How are you using your Glow deep parabolic?

Started Nov 19, 2019 | Discussions
Easychair Regular Member • Posts: 177
How are you using your Glow deep parabolic?

I have a Glow 28" deep parabolic softbox but haven't played with it much. There are a lot of configurations that can be made based on how it's set up:

  • deflector plate placed concave or convex
  • deflector plate position relative to light
  • inner diffusion panel on or off
  • outer diffusion panel on or off
  • grid on or off

I have a usage in mind where I'd like something beauty dish-like, but that will require a bit more distance from the subject than you'd typically use a beauty dish. It seems like this modifier can fill this role well. Any advice on how to set it up or what variables to play with?

JimResnikoff
JimResnikoff Contributing Member • Posts: 800
Re: How are you using your Glow deep parabolic?
1

While I don't have the parabolic I do have the 2x3 with the same features.. I always use the diffusion and have not seen a tremendous difference with regard to the deflector plate being mounted in either direction.  The grid I use when I want to further reduce the throw of the light.

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jlafferty Senior Member • Posts: 1,177
Re: How are you using your Glow deep parabolic?

I have the 38”. I use it mostly with the inner baffle, or both layers of diffusion. Bare, or bare with deflector plate… both very efficient, punchy and pretty tight spread, but with a subtle double shadow. Deflector plate concave or convex shows no significant differences. I am curious if a larger deflector plate would render closer to a beauty dish. With both diffusion it’s a really beautiful soft source - I shoot beauty and corporate headshots with it.

Easychair wrote:

I have a Glow 28" deep parabolic softbox but haven't played with it much. There are a lot of configurations that can be made based on how it's set up:

  • deflector plate placed concave or convex
  • deflector plate position relative to light
  • inner diffusion panel on or off
  • outer diffusion panel on or off
  • grid on or off

I have a usage in mind where I'd like something beauty dish-like, but that will require a bit more distance from the subject than you'd typically use a beauty dish. It seems like this modifier can fill this role well. Any advice on how to set it up or what variables to play with?

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Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 15,527
Re: How are you using your Glow deep parabolic?
2

Very few of the small softboxes that are advertised as beauty dishes are actually beauty dishes.  Most are simply mislabeled softboxes to get you to buy it when you don't really need it.

If you want to emulate a a beauty dish with your umbrella softbox then you will have to test it.  I recommend a white wall as the subject.

Test with the with only the deflector plate, both concave or convex, at a number of distances of the deflector plate from the flash tube, and at a number of distances of the softbox from the subject.  You may also want to see what effect the inner diffuser has.  Hopefully you will find a way when you can get close to the lighting from a real beauty dish.

A beauty dish is a very fussy device and each one is different than all others.

Classically a beauty dish was used for butterfly lighting with the dish close to the subject for soft lighting. A reflector is usually used to soften the shadows in the eye sockets and below the nose and chin.

This butterfly light position produces a disk of light with the slightly darker center area (umbra) covering the subject's face and a halo of slightly brighter light (penumbra) surrounding the subject's face. This gives the subject a soft glowing angelic look.

Move the deflector plate closer to or further from the flash tube and you change the light output pattern. Move the flash tube further into or further out of the dish and you change the light output pattern.

Move the dish further from the subject and the umbra and penumbra fade into each other.

Move it still further and you lose the softness, making it a large hard light source that is great for fashion where you want large but hard light to emphasize the drape and folds of the garment and the texture of the fabric.

A beauty dish usually works best with only the light it was designed to work with.

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Nixon Glenn Contributing Member • Posts: 587
Re: How are you using your Glow deep parabolic?

Sailor Blue wrote:

. This gives the subject a soft glowing angelic look.

Angelic look? Any examples?

Ellis Vener
MOD Ellis Vener Forum Pro • Posts: 13,919
Re: How are you using your Glow deep parabolic?

Easychair wrote:

I have a Glow 28" deep parabolic softbox but haven't played with it much. There are a lot of configurations that can be made based on how it's set up:

  • deflector plate placed concave or convex
  • deflector plate position relative to light
  • inner diffusion panel on or off
  • outer diffusion panel on or off
  • grid on or off

I have a usage in mind where I'd like something beauty dish-like, but that will require a bit more distance from the subject than you'd typically use a beauty dish. It seems like this modifier can fill this role well. Any advice on how to set it up or what variables to play with?

