; avoids need for bulk/weight of sandbags, yet still insures a “safety-first” policy)

Smaller Scrim & Flags-
-Lastolite 30” Tri-Flip [Mfr# LL LR3696]:
https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com ...R3696_TriFlip_8_in_​1.html (external link)
(for me, of all the combo products on the market - its highly versatile: as a scrim, flag or an effective reflector and is compact, light-weight, able to use solo; with the secret gem in this product is the soft-silver/translucent fabric, which enables very flattering images. Suitable for no or low-med winds, but for med-high winds then need a rigid-frame flag, scrim or reflector).
-with Lastolite Tri-Flip Holder [Mfr # LL LA2430]:
https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com ...ash.html/pageID/acc​essory (external link)
https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=QAIpn6Yy8rc (external link) (13:17 minute video)
https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=eR7wXxvrRMA (external link) (8:13 minute video)
https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=LygxYdaMyz8 (external link) (5:523 minute video)
&/or
-Westcott 30” (or 20”, 42”, or 52”) 6-in-1 kits [Mfr# 1022]:
https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com ...Reflector_Kit_6_in_​1.html (external link)

Other Flags [for speedlights/Canon 600EX-RT’s]-
(when used either with just speedlights, or to supplement Profoto strobes B1’s/D1’s)
-Rouge Flashbenders
Large [Mfr# ROGUERELG2]:
https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com ...shbender_2_reflecto​r.html (external link)
X-Large Pro [Mfr# ROGUEXLPRO2]:
https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com ...gue_flashbender_2_x​l.html (external link)

Good luck.
Just one view…

Mary

P.S.
An example of it all put together i.e. flags & scrims (regardless of the manufacturers products utilized):
https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=f3jep4rfJLU (external link) (3:02 minute video)
Keep it light-weight & portable.


MARY

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F2Bthere
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Aug 02, 2017 22:45 |  #6

happy2010 wrote in post #18417606 (external link)
You are an exemplary photography veteran, so my comments may not be useful to you, but I thought in the interests of POTN input, I would chime in anyway.

Hi Mary,

I always appreciate your posts, which are consistently well thought out, clear, detailed and based in significant real-world experience.

I am especially glad you overcame any hesitation to post, because it is often from such posts that I glean significant tidbits, techniques and information about gear I may have overlooked or ways to use gear I may have seen but not thought of using in such a way. And I'm sure many others benefit in a similar way.

And, in point of fact, I learned a number of things from your post today and the video links you added.

Reading your post and others above, I also realized an error in my use of the word "scrim." The word can, in a lighting context, be used in more than one way (or perhaps I am still in error). :)

When I was saying scrim, what I meant was a net, which effectively cuts the intensity of the light without changing the quality (softness) of the light.

Apparently, scrim is also used for what I would call a diffuser or silk, which is a material similar to the diffuser on a softbox, which spreads or softens the light as well as reducing the intensity.

The reason I want a net is that I want to be able to use the light source as it is, but to reduce the intensity which falls on part of the subject. As an example, if I want less brightness from a subject's shirt (or hat or bald head or...). Basically, I want the quality of light falling on the subject to remain the same, but I want to "dodge and burn" in camera rather than in Photoshop :).

One key factor in this net being fully versatile is that the frame should have an open side so that there is no darker shadow cast by the frame, depending on where it is placed relative to the light and subject.

One way to get this is with three-sided flag frames which can hold a net, something like this:

https://www.adorama.co​m ...0A4QHeEAkYCyABEgLai​vD_BwE (external link)


https://www.instagram.​com/storyinpictures_co​m/ (external link)

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bobbyz
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Aug 03, 2017 00:07 |  #7

Sturdy wrote in post #18417327 (external link)
Just got the below Quenox scrim 145x145cm (4 feet 9 inches) and an Avenger 2030DCBKIT :-) Will use it next week. Can't attest to durability or anything really, as I haven't used it yet. I believe the scrim is sold under the Fotodiox and Pro Studio Sollutions name in the US. It comes as a kit containing the foldable frame, a boom pole, a rosette bracket, diffuser, a white/silver reflective material, and a carrying bag. All their scrim sizes are square and transport length is the full length of the scrim. Here a few links: https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=Ok-dtd-DJDk (external link) and https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=A3QQxCqezdg (external link) Edit: Just looked up the products you mentioned, and they're both very small, so my post is probably not much of a help.


thumbnailHosted photo: posted by Sturdy in
./showthread.php?p=184​17327&i=i207333650
forum: Flash and Studio Lighting

Let us know when you get a chance to use it.


