Shining the Light on Diffusion Fabrics

Shining the Light on Diffusion Fabrics

Images are all around us, and it is up to us to capture them. Saving a moment for our memories often comes at a cost. While there is fancy and expensive equipment that helps seize the moment through image or video, it isn’t necessary to spend the big bucks to share your vision. With the use of diffusion fabrics, finding the perfect lighting situation for your scene is made effortless and done so without breaking the bank.

Diffusion Fabrics: How It’s Made

To diffuse means to spread widely, however its meaning takes on different forms depending on the line of work. In science, diffusion relates to taking a more concentrated chemical and diluting that down to something that is weaker and more evenly balanced. In photography or videography, it refers to the softening of light.

Diffusion in fabrics is not uncommon. Diffusion fabrics are found in many styles of already made textiles. Some known fibers used in the making of diffusion fabrics are nylon, polyester, and even silk. When woven differently, these fibers produce varying forms of diffusion which can alter the lighting in your scene.

Diffusion fabrics are usually made from synthetic materials. Synthetic materials as stated above (nylon, poly) last longer than their naturally made counterparts like voile. Voile is made from cotton, wool, or silk.  Each style of diffusion fabric are made for a variety of diffusion uses. These styles make up a large range based on how you would want to manipulate the light or allow in other factors for optimal use.

Diffusion Fabrics in Photography & Videography

Diffusion fabrics’ primary functions are for lighting in photography and video. Whether you’re a budding photographer or videographer, diffusion fabrics make a difference between good and bad lighting. Lighting your scene is key, and knowing what will work will help you in the post-editing process. Diffusion fabrics add a layer of assistance in reassuring your end result will be as good as it can be.

Diffusion fabrics are usually secured to wooden or metal frames. Cut down to a preferred size, these fabrics then adhere or fasten to said frame. If it is a smaller size such as a 4’x4’, it is attached or placed where it affects your lighting. If it is a larger size like a 20’x20’, it is secured on a wheeled backdrop and moved with ease. The various sizes help when shooting different subjects, or in different places.

These fabrics are also made with movement and weather in mind. Various styles of diffusion fabrics are for different elements, as shooting projects are unpredictable. Whether indoors or out, most of these fabrics withstand wet, hot, windy, or varying temperature conditions.

Diffusion fabrics make the true difference for the light you allow into your photos and videos. Their endless styles will help a number of different lighting scenarios.

Different Styles of Diffusion Fabrics

Diffusion fabrics come in all shapes and sizes. Their uses make up an endless amount of ways to incorporate light play for your different projects. Some different fabric styles within the line of diffusion fabrics are:

  • Grid Cloth: Used mostly in the film and television industry, grid cloth is a staple for diffusion fabrics. It is a waterproof fabric that has a grid pattern sewn in. Provided in types known as stops (½, ¼, ¾, 1, 2, etc), each stop indicates the varying degrees of diffusion. If your grid cloth is 1 stop, diffusion is at 50%; if it is a 2 stop, it is 25%, and so on.
  • Bobinett: Bobinett diffusion fabric is a popular textile that comes in a variety of colors like white, black, and lavender. It also comes in single and double styles. Single styles offer less diffusion, while double styles give slightly higher percentages of diffusion. This diffusion fabric is typically made to be flame retardant as well.
  • Silk: China silk is a usually natural diffusion fabric, but most silk used for diffusion is artificial and is known by the name Artificial silk. The various forms of silk are for medium diffusion, with stops that do not exceed 2. Silk is also more for directional lighting than diffusion as its properties can shift the light to the most ideal side for your projects.
  • Muslin: Muslin, like silk is great for bouncing light from one area to another. Bleached muslin works as a flat light reflector, but unbleached muslin works best for warmer tones of light. Diffusion is possible with this fabric as well, especially if you are using very bright lighting.

Best Uses for Diffusion Fabrics

As stated, diffusion fabrics are key for ideal lighting for your projects. Some uses for diffusion fabrics to help light your scenes are:

  • Butterfly: A butterfly lends its name to the diffusion fabric that stretches over a frame. A butterfly is great for lighting your subject or object specifically for prime lighting scenes.
  • Soft box: A soft box is great for lighting in direct positions. Soft boxes extend harsh, bright lights and make them soft lights for beautiful settings.
  • Light box: Similar to a soft box, a light box is made in different sizes depending on its use. Light boxes are typically used for photographing or recording content for products.
  • Tenting: Tenting helps with surrounding your subject or object with full, soft light. Draping techniques through the use of tending removes all shadows.

Ready to start on your next project with diffusion fabrics? Contact us today.