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Scrims, Octabox, and Wind Machine

May 26, 2010

{This is the cover picture of Annie Liebovitz’s book entitled, “Annie Leibovitz: At work”}

So, let’s have a look at what Annie Liebovitz is using in her shoots.  Up on top is a big scrim.  Remember a while back we covered that scrims are just a sheet of material to diffuse the light.  In case the sun shines through, it would diffuse/soften that light.  The two big black and white round things behind the man are called octaboxes or octabanks or Octa for short.  They provide lots of soft light to evenly light the subject or use as fill.  The man is holding what is probably a Photek Softliter II (an umbrella with a light bounced into it and then a diffusion cover over it.  This is also known as a poor man’s octa as it is a cheap alternative to the octaboxes, which can cost you over $500 while the Softliter can be had at $80.  The only drawback is that if you look closely at the subject’s pupils, the Softliter shows a black spot in the middle where the light is stuck through it.  The Octa’s have a light stuck on the otherside of the white panel so you can’t see it.  It’s a nit picky thing that only photographers start to get obsessed with and it can be easily removed in photoshop.  All the way on the right side of the picture and almost off the frame is a wind machine.  It’s the black thing on a stand.  It’s for blowing the hair and/or clothes on a subject.

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