Ebay Beauty Dish: More Mods
Just a quick update on my ongoing efforts to mod a cheap 16" eBay beauty dish into an ideal close-range key light.
Today, softening the beam with a little spray paint.
If you'll remember, I bought an inexpensive Ebay beauty dish kit (complete with grid) and immediately set to modifying it.
Originally, I bought it as an inexpensive big light mod to bridge the gap between a magnum reflector and a beauty dish. I immediately swapped out the crappy (generic) Profoto mount for a standard drop-in speedring. Shortly after, I added a speedlight cage after finding that I also tended to use it with small flashes much of the time.
Fast forward a year, and I have found that (a) I almost never use it with the Profotos, and (b) while I like the light in close, it was always a little too specular for my taste.
At the same time, I was using my white FTX dish more often than my silver Profoto version, so I decided to convert the mini dish to white as well. Given that it is going to be used in close, efficiency is not much of a worry. So there was very little risk.
A little sandpaper and spray paint later, I now have a white mini dish. (On the inside, anyway, where it counts.) I used a flat white enamel, and remember that you need to rough up the interior with sandpaper for the paint to stick well.
Here is a side view of the beam edge, with the dish fitted with a speedlight and cage and hanging from a suspended ceiling. Looking at the new beam pattern, I much prefer the pattern, falloff and edges to the shiny version.
Also, when using the (included, but not shown here) grid spot, I have been dropping a custom cut sheet of Rosco Tuff Frost diffusion material behind it. It's a sweet combo. And since you are in close it is no big deal to sacrifice a little quantity for quality.
The eye loop bolt, added to be able to hang the light as shown, has also proved to be a good way to transport it.
You tend to use this thing while traveling light (i.e., with speedlights.) Problem is, you need another case just to hold this reflector. But with the eye bolt you can just attach a spare camera strap, throw it over your shoulder and go. No case, no hands, no problem.
I have used it in this new configuration on a couple of shoots lately (OA post to follow soon) and am thus far glad I took a can of spray paint to it.
That's the nice thing about no-name lighting mods—you don't feel bad about hacking them to make them do what you want.