Thursday, February 26, 2009

DIY Gobos! can click on any photo for a larger view

Since I am a HUGE speedlight freak ..err. I mean fan, there comes a time when using these guys that there are places you want the light to go, and there are places you don't want the light to go. So, I decided to make my own gobos to be able to control my lights more effectively. I created these based on what I've seen photographer David Tejada use. This was his idea, not mine, I merely crafted it to my own specifications.

The first thing to do is, go to a craft store and pickup a piece of 12"x18" black foam (roughly 1/8" thick). A sheet of this stuff will cost you a whole .33 cents!!! This is a photo of the stuff I bought. I went ahead and splurged and bought two! =) This sized piece of foam should easily make you 2 gobos for virtually any sized speedlights. Mine just happen to be sized for my Nikon SB-800s and SB-600s.

Then you will need to get some Velcro. The stuff I bought is roughly 1" wide and this roll is 18" long. Its not very long but should give you enough to make 4 gobos. The photo is the velcro I bought and cost me a total of $3.17. This stuff has a sticky backside and you just pull the paper off to expose the sticky part.

Next you take the piece of foam and wrap it around the head of your speedlight to get the size you want. I use Honl speedstraps on all my flashes so I measured my foam by placing the Honl speedstrap on the flash head and then wrapped the foam around that to get a more accurate measurement. You can see this in the photo. The measurements don't have to be precise, but I'm kinda anal about things like this.

Then I cut pieces of the rougher part of the velcro (my straps have the softer velcro exposed on the outside) and placed three pieces of it on one end of the gobo. The reason I used three pieces and not a strip is that a strip seemed to buckle a little when I wrapped it around my speedlight and I didn't want the velcro pealing from the foam. (I tried that first). In the photo, I put red circles around the pieces of velcro because they are kinda hard to see, black on black ..hmm, imagine that.

After you get your pieces of velcro attached to the foam, you're ready to wrap them on your speedlights. Again, I use Honl speedstraps for all of my speedlights, which is basically a velcro strap with a rubber back, but you can use any means of velcro attached to your flashes.

Above is a photo of the finished product. This was a quick, easy and very inexpensive DIY project, that I think will be very handy in the future. Another nice thing about these are, you can wad them up and shove them in any bag. They pop right back into form and weigh next to nothing! Oh yeah, total cost for this project.. $4.06 for 4 custom gobos!! Not to bad, eh?

Hope you make some of these for yourself!


Kev Dwyer said...

Just to help you remember which is rough and which is the smooth, Velcro is a composite word from the French " Velour " which means Velvet, and Crochet which means Hook

alwinvrm said...

Thanks, Hated flash for decades but now getting my feet wet. Winter in The Netherlands sort of forces you. Great tool. Gives my indoor bounce control and nice directional light.