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Chimera Softbank

  • December 9, 2015
  • Shane Hurlbut, ASC
Chimera Softbank

The power of the Chimera Softbank is great if you don’t have a whole lot of gear. This light is a one-man band machine!

@ShaneHurlbutASC

The Chimera Softbank is a creamy beautiful machine you can use as a key light, and I thought it would be great to showcase an interview style lighting setup with my daughter Kyra. With the Chimera Softbank, we are using the power of one stand, one light, and one beautiful softbox to contain and control the light. No flags or grippery are needed so if you don’t have all the stands, the diffusion, the waterfalls, and everything else, it’s no problem. They even have all different sizes, a medium, small, very small, large, and daylight balance, as well as diffusions you can change. On Chimera’s site, you can see all the different types of lightbanks they have for film and video.

Chimera Softbank Cinematography filmmaker film movies tv shooting DP lights
Notice we’re only using one stand.

Using Diffusion with the Chimera Softbank

Starting with the diffusion, I want this to be really soft and creamy, so I’m going to use the chimera full cloth. Today I’m using a medium, but they have all different sizes. I’m going with the thickest diffusion, but you can go to 1/4 grid, 1/2 grid, or even put a baffle in there and double diffuse the light.

Now that we have the Chimera full grid diffusion, let’s fire the light up and bring it up to 80%. You can really see the difference in quality of light in the side-by-side comparison below.

Chimera Softbank Cinematography filmmaker film movies tv shooting DP lights
Side by side comparison of the before and after of the Chimera Softbank as a key light on Kyra

Compared to the image with the Chimera Softbank off, the light we’re getting with it on is pretty contained. There is still some light flying around in the background, but there isn’t any light flying out the back of the light, and there’s no light flying onto the white ceiling.

If you bounce a light into a piece of beadboard and put a booklight diffusion in front of it, the light will be all over the ceiling. The great thing about this Softbox is that it only directs the light to exactly where you need it.

Concentrated Light

Say we want to make the image have even more contrast. We have this beautiful soft light on her, but let’s contain it even more so that there isn’t light illuminating the background. Here’s the current lighting.

Chimera Softbank Cinematography filmmaker film movies tv shooting DP lights
The current lighting on Kyra. We want to contain the lighting even more.

To contain the light, we have a 60˚ honeycomb.

The honeycomb concentrates your light so it’s only on your subject. You can see this effect when I just ever so slightly move the position of the honeycomb. When I angle the honeycomb, I disappear.

Chimera Softbank Cinematography filmmaker film movies tv shooting DP lights
Notice now you can’t see me when I change the angle of the honeycomb.

Now we’re going to put the honeycomb on. The honeycomb fits in nicely and snaps right in easily with Velcro.

Chimera Softbank Cinematography filmmaker film movies tv shooting DP lights
Putting the honeycomb on the light. It attaches with Velcro.

Take a look at the before and after comparison below. With the honeycomb on, there is less light flying into the background and I’m not illuminated. There isn’t a bunch of spill happening in the background, and your eye is directed to Kyra. The Softbank completely contains everything, and we are left with a beautiful image where the light is just where we want it.

Side by side comparison, without the honeycomb, and with the honeycomb on in the current image
Side by side comparison, without the honeycomb, and with the honeycomb on in the current image
Chimera Softbank Cinematography filmmaker film movies tv shooting DP lights
Notice the background is less illuminated in the current image with the honeycomb on the light, and the overall image with the honeycomb has more contrast

Conclusion

The Chimera Softbank is great because it can be used as a key or to create beautiful, creamy light. The honeycomb contains the light so you don’t have light flying onto the background, and there also isn’t light coming out of the back. With just one stand, one light, and one Softbank, this is a great solution, especially if you don’t have a whole lot of grip gear.

All videos were edited on HP Z840 workstations using HP Z24x DreamColor monitors.

Technical Specs:

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