Cheap slave and boom for hairlight

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I'm looking for a hair light. I'm thinking I could just buy a cheapo slave, ($30-40 at B&H), to use. Good idea?

I also need a boom arm. Are they all the same? So they connect to ANY light stand? Is there something I need to know about them? Can anyone recommend one for that's reasonably priced?

Thanx in advance.
 
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Not sure I can help, but I can tell my experiences.

I'm not sure what you mean by $30-$40 slaves, but I think you mean the ones with the household AC screw-in lamp base on them. I see a few things that give me pause... mounting them is one. Mainly, their power level seems not adjustable. And they typically say a 50 degree light beam, which is wide for hair.

You do need power adjustment for different heads of hair. Dark or black hair needs maybe one stop stronger than the main light. Light or blond hair maybe one stop less than the main light. You never want to overdo it, just a good hint of sparkle.

I have used a SB-800 for hair light, and it worked pretty well. It has its SU4 slave trigger, but you can add similar to most speedlights. Many speedlights can be zoomed long to narrow its beam, and I wrapped a letter size sheet of paper around its head (long way around), to make a narrow snoot that confined it even more. No big deal, tape or a rubber band, and just a simple straight cylinder around it, extending maybe 6 inches out from it. I got real fancy, two layers of thin rubber foam (craft foamies), with white inside, and black outside. :smile: Something like that could work on the AC lamp socket models. Or some people use overhead softboxes, and beam width seems not to bother them. You would like to keep it off of shoulders and ears and stuff though. Skimming over the top of the head often works well.

The only real problem with the speedlight was that it was a bear to aim... cannot see a flash to aim it. Easier to sight over subjects head into the snoot, to judge its aim. Not easy though, it took time, and I gave up, and now I use an Alienbees studio light for hair light. Its modeling light is easy to see to aim it, and I put a 20 degree grid on it to make it narrow. May be 2 feet wide at 5 feet.

For a boom, I use this one

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/250423-REG/Smith_Victor_401289_MB_110_Mini_Boom.html#OverView

This is a small light-weight one, but is suitable for a speedlight (about one pound). I use it now for a 3 pound Alienbees, more weight than it says, but I dare only at about half length extension. It definitely needs extra counter weight, and a robust stand. I used to use a Smith Victor 10 foot Raven stand, the ten foot one was substantially more stable than the eight foot, but still a bit worrisome for this - never tipped, but it was a bit shaky. The Heavy Weight 9.5 foot Impact stand does much better with it. Again, you definitely need a couple or three pounds of counterweight. Old tire lead weights in a hanging bag works. High school physics: a one pound load at 3 feet needs a two pound counter weight at 1.5 feet.

This mini-boom has four holes in its center circular mount, which appears will clamp onto 1/2, 5/8, 3/4, or 7/8 inch shafts. I would not swear to those numbers, but it sure looks that way. I use a 5/8 inch stud (maybe 4 inches long) that screws to the 1/4" thread on top of the stand, and clamp it over that.

I have one heavy boom that will support a large softbox on a long arm, but its an ordeal - it never gets used.

Hope that is of any help.
 
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Wayne,

I just purchased a couple of Paul Buff's studio lights (the Einsteins). I've only used SB speedlights in the past.

I bought one of Paul Buff's heavy duty light stands for one of the lights. It seems adequate for the 47" softbox.

However, I'm a bit confused as to how to best support the second light when I wish to use that as a hair light. I've been looking at some C-Stand/Boom options, but I'm not sure exactly what components I will need to mount the light. Would one of the Avenger or Impact kits contain everything that I would need?

I plan to bring the lights with me on location at times. So, it looks like I might need the turtle base for the C-Stand to make it more portable.

One more question (a bit off topic)...would you know the best place to get a very large piece of white foam board? I would like to use something like that for fill.

Thanks in advance for any input...

Glenn
 
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I'm sorry Glenn, all I know about is what I have. I do think the little Impact mini-boom is the same as my Smith Victor version, but it is pretty light for something like an Einstein (more than 4 pounds).

The booms should have a standard 5/8" stand mount on them. My mini is an older one, it has 3/8", but I see the new version of it has 5/8 now.

For a stand, I am a big believer in a large foot print. It is a good thing to have a long leg extending out directly under the offset load. And a sturdy pole is good too, all that top heavy offset weight.

