Tips On Light Diffusion

Tips On Light Diffusion

Affordable Vellum For Light Diffusion

I like putting a sheet of diffusion paper (vellum) in front of each light.  The industry standard is from Rosco, with a 25 by 4 foot roll costing over $125.

You can certainly get by with a roll half as long by 3 and 1/2 feet from Dietzgen for half the price.

With careful use, the paper can be reused several times.

The C-47 clips that we all use to attach the paper to the lights are just a fancy show business name for common wooden clothes pins.



ABOUT PHIL RAMUNO:  Phil Ramuno is an award-winning director, producer, writer, photographer, teacher and published author.  He co-authored the best-selling ‘Sitcom Career Book”.  He has directed hundreds of projects including theatrical, pilots and episodes of American and international network and syndicated situation comedies. Phil is an adjunct professor at The University of Southern California prestigious graduate film school and has also taught at both Emerson College and Endicott College in Boston.

Phil Ramuno shares his on-set ‘must-haves’ and ‘wish list’ from the set of BzSpotlight – the Business Webisode Series.

BzSpotlight provides corporate and custom video in the greater Los Angeles area.

Neewer Sand Bags

Weighing In On Equipment Safety: Neewer Sand Bags

So, by now I have encouraged you to shop for a $100 strobe light, a $35 remote for the strobe, $30 for two light stands, a $6 bracket and $10 for a photo umbrella.  We are still under $200, so what else do you need?   Well, you need to protect your small investment.  Get some sort of weight to keep the light stand from falling over, especially outdoors and when you have an umbrella sticking out and acting like a sail.

Neewer again comes in at a bargain price with 4 bags for under $15.


You can fill these with sand, gravel, nuts and bolt or ball bearings.  Just understand that the sharper the fill, the more chance of eventually wearing a hole in the fabric of the bag.  Also weighing them down too much can put a strain on the stitching that is holding the cloth handles.

You now have everything for a great one light set-up.  Classic lighting, however, is three point light with that main light at the 45 degree angle and something on the opposite side of lower intensity to fill any shadows and a third light behind to separate the subject from the background.  Letting some daylight in the room that you are shooting can certainly work for these other two sources.  Just notice where the natural light is coming from and use it to your advantage.  In a future review I will talk about using a reflector for a secondary source.

LimoStudio Photo Umbrella

Soften Your Lighting: LimoStudio Photo Umbrella

If you have followed my previous reviews, you are well on your way to creating beautiful studio quality photos for a minimal investment.  The real secret to “beautiful” is the quality of the light.  Flashes tend to be a bit harsh and cause sharp shadows.  The trick is to use soft light.  That’s why people in outdoor shots look beautiful on cloudy days.  The trick for when you don’t have that cloud cover or if you are shooting indoors, is to soften the light source yourself.  The easiest way is to use some diffusion on the light or in front of the light.

If you look at the bracket that I recommended to hold your flash,

you will see a hole halfway up that is intended to permit the use of a photo umbrella to be mounted.  Putting the umbrella between the light and subject will diffuse the light.  The rule of thumb is “the larger the light source, the softer the light.”  So I am recommending a 43″ umbrella that you should shine the light through and place it as close to the subject as possible without getting it in the shot.

I have found a very inexpensive umbrella from LimoStudio.

Don’t forget to keep the light at a 45 degree angle to the side and above the subject for “perfect” wrap around lighting. You can experiment with moving it to the side to 60 or 80 degrees for a more dramatic “Old Hollywood” look but understand that this increases the nose shadows and any facial features, so it is not for all faces. You can have the model facing this more angled light, which will give a great dramatic shot.

See Phil’s Other Equipment Reviews


Phil Ramuno is an award-winning director, producer, writer, photographer, teacher and published author.  He is currently directing BzS – the Business Spotlight Webisode Series specializing in small business and corporate video production in Los Angeles, California.

Big Cat Preserve In Los Angeles Uses Power Of WebVideo

In a remote Southern California location, on the very edges of Los Angeles California, nested in the Santa Clarita Valley lies the desert city of Acton, home to Tippi Hedren’s Shambala Preserve. The actress established the animal sanctuary in 1972, followed by the organization of the nonprofit Roar Foundation that would fund it.

Shambala cares for endangered exotic big cats such as African lions, Siberian and Bengal tigers, leopards, servals, mountain lions, bobcats, plus a lynx, a panther, and a liger. Most of the animals were born in captivity and orphaned from circuses or zoos, or are given up by private owners who could no longer care for them. Two of Shambala’s most famous residents were Michael Jackson’s Bengal tigers, Sabu and Thriller, brought to Shambala after the iconic performer decided to close his Neverland Ranch zoo. 13-year old Thriller died in 2012.

Chris Gallucci, VP of Operations and Director of The Roar Foundation, met Tippi on the set of Roar, a movie featuring the star and her daughter Melanie Griffith, as well as a plethora of big cats and two elephants. Chris was immediately fascinated by Timbo, the gigantic bull elephant, and when the film’s elephant trainer quit, he immediately applied for the job. “Someone told me that the elephant was the largest animal that walked the earth,” Chris says. “I knew I had to have a piece of that.” To win the pachyderm’s trust that first night, Chris chained himself beside Timbo in his enclosure and threw away the key. That was the start of the 30+ year long relationship.

Running the sanctuary is like running a small business and part of the job requires a good deal of marketing, including social media. The staff manages a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a stream of ongoing video to bring awareness of their mission and drive funding to the organization. “We live off donations”, says Chris. “It takes a staggering amount of money to run an operation as large and unique as Shambala. “It costs 1 million dollars per year to run the Shambala Preserve – $20,000 dollars every 7 days!”

That’s a LOT of cat food!