The Ultimate Diffusion & Bounce Test

by

Matt Porwoll | Cinematographer

INTRODUCTION

There is a huge chasm between knowing lighting tools and knowing them intimately. Regardless of the approach, it takes a long time and a lot of experience to get to the latter. There is a wide array of options on the market, so how do you know what to use and when? I have been shooting for some time now, and assisting those better than me for even longer. I have had the opportunity to work with a wide array of lights and lighting augmentation, but its only been a few items at a time, sometimes spread over many months (or years) before seeing them again. Many cinematographers have their go-to approach to bouncing and diffusing light by always keeping a small selection of materials in their kit. Oftentimes, these were chosen because of what’s available. Other times, we hear its good, so we use it. But unless you’ve had a lot of practice and seen the side-by-side effects of each, it can be hard to know what would work best in a given situation. Because of this, I decided to conduct an in-depth test of various diffusion and bounce materials centralized in one location in a controlled environment. Welcome to the Ultimate Diffusion and Bounce Test… (click for the intense write-up and a downloadable PDF)

TEST SECTIONS

Diffusion:

  • Full Silk
  • 1/4 Stop Silk
  • China Silk
  • Full Grid Cloth
  • 1/2 (Lite) Grid Cloth
  • 1/4 Grid Cloth
  • Frost
  • Opal (Lee 410)
  • 1/2 White Diffusion (Lee 250)
  • Full White Diffusion (Lee 216)
  • Bleached Muslin (also tested as a bounce)
  • Unbleached Muslin (also tested as a bounce)

Bounce:

  • White Griffolyn
  • Ultra Bounce
  • Bleached Muslin
  • Unbleached Muslin
  • Bead Board

Ultimate Diffusion and Bounce Test…

 

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