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Fuji XT-1, 14mm f2.8, 23mm f1.4, 35mm f1.4, 56mm f1.2, 90mm f2, 50-140mm f2.8

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bobbyz
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Aug 03, 2017 00:41 as a reply to F2Bthere's post |  #8

I have couple of those in my work studio. I wish they were bigger, or at least bigger than my modifier. You can also add additional diffusion on your modifier, or on part of the modifier if needed. That would be better for outdoors working alone IMHO.


5dmk3, 35L, 85L II, 300mm f2.8 IS I, 400mm f5.6
Fuji XT-1, 14mm f2.8, 23mm f1.4, 35mm f1.4, 56mm f1.2, 90mm f2, 50-140mm f2.8

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happy2010
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Post has been last edited 4 months ago by happy2010. 2 edits done in total.
Aug 03, 2017 00:45 |  #9

Hi F2Bthere,

I totally agree with your terminology/definition of “SCRIM” (I think the same & what would traditionally be referred to as a scrim); it is just that I have noticed over say the last approximately 7 years, so many on social media use the term “scrim” imprecisely or casually; so I have just swallowed my original understanding and adapted to the “new”(less precise) reference.
[I think it seemed to shift perhaps about the time Westcott introduced the “Scrim Jim” line of products].

Regarding your original post: SCRIMS (including netting, silk) & FLAGS - I think either the Matthews or Westcott would be suitable and a nice addition for many applications, (particularly precise studio use) and the use you describe.

I have experimented with scrim(netting, silk, including DIY) with my Lowel GL-1 LED light:
https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com ...0_gl_1_power_led_ki​t.html (external link)
with limited success/use and have a scrim(netting, silk) for a couple of my California Sunbounce products, but I find it doesn’t get much use, instead I just use diffusers.

Thank you for diplomatically setting the record straight and returning us to the proper terminology, which I feel more comfortable with… i.e. Scrim referencing netting & silks (not diffusers).

Also agree with doing it in camera when possible - part of the art of photography.
(rather than Lightroom, Photoshop, etc. which while useful, can only build on a good fundamental image foundation).

Again good luck in seeking a solution.
Cheers.

Mary


MARY

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Sturdy
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Aug 03, 2017 00:47 |  #10

bobbyz wrote in post #18418016 (external link)
Let us know when you get a chance to use it.

OK :-) - will try to remember to take a few before and after pictures next week




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F2Bthere
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Post has been last edited 4 months ago by F2Bthere. 2 edits done in total.
Aug 03, 2017 09:59 |  #11

My current status on this problem: I can purchase the Westcott solution at my preferred local store, but they don't carry the Roadrags, which I suspect might be the better frame solution. They did have the Westcott in stock, so I was able to examine it.

The Westcott frames are ok, but a little flimsy in the way they connect (they seem to come disconnected easily). Once in use, this might or might not be an issue, but it will affect efficient assembly. The frames also weigh three times as much and are less compact when folded (36" plus the attatchement point in length). None of these are deal breakers, but it makes me think the Roadrags frames are better.

I have not been able to confirm if the frames are compatible with the flag/scrim materials or if there are differences in materials or workmanship on these parts. Perhaps a call to B&H or Adorama will draw up the answer. It looks like there is a larger gap between the edge of the frame on the roadrags, but I think I could fashion a solution to solve this easily enough, since the closure has Velcro on it. I suspect attachment of the bottom of the material is not necessary on the roadrags in normal conditions (although with Westcott I think it is more important to hold the frame together).

Westcott materials are less expensive. Matthews offer a broader selection of options.


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happy2010
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Post has been last edited 4 months ago by happy2010. 2 edits done in total.
Aug 03, 2017 21:00 |  #12

Hi F2Bthere,

You have probably already been down the following product-investigation/due diligence road prior to your original post, but here is perhaps some more info for you…

B&H Photo’s well-designed & established web site has quite good “Q&A” tabs regarding product inquiries (feedback from other customers or staff).
for example:
It appears the Matthews & Westcott are perhaps interchangeable according to this B&H link (Q&A):
https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com ...0596_RoadRags_II_Ki​t.html (external link)
DISCLAIMER: However, I do not have this manufacturer scrim specific product familiarity, so I don’t know the accuracy of these customer replies…
START OF QUOTE:
“”Does this scrim fit the Westcott collapsible frame?
Asked by Chris F. on Jul 17, 2016
About: Scrim Fabric Only - 24x36" - 1/4 Stop Silk
Add Answer Cancel I Have This Question Too

