Bare Bulb flash systems …. Part 4 Tips and Tricks.


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I have been gathering up several  tips and tricks based on what I have seen other people doing with their bare bulb flashes including 3rd party accessories

Ben Evans was interested in an affordable alternative to the Briese Focus 100. The Briese Focus systems are deep parabolic umbrella with the flash head directly on the central axis. Other than the fact that they have an enormous amount of power (Lamp head: 6000W / 12000W) which you can’t replicate with a single 360ws flash head there are a few things you can do to replicate the light style.

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With so much power you will have a greater working distance between the flash and the subject, if you that that into account you will have to bring your bare bulb flash in a lot closer. You will want to use the deepest umbrella you can get  with a diameter of about 90cm-100cm and mount it using the wide angel reflector and umbrella mount. This way you will replicate the the main features of the Briese Focus systems

  • Deep parabolic reflector
  • Light source is on the central axis
  • You can adjust the distance between the flash head and back of the reflector

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The one I used here is from a collapsible umbrella softbox system that is a lot deeper then a standard umbrella and you can slide that center of umbrella in and out along the mount. Of course this is a lot cheaper version that the original and only a way to replicate the Briese Focus. Not the zipper in the bottom of the umbrella that allows me to place my light stand through the reflective surface an place it where i need it.


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Another practical use of the wide angle reflector is when you are using any mounting systems like the Bowens mount or a collapsible  soft box. Normally you have a lot of light loss out the back as the flash is simply mounted in a large hole. By fitting the wide angle reflector you can push it in nice and close, cutting down on the light loss buy about 90%. This won’t stop all the light loss but it is a drastic improvement. In the example above I metered the flash output in front of my softbox with and with out the reflector, there was a 1 stop of light difference i.e. for f4.5 to f5.6. by saving 1 f/ stop of  flash power I’m increasing my recycle time and increasing the number of flashes I can get from one battery charge.


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The Roundflash dish is a cool new flash accessory I’m enjoying a lot. You can mount the flash head deep inside dish and its very portable and has great light characteristic.


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Without  Honey-Comb Grid 



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With  Honey-Comb Grid 

The honeycomb grid drastically narrows the spread of light from the standard reflector comes in a set with several colour gels. The colour gels are easy to make and because of that in my opinion the gels are only a bonus if you buy the grid. As I haven’t found a barn doors system yet to mount on the standard reflector the best way to control light speed and light spill is that a honeycomb grid. The 2 pictures above are with and without to show the difference in light spread.

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There is actually one cool feature that you can utilise with the standard reflector. The accessories are almost the same size as a CD, and you can use this to make your own accessories. As the standard colour gels are limited to Red, Green, Blue and Yellow you can easily make other colours like colour correction gels, or any other colour you want to use simply by using a CD as a stencil. Or any other custom modifier you can think of making.


Playing with colour gels can change the whole effect of your lighting, one thing I have been experimenting with is double flash shoe trigger. This way I can fire 2 flashes at once using 1 trigger and light stand. It has a standard 1/4 inch tripod thread and a mini jack port for a trigger.
31514984_0The idea is to have a lot more light spreading from on point and more control over that light with a few different techniques.

  • More direction control
  • More light power with 2 flashes
  • Mix and match colour gels
  • Indirect and direct light from one point

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Just to show an example the flash pointing up has a blue gel that bounces off the roof and fill the room. the flash pointing forward has a red gel and a grid to control the spread of light. I probably would never use this set up exactly how it is. But I could imagine fitting a soft box or shoot through umbrella to the forward facing flash an using it as a key light, and lowering the power of the top flash to use as a fill flash.As long as the power levels are low enough both flashes could be run from one battery pack.

On a final note the real reason I blog is for me .i.e. to note down my thoughts down experiences. I used to do it in a book (actually still do but that a precursor to what I do here) but I found that during the process of typing up my stuff I actually dig things out of my head and put them into a rational order for me. So I am not sponsored by any company, yes have have become stuff from time to time to test and blog but I honestly say what I think. I actually blog more for my own though process and soughing out how I feel about something, and I am a big believer in shearing so I hope that answers the facebook massages I got this week 🙂


2 Responses to 'Bare Bulb flash systems …. Part 4 Tips and Tricks.'

  1. Tonay says:

    Hi, Great write ups. I do have a question if you wouldn’t mind. How are you mounting the Roundflash dish to the barebulb flash? Any particular adapter needed or is it straightforward, similar to a standard flashgun? Thanks in advance.

  2. Very interesting… As with Tonay I would like to ask about fitting the ad360 with the roundflash dish AND can you mount it on the roundflash ring? ….. is this a straightforward fit? any overheating issues? Any burning issues (with the ring especially)? Thanks in advance

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