Should you add CRLS to you kit?
Short answer: it depends! Totally unhelpful, I’m sorry 😂 Hear me out. They’re amazing tools to have in the kit but can be cost prohibitive for many people so the answer is a little more complicated.
The Cine Reflect Lighting System (CRLS) are aluminum coated polished surfaces that come in a variety of sizes and diffusions; ranging from mirror to the equivalent of a muslin bounce (and we all know how much I love to bounce muslin) The biggest benefit aside from the seriously beautiful and precise quality of light is their form factor. The Cine Reflectors behave like a soft source light with a grid attached, but take up so much less space.
That sounds cool and all, but are there any down sides? Like I mentioned, the price for a set of these are prohibitive for a lot of indie filmmakers 💸 And they also need to be handled with care. Dirty grip cheeto fingers can stain the surface if they’re not cleaned after use. Price and daintiness aside, I’ve been really happy to have these tools around.
The good news is there are some nifty DIY workarounds for those who may be more budget conscious.
Try this: buy a mirror. Glue mirror to a piece of wood. Screw a baby wall plate to the wood. Then you can tape sheets of diffusion gel for your various light qualities. Try opal or even bleached muslin to see how the results differ. Obviously it won’t be exactly the same quality as the real deal, but if you love bouncing light like me then it’s definitely worth looking into! You can get so creative with mirrors. Try breaking one Limp Bizkit style and reflecting the light. Pretty neat!
This setup was in a tight space so the CRLS came in clutch. We were able to emulate the light quality of a much larger source with a tiny footprint. 1200D into a 50cm number 2 diffusion through a frame of 216 for extra spread. I guess that’s technically a book light? 600D with a Leko on top of the cabinet for a little texture on the back wall and then just a lot of floppies and solids to control all the ambient light.
Tyler Kaschke is a freelance gaffer with a grip truck based in Lafayette, Colorado serving Boulder, Denver, Golden, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and the Rocky Mountain region at large.