Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bouncer fail


Yep. I just found out why there were never a DIY guide to make a built-in flash bouncer on the net. It's because the simple bounce card is all you need to bounce flash off the ceiling. Yep. 2 full days of experimenting, I did.

I was thinking: was it better for the flash to travel upwards through a snoot in a beam, or as a scattering blast? My hypothesis was that the bouncer thing I made (called snoot here after) should be able to maintain the intensity of the flash until it leaves the tip of it, hence maximising the flash output and hence producing a stronger bounce off the ceiling.

But I was wrong. It seems a simple card that redirects the flash output upwards in a blast was more effective in producing a stronger bounce off the ceiling. Also, the closer the card is to the flash unit, the stronger the bounce. Also a wider card redirects more flash upwards, maximasing the power of the bounce.

And I was using the leftover of the milk carton (white surface) I experimented with to make V2.0. When I switched to card made with the orange juice carton (silver-y surface), the bounce intensity was weaker. I realised that the yellowish tint previously found during my experimentation with the milk carton was due to the card acting as a diffuser and a portion of the light (that was supposed to bounce off the card) went through the card. Coincidentally the other side of the card has some yellow on it. So I guess the milk carton is cleared to be used as a bounce card. Precautions can be made to reduce light diffusion by lining the back of the card with some opaque material.

This effectively denounced my 2 previous findings.

However the carton bouncer I made was still good for front and side output as the intensity was very much intact as it left the snoot.

For the bounce card:

Use a hard piece of paper-based material. The height should be a bit more than enough to prevent direct flash from reaching the subject. The length should be about 3 times the length of the built-in flash unit. Overall shape should be a rectangle. The card should be used with the longer side parallel to the horizon. If you do not want to handhold the card while shooting, cut allowance to fit the card snuggly to the body. I dunno how to describe this step so just experiment with it.

Of course, a normal business card will do for an emergency.

I'm actually enjoying this 'scientific' 'investigation', do you realise?

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