In this Slanted Lens lesson we are going to take an in-depth look at 8 sided soft boxes or Octodomes. Each manufacturer has its own name; Octobox, OctaBox, Octa Softbox, Octa Bank, or OctoDomes. I used Photoflex Octodomes to make all of the comparisons and demonstrations for this video so that will be our reference point http://www.photoflex.com/ .
I wanted to explore what makes an OctoDome different from a Soft Box. What is the area of coverage and quality of light. We put them through the riggers to answer these questions and ended the lesson with a few simple 2 light set-ups using OctoDomes. I gained a better understanding about their place in my lighting arsenal and when they are better to use than soft boxes.
Lets look at the area of coverage for OctoDomes. We shot frames of each size of OctoDome 6 feet from our target. Without fail each had the same area of coverage. Whether it was a 1.5 foot wide OctoDome or a 7 foot wide at 6 feet from the wall they all had an area of coverage of about 12 feet with a 1 stop fall off. Like soft boxes the size does not effect area of coverage. It effects quality of light.
Lets take a look at quality of light. Here our talent is lit with the EX Small OctoDome 6 feet away from her face. It is 18 inches in diameter. The shadow on the wall is hard and very defined. This is a hard directional light.
Here is a Small OctoDome 6 feet from the subject. It is 36 inches in diameter. The shadow on the wall is becoming softer and not as defined. Still a directional light.
This is a medium OctoDome 6 feet from the subject. It is 5 foot in diameter. It is becoming much softer and less defined in the shadow area. The shadow on the wall is eroding and becoming smaller. This is a much softer light.
This is a Large OctoDome 6 feet from the subject. It is 7 feet in diameter. The shadow on the wall is almost completely gone. This is a very soft wrapping source.
This is one of my favorite combinations. It is a small 3 foot OctoDome with a grid. The light is directional and controlled with this set up. It still has some softness because of the two baffles. This is a very controllable light source.
In this image I simply took the front face off the 3 foot small OctoDome. It starts to look a lot like a beauty dish. It is more directional and gives a very nice highlight on her face. Something to play with.
One of the main advantages of the OctoDome over a Soft Box is the round catch light in the subjects eye. OctoDomes are also a bit smaller and easier to use on set. They create very pretty light.
Let's see how they work in a 2 light set up.
We set a small OcotDome with a grid at a 90 degree angle to the camera and turned the talent into strong profile. This is our key light.
From down low, on camera left, we added a Medium 5 foot OctoDome as a fill light being very careful to open up the shadows and not destroy them. The image has a nice mood.
As our talent looks up into the light we see a wonderful light on her face with a pretty catch light.
When she turns into the light I powered the fill light up 3/4 of a stop. This opens up her face and gives us a soft open feeling.
For the last image I turned off the fill light and did some images with a single OctoDome. It was fun.
We have learned that size effects quality of light not area of coverage. OctoDomes have a round catch light verses a square of long rectangle. We also saw that a small OctoDome with the face off can start to look a lot like a beauty dish. OctoDomes are a very useful lighting tool and one that I love using. Keep those cameras rolling and keep on click-in!