Lighting with China Balls

Here is a great economical way to soften your light. They’re China Balls:Grays

These were used on the set of Grey’s Anatomy. You can buy these light diffusers from World Market or Pier 1 Imports. Here’s a link to Filmtools. Filmtools is a great resource; however, on some items they are a bit pricey. They cater to the movie and television industry. They range in cost from around $3.75 for a 12″ China Ball up to about $17.00 for a 30″ China Ball. Most are made of paper; however, some are made of silk. You do not need the silk ones unless you’re seeing them in the shot as a prop. Now a very important note: China Balls can catch on fire with a household bulb or a photo tungsten lamp. I’m suggesting that they be used with a speed light:

FlashHere you can see that I mounted the speedlight onto a standard bracket. I’m using two 2″ A-clamps mounted side by side:

ClampsThis will allow the China Ball to rest onto the clamps at your desired height. I usually try to get them into the center, but as you play you will see they’re very forgiving and there is really no science to them:

Flash ChinaI just slip the China Ball over the speedlight and balance it onto the A-Clamps:

Story Image

Here is a picture of Trish with just the speedlight, a hard directional light:Trish Flash Blog

Now with the China Ball:Trish Diffuse blogMuch softer and a bit warmer due to the color of the China Ball’s paper.

China Balls are a great way to soften light. They don’t cost much and they’re easy to transport as they collapse nice and flat. I hope you enjoyed the article. Thanks for giving me your time.

That’s a wrap, fade to black.

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