I have tried all of those configurations (I have 2x the 28” Deep Glows.)

concave or  convex do not really make difference in light quality

the deflector needs to be  all the way back (used with XPLOR 600 Pro)

Without the internal baffle but with the deflector and outer diffuser there is some slight fall off towards the edge of the area illuminated but unless you are looking at a reflection of the light you might not notice it.

not using the outer diffuser definitely makes a difference in all configurations.

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OP Easychair Regular Member • Posts: 177
Re: How are you using your Glow deep parabolic?

This is great info! I've put a couple of additional questions/comments below.

Ellis Vener wrote:

I have tried all of those configurations (I have 2x the 28” Deep Glows.)

concave or convex do not really make difference in light quality

the deflector needs to be all the way back (used with XPLOR 600 Pro)

You mean that it needs to be all the way down the rod, closest to the light? Why is that? I'm using a 400 Pro, fwiw

Without the internal baffle but with the deflector and outer diffuser there is some slight fall off towards the edge of the area illuminated but unless you are looking at a reflection of the light you might not notice it.

I have actually tried this configuration and my limited experience is in line with what you describe. This is a 100% crop of an image of my pup, deflector fully to the rear, with only the outer diffusion material. When I add the inner diffusion the dark spot in the middle is much less pronounced.

not using the outer diffuser definitely makes a difference in all configurations.

This is the configuration that I need to play with.

I'm also curious about how the light will behave if the modifier is used as a reflector, without the deflector and without diffusion. Will it emulate a long-focus reflector (which is something that I also have, but have only briefly experimented with)?

I realize that the true answer to these questions is "try it yourself and see." That's certainly my usual approach, but an event (fashion show) popped up on my calendar for this Wednesday, so I'm looking to narrow down the options. Thanks again for your input - that goes for all who have replied and will reply.

Ellis Vener
MOD Ellis Vener Forum Pro • Posts: 13,919
Re: How are you using your Glow deep parabolic?

Easychair wrote:

This is great info! I've put a couple of additional questions/comments below.

Ellis Vener wrote:

I have tried all of those configurations (I have 2x the 28” Deep Glows.)

concave or convex do not really make difference in light quality

the deflector needs to be all the way back (used with XPLOR 600 Pro)

You mean that it needs to be all the way down the rod, closest to the light? Why is that? I'm using a 400 Pro, fwiw

its the most efficient position to spread the light evenly to the sides and it is what it is designed for. Moving it forward Is worth experimenting with but unless you are going to rigorous and mark positions on the shaft so you can reliably repeat any variation in light distribution idont waste your time. Also  I just did not see a great deal of difference when using deflector + baffle + diffuser.

Without the internal baffle but with the deflector and outer diffuser there is some slight fall off towards the edge of the area illuminated but unless you are looking at a reflection of the light you might not notice it.

I have actually tried this configuration and my limited experience is in line with what you describe. This is a 100% crop of an image of my pup, deflector fully to the rear, with only the outer diffusion material. When I add the inner diffusion the dark spot in the middle is much less pronounced.

not using the outer diffuser definitely makes a difference in all configurations.

This is the configuration that I need to play with.

without the diffuser it becomes a large soft-silver reflector.

I'm also curious about how the light will behave if the modifier is used as a reflector, without the deflector and without diffusion. Will it emulate a long-focus reflector (which is something that I also have, but have only briefly experimented with)?

no it will not. The modifier might have a roughly parabolic shape but the light source is not located at the focus point.

I realize that the true answer to these questions is "try it yourself and see." That's certainly my usual approach, but an event (fashion show) popped up on my calendar for this Wednesday, so I'm looking to narrow down the options. Thanks again for your input - that goes for all who have replied and will reply.

I hope it helps.

one more thing to try: use  it without the deflector, baffle, or diffuser but with the grid.

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OP Easychair Regular Member • Posts: 177
A basic test...
1

I took a little time at lunch to do a quick, informal test. Still, the results are helpful. I wanted to see what kind of pattern the 28" deep parabolic softbox casts in a few of the configurations discussed. I also mounted the so-called long focus reflector to see what it does in the same setup.

I pointed my camera at an off-white wall, got a rough manual focus, and shot at 1/250s and f/5.6. The strobe was just to camera right, at 1/64 power. I did not vary the strobe's power throughout the test. Obviously if I was solely interested in light spread I would adjust the light output to be consistent across each shot, but (1) I don't own a light meter that would make this test practical, and (2) I also wanted to get an idea of how much light I'm getting relative to the different configurations.

