View Full Version : Who makes the most rigid reflector panels?

David R Munson
25-Oct-2007, 10:03
The subject of the thread says it all. I was on a windy shoot yesterday and was reminded of just how much of a pain the collapsible circular reflectors can be in the wind. That is, they're practically useless. Who makes particularly rigid reflectors? I know California Sunbounce makes what looks like a very rigid system, but I've never used them. Any thoughts?

Ralph Barker
25-Oct-2007, 10:57
Almost any reflector becomes a sail in the wind. How much so depends on materials and weight. The only really stable ones I've seen are those from God.com (granite, sandstone and other models available, but portability is limited). ;)

You might also look at movie-set reflectors at Matthews Grip (http://www.msegrip.com/).

David R Munson
25-Oct-2007, 11:03
Well, they all become sails, but my problem with the usual kind is that they flex like crazy in the wind. I had a really hard time keeping the light on the subject because in every strong gust the reflector would totally lose its shape. I can stand the sail-effect, just not the constant shape-changing.

John Kasaian
25-Oct-2007, 12:33
A white 1967 Cadillac with a Blue Coral or Simoniz wax job works pretty good. More portable than El Capitan :D

Ralph Barker
26-Oct-2007, 09:08
. . . I can stand the sail-effect, just not the constant shape-changing.

Understood. That's why I suggested the Matthews Grip reflectors. They appear to be rigid panels, as opposed to stretched fabric.

26-Oct-2007, 18:25
I don't know which brand is good, but mine $5 reflector bought in China is very rigid, I need someone help me to fold it.

26-Oct-2007, 18:43
California sunbounce are the ticket--they're rigid but you will need a California sun BOUNCER to hold them for you in a wind.

Frank Petronio
26-Oct-2007, 20:01
Foamcore with wooden 1x2 frames if you must.

27-Oct-2007, 13:27
Another vote for California Sunbounce - the frame design makes them rigid. Frank's solution would be as good and much cheaper though!

David Whistance

David R Munson
27-Oct-2007, 14:17
Frank - I'll probably go with your method for now (it's so obvious it's great), but will go for the California Sunbounce when I can afford it. In the past, I've made reflectors out of cotton bedsheet fabric with aluminum foil bonded to it with 3M spray adhesive (it works surprisingly well, actually) on a makeshift frame, but it's a messy process and I don't want to risk losing any more of my security deposit on my apartment! :)

Dave Wooten
27-Oct-2007, 14:19
Foamcore with wooden 1x2 frames if you must.

yep :)

good stuff, white and silver backing is avaialble in the thick insulation type.

Can be cut and "folded" with tape, or just put them on your roof rack....

JW Dewdney
28-Oct-2007, 04:52
I find half inch sheet steel with a first-surface mirror coating particularly good for this application... a little hard to manoeuver however...

28-Oct-2007, 08:54
In the motion picture business we use 1" "bead board" insulation from the lumber yard covered with foam core on one side for rigidity. The edges are taped with 2" gaff tape to hold it together. That's generally as complex as it gets for anything up to 4x8 feet. 4x4 sizes can be hinged with the foam core to fold in half for portability. The light reflected off the bead board side is very soft and "creamy". Roscoflex in silver or gold can be strectched and taped to one side for more punch if there isn't direct light hitting your subject. One C-stand, sand bags, and a "Platypus" and you've got a solid bounce source that doesn't require a person to hold.

David R Munson
28-Oct-2007, 11:08
Vinny, you rock.

29-Oct-2007, 10:12
Big sheets of cardboard - from refrigerator shipping packaging - are cheep or free, and painted flat white mostly.

Massive lightstands, weighted down, or strong people, are essential to keep things from flying away. Wooden battens on the back could help stiffen the reflectors.


30-Oct-2007, 16:23
I own both the California Sunbounce and Matthew boards.

California Sunbounce is good for a soft fill but will flex in strong wind.

Matthew boards are rigid and will hold the light on your subject in windy conditions. IMO, Matthew or other hard reflectors cant' be beat for directing light over far or short distances. As others here have mentioned, be sure to use a good c-stand with sandbags or keep a grip nearby to hold it down. When hard reflectors become airborne, stuff will get smashed. :)