Yes, it does. Not sure why they don't state it, but they are made for each other.
Answered by Thomas B. purchased on Mar 31, 2015

This fabric is designed to fit the Westcott 24x36" fast flag frame #1955 http://www.fjwestcott.​com ...llapsible-fast-flag-frame (external link)
Answered by Pete F. WESTCOTT EXPERT on Jul 18, 2016
2 ANSWERS
What do you use to attach the translum to the frame? I have use scotch and packing tape but it doesn't hold.
Asked by Gary G. on Jun 29, 2015
About: 24x36" Open End Scrim Frame
Add Answer Cancel I Have This Question Too

Referring to my earlier answer using Binder Clips, first you'd need to use wire across the open end of the frame to hold the frame square and take the tension of the sprung frame.
Answered by Michael A. purchased on Jun 16, 2015

I bought mine to attach screen material for neutral density, but in the past when attaching Rosco diffusion (similar to Translum I bet) to an arm or dowel I've used the black metal "Binder Clips" sold by Staples et al. Choose four clips just big enough to go around the frame and attach at the corners or where needed, then use masking tape to keep them from sliding along the frame. It may not work if you need zero obstruction, but is versatile and reversible.
Answered by Michael A. purchased on Jun 16, 2015 “”
END OF QUOTE.

Often the “Reviews” tabs provide valuable insight too:
for example:
https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com ...0596_RoadRags_II_Ki​t.html (external link)


However, if you can’t obtain sufficient info to your satisfaction from the established often helpful retailers (like B&H, or Adorama, Samys, etc.), you may want to email a photographer like JP Morgan [aka The Slanted Lens]:
http://theslantedlens.​com/ (external link)
https://www.youtube.co​m/user/TheSlantedLens (external link)
(in the L.A. California area) who has had 20+yrs in the commercial/Hollywood/m​ovie experience and is quite possibly familiar with the product’s subtleties. While I have not met him, he seems like an approachable guy & who will likely put a smile on your face, if for no reason other than his quirky sense of humor (based on his often helpful or interesting You tubes).

Matthews RoadRags Kit Reviews-
https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=-IXM82gvQOo (external link) (2:50 minute video)
https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=T86fotRa-4M (external link) (3:20 minute video)
https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=tTMqkY-FGf4 (external link) (2:39 minute video)


Mary

P.S.
Regarding Matthews/MSE products, I have several and their quality & durability have never disappointed me.
My long-term money would be on the Matthews RoadRags II Kit (albeit initially pricey). I prefer to buy things once.
Again, Tuum est (Latin for: “it’s up to you”).


MARY

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F2Bthere
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Post has been edited 4 months ago by F2Bthere.
Aug 04, 2017 00:19 as a reply to happy2010's post |  #13

Thanks for the great collection of links and especially for adding the quotes. some of them I couldn't find even when looking for them (tablet interface?), so I was glad you included them. Several useful pieces of information.

I think you are right that Matthews is the safer bet. Buy cheap, buy twice.

I ordered one of the Roadrags frames, which may give me the opportunity to get to the bottom of the questions I have (except the quality of Matthews flag/scrim materials...probably in a later order). If the materials are, indeed, compatible, I may assemble a hybrid system. In the end, I will probably want more than two frames anyway :).

Off to explore your links more carefully... :).

Thanks again.


https://www.instagram.​com/storyinpictures_co​m/ (external link)

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bobbyz
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Post has been edited 4 months ago by bobbyz.
Aug 04, 2017 04:36 |  #14

Since we adding videos.

https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=IutUFSUH_vg (external link)
https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=u1Xm1zF8ojE (external link)
Floppy
https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=b1r489qZziw (external link)
Duckbill
https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=vRJtk-HaGUk (external link)

Maybe something to help me down the road.


5dmk3, 35L, 85L II, 300mm f2.8 IS I, 400mm f5.6
Fuji XT-1, 14mm f2.8, 23mm f1.4, 35mm f1.4, 56mm f1.2, 90mm f2, 50-140mm f2.8

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F2Bthere
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Aug 04, 2017 08:25 |  #15

Those are some well chosen videos. There is a lot of information summed up right there!


https://www.instagram.​com/storyinpictures_co​m/ (external link)

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