I'll put the biggest conclusion first: The outer diffusion panel dramatically softens the light, and significantly reduces the output (I would estimate at least 1.5 stops, based on playing with the raw image in Capture One). In fact, I have excluded those images from this post, because it would add complexity to this post.

So let's see what we have:

First up is the Glow 28" naked... no deflector or diffusers at all.

28" bare

Next we add the deflector (convex to the light)

28" with deflector only

Next up we have just the inner diffusion panel (no deflector)

28" with inner diffusion only

Finally for this batch we have the deflector plus the inner diffusion panel. Note that this panel does not extend fully to the sides of the softbox.

28" with deflector and inner diffusion

I did try using the grid without the deflector or either diffuser...

28" with grid only

Then with the deflector + grid

28" with deflector and grid

... but those are both no-gos for me so I didn't explore further. I'm sure the grid serves its purpose better when there is diffusion in place.

Finally let's see what the AD-R12 long focus reflector looks like:

Flashpoint long-focus reflector

ronscuba Contributing Member • Posts: 708
Re: How are you using your Glow deep parabolic?

Double diffusion with grid

Double diffusion w/o grid

No diffusion w/ deflector plate w/ grid

No diffusion w/ deflector plate w/o grid

I have a real metal beauty dish for studio use.  For travel, softbox with no diffusion and deflector plate.

elliotn Senior Member • Posts: 2,260
Re: How are you using your Glow deep parabolic?

Sailor Blue wrote:

This butterfly light position produces a disk of light with the slightly darker center area (umbra) covering the subject's face and a halo of slightly brighter light (penumbra) surrounding the subject's face. This gives the subject a soft glowing angelic look.

It's been a while since I used a beauty dish, but I never saw the effects you describe. Please post an example.

Ellis Vener
MOD Ellis Vener Forum Pro • Posts: 13,919
Re: A basic test...

Those are interesting but I think you will find it more useful to use a three dimensional subject -a person to Mel for a head and shoulders portrait or failing that a mannequin head - for your tests.

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OP Easychair Regular Member • Posts: 177
Re: A basic test...

Ellis Vener wrote:

Those are interesting but I think you will find it more useful to use a three dimensional subject -a person to Mel for a head and shoulders portrait or failing that a mannequin head - for your tests.

Yeah, agreed. I was looking for a quick-and-dirty idea of what kind of effect these changes would have. Westcott has a little write-up with sample images using a model, and I will hypothesize that the Glow will probably behave similarly, but I'll have to test for myself.

Looking back at the images again, perhaps the most interesting/enlightening thing for me is that the presence of the deflector actually increases the brightness at the center of the circle! Thinking about it, this makes sense due to the [approximately] parabolic nature of the modifier, but it certainly helps to see it in action.

ronscuba Contributing Member • Posts: 708
Re: How are you using your Glow deep parabolic?

elliotn wrote:

Sailor Blue wrote:

This butterfly light position produces a disk of light with the slightly darker center area (umbra) covering the subject's face and a halo of slightly brighter light (penumbra) surrounding the subject's face. This gives the subject a soft glowing angelic look.

It's been a while since I used a beauty dish, but I never saw the effects you describe. Please post an example.

A hard metal modifier with "steps" and a deflector that lets some light come through will create highlights and darker areas.  Position and size of the modifier will affect what parts of the subject get highlights and which parts will be darker.

For example, maybe you want a models cheek bones highlighted.

Some modifiers have multiple steps, some 1 step, some no steps.

Ellis Vener
MOD Ellis Vener Forum Pro • Posts: 13,919
Re: A basic test...

FWIW, I set the Glows up with the convex side towards the flash head.

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elliotn Senior Member • Posts: 2,260
Re: How are you using your Glow deep parabolic?

ronscuba wrote:

elliotn wrote:

Sailor Blue wrote:

This butterfly light position produces a disk of light with the slightly darker center area (umbra) covering the subject's face and a halo of slightly brighter light (penumbra) surrounding the subject's face. This gives the subject a soft glowing angelic look.

It's been a while since I used a beauty dish, but I never saw the effects you describe. Please post an example.

A hard metal modifier with "steps" and a deflector that lets some light come through will create highlights and darker areas. Position and size of the modifier will affect what parts of the subject get highlights and which parts will be darker.

For example, maybe you want a models cheek bones highlighted.

Some modifiers have multiple steps, some 1 step, some no steps.

