Wednesday, 23 April 2014

1420 VAL Spigot - Practical Applications

Applications for my 1420 VAL Spigot go beyond purely being fixed to the end of a painters extension. Here I show how the 1420 VAL Spigot may be used when out in woodland using trees instead of light stands.

Lighting, travelling lightweight

With the aid of nothing more than a webbing load strap you can attach your 1420 VAL Spigot to a tree simply by passing the strap through the transverse holes and securing the strap around the tree trunk and pulling VERY tight.
I favour metal cam lock buckles as you can really pull the web strap tight.


It's amazing how many people stop and take an interest when they see the Village Idiot with a flash attached to a tree. Andy and his partner were intrigued so it would have been rude of me not to do a quick snap for them using the set-up in the image above.


The MacGuyver Tree Boom

The painters pole isn't exactly compact, but it is lightweight and if you're working with a VAL (Voice Activated Light stand) or assistant, then frankly, it's their problem to schlep it around;)

This is a simple solution which will avoid VALs over exerting themselves, all you need are 3 x 3ft lengths of good quality paracord a camera bag or other suitable weight. Here I had the Quadra controller and battery adding some weight, but a log or rock would suffice.


Crappy iPhone snap, but you get the idea!

Take one loop of paracord, loop it around tree and insert painters pole as illustrated.


Twist paracord using pole until very tight. Friction will prevent slipping as will the rough surface of the tree bark. This also works with street light columns etc when is a less wooded urban environment.


Take one length or paracord and secure to the other with a Prusik knot. This is a friction based hitch used in many outdoor activities which when a load is applied locks tight. But when the load is released the knot moves smoothly.

Attach the loop to which you've attached the Prusik knot to the handle end of your painters pole (black cord above). A slip loop is sufficient for this. The end of the Prusik knot cord (orange cord above) should be attached to the weight of your choice.



Once this done attach your light to the 1420 VAL Spigot on the thread end of the painters pole. The height/angle/position of the pole is adjusted by sliding the orange cord along the black cord. You can also do this in the studio with a light stand and sand bag. Use the sand bag as a weight for the light stand & as the counter balance for the boom by way of the paracord. With the conventional set-up of counter weight attached to the boom you need to adjust the weight on the boom according to the weight on the business end. With this method, if you decide to change the light or modifier, there is no need to remove the weight from the boom in order to do so. All that happens is the paracord goes slack. As soon as you add a light, tension is regained.


The Bar Clamp


Many bar clamps available in DIY and hardware stores have a ¾" bar which is a perfect fit to the 1420 VAL Spigot. These clamps are actually very strong and I'm happy attaching a Speedlite with a 60cm Lastolite Ezybox to one.


As one would expect, if you can use a Speedlite, there's no reason why a lightweight portable flash such as an Elinchrom Ranger Quadra head can't be used.



And do not forget that the 1420 VAL Spigot is designed to fit both in line and at 90ยบ!


Elinchrom flash is available from The Flash Centre. Email Simon Burfoot or call Brian Collier at the Birmingham branch

The 1420 VAL Spigot is available from selected retailers in the UK and direct from me for US or UK customers.

If you're serious about your photographic lighting then maybe The LIGHT Side Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelightsidegroup/ will interest you. It's about all things to do with light and lighting. TLS is a closed group so someone will need to add you or you'll need to send a request to be added. It's a friendly group, with a degree of humour and some great photographers willing to share and contribute.






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