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:
This 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:
I just slip the China Ball over the speedlight and balance it onto the A-Clamps:
Here is a picture of Trish with just the speedlight, a hard directional light:
Now with the China Ball:Much 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.
Mike is best known for his work on countless popular shows that are household names: CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, JAG, Boston Legal, Pretty Little Liars to name a few. His current projects are NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles.
Mike is a Trainer for KelbyOne, and Los Angeles Center of Photography. Mike is also a member of the International Cinematographers Guild.
You can view Mike’s work at 4stills.com, and follow him on Facebook at 4Stills.