Thanks, that's interesting.

But could such a modifier really create the effect described (a shaded face surrounded by a halo)? I'd love to see an example.

I've always regarded a beauty dish as nothing more than a hard-ish soft light. The idea that a few feet out, it has a central dark zone, surrounded by a bright zone, seems somewhat implausible to me. If anyone has a beauty dish and a light meter, I'd be happy to be corrected.

Ellis Vener
MOD Ellis Vener Forum Pro • Posts: 13,919
Re: How are you using your Glow deep parabolic?

elliotn wrote:

ronscuba wrote:

elliotn wrote:

Sailor Blue wrote:

This butterfly light position produces a disk of light with the slightly darker center area (umbra) covering the subject's face and a halo of slightly brighter light (penumbra) surrounding the subject's face. This gives the subject a soft glowing angelic look.

It's been a while since I used a beauty dish, but I never saw the effects you describe. Please post an example.

A hard metal modifier with "steps" and a deflector that lets some light come through will create highlights and darker areas. Position and size of the modifier will affect what parts of the subject get highlights and which parts will be darker.

For example, maybe you want a models cheek bones highlighted.

Some modifiers have multiple steps, some 1 step, some no steps.

Thanks, that's interesting.

But could such a modifier really create the effect described (a shaded face surrounded by a halo)? I'd love to see an example.

no. Well it could if you put it behind a scrim of frosted glass or plastic and that close behind the head of the person you are photographing.

I've always regarded a beauty dish as nothing more than a hard-ish soft light. The idea that a few feet out, it has a central dark zone, surrounded by a bright zone, seems somewhat implausible to me.

And you’d be right about that. 
the idea that the deflector plate would create a penumbra shadow surrounded by a ring of light would only be true if the beauty dish was very close to the person and the deflector at least the size of the persons head.

If anyone has a beauty dish and a light meter, I'd be happy to be corrected

It really does not matter what the light looks like when you arepoint the camera  straight into the reflector / modifier in question. What matters is what the light the reflector /modifier produces  looks like when it is illuminating the subject.

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ronscuba Contributing Member • Posts: 708
Re: How are you using your Glow deep parabolic?

elliotn wrote:

ronscuba wrote:

elliotn wrote:

Sailor Blue wrote:

This butterfly light position produces a disk of light with the slightly darker center area (umbra) covering the subject's face and a halo of slightly brighter light (penumbra) surrounding the subject's face. This gives the subject a soft glowing angelic look.

It's been a while since I used a beauty dish, but I never saw the effects you describe. Please post an example.

A hard metal modifier with "steps" and a deflector that lets some light come through will create highlights and darker areas. Position and size of the modifier will affect what parts of the subject get highlights and which parts will be darker.

For example, maybe you want a models cheek bones highlighted.

Some modifiers have multiple steps, some 1 step, some no steps.

Thanks, that's interesting.

But could such a modifier really create the effect described (a shaded face surrounded by a halo)? I'd love to see an example.

I've always regarded a beauty dish as nothing more than a hard-ish soft light. The idea that a few feet out, it has a central dark zone, surrounded by a bright zone, seems somewhat implausible to me. If anyone has a beauty dish and a light meter, I'd be happy to be corrected.

I think halo is too strong a word.

I have a multistepped BD and the deflector is frosted so it let's through some light. My other BD has no steps and the deflector is solid metal.

Both are hard light compared to a softbox of equal size. For a beauty headshot with the modifier very close, the non stepped has more evenly lit light. The stepped with translucent deflector has noticeable highlights and falloffs in direct side to side comparison.

To me, my non-stepped BD with solid deflector performs very similar to my collapsible octa of similar size. I would not buy it again.

My stepped BD with translucent deflector performs different. It is my choice if I am shooting beauty headshots with a young model with great skin.

Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 15,527
Re: How are you using your Glow deep parabolic?

Nixon Glenn wrote:

Sailor Blue wrote:

. This gives the subject a soft glowing angelic look.

Angelic look? Any examples?

Sorry, but I don't have any I have taken available.  About 10 years ago I got back into portrait and glamour photography after many years of only doing family and occasionally landscape photos.  I bought lights and diffusers but never a beauty dish.  It wasn't worth the cost to me.

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threw the lens
threw the lens Senior Member • Posts: 2,760
Re: A basic test...

Do you have any photos looking into the softbox when you're just using the "beauty dish reflector" in it? I'm curious to see what the radial pattern is like.

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