I dont know about the foam board.. The large craft stores have thin stuff up to maybe 3x4 feet, which is all I have used. I'd check Home Depot and Lowes to see if they have thicker 4x8 foot sheets (insulation).
 
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I'm sorry Glenn, all I know about is what I have. I do think the little Impact mini-boom is the same as my Smith Victor version, but it is pretty light for something like an Einstein (more than 4 pounds).

The booms should have a standard 5/8" stand mount on them. My mini is an older one, it has 3/8", but I see the new version of it has 5/8 now.

For a stand, I am a big believer in a large foot print. It is a good thing to have a long leg extending out directly under the offset load. And a sturdy pole is good too, all that top heavy offset weight.

I dont know about the foam board.. The large craft stores have thin stuff up to maybe 3x4 feet, which is all I have used. I'd check Home Depot and Lowes to see if they have thicker 4x8 foot sheets (insulation).

Thanks Wayne...

I'm thinking that an Impact C-Stand with Boom might be OK for the Einstein if I offset the load. Also, I really need to stop by Home Depot to see what might work for fill sheets. The Office Depot near where I live shows that it has some 3x4 feet sheets in stock, so maybe that's what I should start with.

Glenn
 
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Glen, I have the same Einstein set up. I use the Avenger C-Stand and boom. It is a rock solid setup - I have 3 of them, two with the Turtle bases. On a separate note, I absolutely love the Einstein lights. I just sent the first of my two back to PCB for the modifier grip upgrade - couldn't bear to be without both at the same time . . .
 
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Glen, I have the same Einstein set up. I use the Avenger C-Stand and boom. It is a rock solid setup - I have 3 of them, two with the Turtle bases. On a separate note, I absolutely love the Einstein lights. I just sent the first of my two back to PCB for the modifier grip upgrade - couldn't bear to be without both at the same time . . .

Thanks John!

I'm waiting for my two Einsteins that I ordered. They are expected to arrive in the next three weeks. I've only used Nikon speedlights in the past, so I'm new to studio lights.

Would this Avenger C-Stand/Boom kit work?
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=WishList.jsp&A=details&Q=&sku=243966&is=REG

I'm assuming the kit includes everything that I would need. But, I see some of the reviews indicate that other adapters are required during set-up.

Also, I'm assuming that the future Einstein shipments have the modifier grip upgrade.

Thanks again,
Glenn
 
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Yes - that's the one. Really excellent stands. The only thing I would add is a 6" pin:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/243787-REG/Avenger_E650_E650_Baby_5_8_Pin.html

Everything else you will need comes with that kit. Looks like B&H are out of stock on the pin but it will make mounting the lights easier.

John,

That's very helpful! The beauty of these forums is that eventually you come across someone that has the same items that I'm trying learn about.

WIll I be able to mount the Einsteins without the pin--at least until the pin arrives? And, I'm assuming that I should purchase a sand bag or two to help stabilize things when the Einstein strobe is extended out on the boom?

Thanks again,
Glenn
 
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You will - you will just need a spigot to attach the light to the grip head on the boom arm. A sandbag or two is definitely helpful!
 
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Thank you all for this wealth of info. I just started using my Alienbee B800's and I'm now looking to add a hair light. I'm looking for a cheaper alternative than ordering the B400 just to use as a hair light. Or is the smart move to wait until I have the funds to afford the B400? Anyone have a suggestion for something cheaper to use for a hair light than the B400?
 
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You can use almost any type of strobe as a hair light. Do you have a Speedlight? If not, a cheap manual flash (preferably with an optical slave) will do.
 
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You can use almost any type of strobe as a hair light. Do you have a Speedlight? If not, a cheap manual flash (preferably with an optical slave) will do.

I have an SB900 and the 600.

So I can just throw one of those on a boom take a reading use a snoot and that's it?

Do I even need to use a snoot? Or would a small, (18" softbox), be better to use?
 
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Absolutely you can. Check out the David Honl grids and snoots for Speedlights. The SB900 is easy as it has the SU-4 (optical slave) mode. The SB600 does not but you can buy adaptors to make it work.
 
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Absolutely you can. Check out the David Honl grids and snoots for Speedlights. The SB900 is easy as it has the SU-4 (optical slave) mode. The SB600 does not but you can buy adaptors to make it work.

Thanx alot for the info John!!! Just saved myself some money... For NOW at least!! :biggrin:
 

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