Today I wanted to talk about a very simple but useful filmmaking tool – a large frame to which you can attach a silk screen (for example, a soft, white fabric). This is a great way to either soften direct light (ex. the sunlight), or to bounce light back at your subject. You can also put a black screen on and use it as a negative fill, or a black background.
Now, if you’ve seen one of my exclusive lighting tutorials, like the Lighting Dozen, then you will remember me using a similar frame, except one that I built myself. That DIY project cost me less than a $100.
Here’s what you need to build you silk screen:
- four pieces of 3/4 inch PVC pipe – each 8 feet long
- four 3/4 inch 90 degree copper adapters
- two 3 inch-long, 1/4 inch thick, bolts with nuts
- a duct tape
- some fabric that’s 8 by 8 feet (I used an old window curtain)
To see how to assemble this, watch my video
Now, as good as this DIY frame is, it’s got a lot of limitations compared to professional gear like the Digital Juice butterfly frame kit.
One of the main problems is transporting the frame. Since each side is 8 feet long, it means that you need a car that can fit that length. The same thing applies to older pro frames. They are usually really heavy and big since they’re made from long pieces of steel.
The Digital Juice kit is great because it fits in just two bags that are 13 inch and 50 inch long. It’s also made of aluminium, making them sturdy yet light.
The whole frame is collapsible and can be set up by just one person. Just unfold the frame, lock the corners, and then put the frame on the stands.
The kit also comes with C-stand brackets that make attaching the frame to any grip-head very easy. The advantage of these stands over the stands I used in my DIY frame is that they can be raised much higher and are much sturdier. This, in turn, makes the whole set-up much more stable (just don’t forget to put the sandbags on the stands). When using the screen outside, the wind can turn it into a big sail, so the stability of the set-up is important.
The Digital Juice butterfly kit comes with a white silk fabric used to diffuse light, and also with a none-reflective black fabric that’s great as a negative fill, or just a background.
Of course, there are a lot of creative ways to use this frame to control the light. Since it’s so big, it can be used both inside and outside to control natural and artificial light.
Right now, you can get the professional Digital Juice butterfly frame kit for $699. That’s cheaper than any other pro frames.
As I said, the kit is very portable, easy to set up and comes with everything you need.
If you get the frame kit, I would also suggest getting the grip stands made by Digital Juice.
You can get the pro kit here
Digital Juice Butterfly Frame Kit at B&H Photo Video
Digital Juice Grip Stand Set at B&H Photo Video
Digital Juice Butterfly Frame Kit on eBay
Digital Juice Grip Stand Set on eBay
You can also purchase this gear directly from Digital Juice’s website. Here are the links