UPDATE: August 2 2017
I have written a separate article about using a Cheetahstand Chop Stick with a Westcott Zeppelin. You can read that article here.
I conducted my first commercial session using only Godox lights and a Cheetahstand Rice Bowl 36″ modified to accept and use my DIY focusing parabolic rod. Since Godox has not yet released the AD600 remote head I used the AD360 on the rod due to its light weight. I am very pleased with the light quality, characteristic and my results. This will be my go to focusing modifier for on location sessions.
This is a test shot I took to see how the control of focusing and bouncing light around in the Rice Bowl would perform with my focusing rod. So many images I see overdo the light, but balancing light to appear natural in a scene is much more difficult. I have found that using the Rice Bowl and the focusing rod made this task much more intuitive. I’m now ready to place this device into commercial work.
I wanted to see how my new focusing Rice Bowl would work with HSS and my AD360. I have the AD360 in fully focused position at 1:1 power. Here are my examples:
I have used the Westcott brand of octabank for several years now and find their quality of light remarkable. Initially they offered a reflective option by having a zipper located in the bottom of the octa so one could use a strobe pointed inward on a separate stand. I loved the light this produces and the only issue I found was having to readjust the light if I changed the angle of the octa to match the new angle. But shooting the light into the octa produced an exquisite light quality. One that was not only specular, but soft at the same time.
I have been able to produce the same light using PCB’s Extreme Silver umbrellas. They allow you to adjust the light position into the umbrella and produces a very similar quality of light. The issue became that the amount of spill sometimes was not controllable enough for my needs.
I then researched the Broncolor Para line. Well made, but wickedly expensive – their units focused light very well and produced the same quality of light. But at over 4.5k for their Para 88 I found it out of reach for my client base.
Then Westcott released their Mounting Arm for their Zeppelin line of octas. I have used these commercially for the past six months with great results. My only issue was the weight of the Zeppelin line with their Mounting Arm. The arm requires that one utilize their pivoting speed ring holder which is very heavy. Since I travel constantly for clients and am limited on check in luggage weight this can sometimes pose a problem. So I began to research other options for a focusing rod.
Cheetah Stand manufactures what they call the “Chop Stick” which is a focusing rod for their Rice Bowl line of octas. But after speaking to the owner I discovered that the Chop Stick is only sold in Taiwan, not in the US. Also the owner of Cheetah Stands told me that his Chop Stick has little value to the model 90 which is 36″. I disagreed silently since I have used the focusing rod with my Elinchrom Deep 39″ and it focuses well.
So rather than continue to search for a device I opted to build one, and then another in an effort to reduce weight of the unit for travel. I was told the Chop Stick weighs 6 pounds. The unit I’ve manufactured weighs 3.38 pounds. It uses the following pieces:
- Godox S type Bowen’s bracket
- Eye bolt
- Double spigot
- 3/4 OD aluminum rod
- 3/4 ID flanged bushing
- Wing nuts
- Self tapping screws
- 1.5mm aluminum sheet
- PCB Speedring/Cage Assembly
My opinion of the Cheetah Stand Rice Bowl is excellent. I own a 59″ Westcott Zeppelin, a 47″ Westcott Zeppelin and a Elinchrom Rotalux Deep Octa 39″. The RB is on par with all of them. I especially like the captured rods and the ends of the rods which are covered. The fabric on the unit is of good quality as is the silver interior. I will not hesitate to purchase another one of the RB’s should I need to buy a different size. I love that he includes a grid with the RB’s. A very good overall value.
This 36″ RB and my DIY rod bracket will become my travel gear for certain jobs. Once I receive the AD600BM’s remote head it will be a wonder. Until then I will use the AD360s with this setup. Using HSS with this modifier will open up new possibilities as well.