Lighting 201: Gear Setup – Setting Up a Monopod Light or “Boom Stick”
Gear Setup – Setting Up a Monopod Light or “Boom Stick” | Transcription
Welcome to how to set up a pocket strobe boom stick. Now we’re going to be setting it up with a full feature flash, but just keep in mind that if you’re using a manual strobe, you’re just going to follow the same steps that we did in the prior video where we set up basically a PocketWizard, or use whatever radio triggering system that you’re using for your flashes, but I like the simplicity of the full feature strobes like the Mitros Plus, so we’re going to do that.
Now the first thing that I’ll need to do is you’ll notice that this is, we’re going to be using the Westcott Rapid Box for our Octa that goes on top of this for the light modifier, and this is basically what mounts the, well the modifier to your stand, but this doesn’t fit, and if I keep hitting it, not going to fit any better, okay.
What I’ve got to do is I need to adapt that a little bit. I have a spigot. This is a 3/8ths 20, so basically I have a 3/8ths diameter hole right here on this side, and it goes to a quarter 20 diameter female hole on this side. Okay, so all we’re going to do is adapt this, but really we don’t need the adoption. We just need this to become a little bit larger, so that way we can attach this to it. All I’m going to do is just mount this little spigot onto there, and this is always a good idea. Whenever I’m creating like a boom stick like this, I’ll grab a wrench or something, and just grab it and kind of twist just to kind of make sure that this is on there nice and tight. Nice and tight. Okay. I flexed for the camera. Did y’all see it? Hopefully yes.
Okay, so now we can place this right over our spigot and then tighten it, and we are good to go. We’re going to tighten this down, and I just want to make sure like it’s tight, so that way this isn’t going to turn on that mount right there, okay?
Now we’re going to grab the Westcott Octa. This was the mounting bracket for the Octa, and before I open it up, I’m just going to go ahead and on the backside, you can see that it has this little plate thing, so all we do is we just open up the plate, I’m going to press down this button to make sure it pops in right there, so now it’s nice and secure, and we’re going to take this and we’re going to just mount it right onto our bracket. I have little screw holes on this side. I’m going to thumb screw it into there. Okay. Here’s what that looks like so far. All right. This is looking really nice and good so far.
Let’s just go ahead and open this guy up. Let’s open it up. Let’s place, I wish I just knew what all these things were called. We’re going to place this guy through the hole like so, and then what we’re going to do is just make sure that’s seated well, and then we’re going to grab our reflector dish. Now this dish is what basically pushes back the flashlight, so this dish right here, it pushes back that light into the silver area of the Octa, and so that way you’re using the entire area. Now you can possibly, you can kind of imagine with your heads, that’s how you’d imagine. I was going to say, you can imagine with your minds, but there’s not really anything you’d use to imagine, so imagine placing a flash on here and not using this just means that the flash is going to come straight through. You’re not going to be using that entire Octa softbox thing. It’s just going to be a slightly more diffused flash.
Okay, so what we’re going to do is grab our little wing nut. Now I’ve lost the actual wing nut that came with this, but that’s okay. I just went to Home Depot and got another one. We’re going to place the dish so that it’s concave basically, so that’s going in like this. I think I’m using that word correctly, whatever. If I’m not, don’t sue me. Just place this so the curved side is facing in, or the rough side. Here, here’s the rough side. Place it so it’s facing in. Okay, so let’s just go ahead and do that now. I’m just going to pop this right onto there, and let me try and do all this without actually dropping something, and in a manner that you guys can actually see what I’m doing too. It’s not going to be easy, I’ll be honest. I’m trying to keep it open and let you guys see what’s going on, but I’m not left-handed, so this is rather difficult. There we go. Is it going? There we go. There we go. All right. Okay. This doesn’t need to be on there like super tight. It’s not like it really is going to, it doesn’t really matter. We just need it to be there to deflect that light so it uses the entire material there.
Okay, so before I put on the diffuser, let’s go ahead and just flip this around, and let’s put on our actual flash now. Let’s go ahead and just grab our flash unit. I’ve got the Phottix Mitros Plus. We’re going to place it right here onto this bracket, and by the way, these brackets are just standard brackets, okay, so if you ever end up losing one of these, they come, you can pop these on and off very easily. They’re just quarter mount brackets, and you can buy these on Amazon. They’re just standard little flash brackets, so if you happen to lose one of these, don’t worry. They’re very easy to replace, and again that screw is just a quarter 20 standard screw size.
All right, so let’s pop the flash on, okay. We’re going to tighten that so it’s nice and tight, and I’m going to lock it so it’s extra tight, and then what I can do is I can adjust this. What I’m going to do is basically put the flash so that it’s angled in towards this guy, but look, right now it’s not lined up correctly, right? Right now it’s not lined up, and if I fire, only some of the light is going to make it into our little device here, into our little Westcott Rapid Box. What I need to do is lower this a little bit, and then using the loosened hot shoe on the bottom here, I’m just going to push it in until the entire head is inside of our modifier, okay? I’ll just adjust this up a little bit so that way I’m hitting dead center right there on the right. We’re close enough.
All right, so we’re good there, and now let’s go ahead and open up to this side so you can see it. I’m going to go ahead and turn this on, and hopefully my monopod will just stand like that. Yeah, look at that. It stands. Okay, so if I fire this now, you’re going to see that we get a nice basically full kind of wrap around this entire thing. Let me just go ahead and turn down the power so I can have a little faster of a recycle time. Basically what’s happening is that flash is hitting the dish and it’s reflecting, and the dish is opening it up so that we’re using now the entire surface of the softbox, or at least, most of it.
Now with this silver, you can imagine again, from Lighting 101, we talked about silver is going to give you a more specular light. It’s going to be more powerful as well, okay, but if we want to diffuse that, we can. We’re just going to grab the diffuser. This comes with the Rapid Box, and we’re going to put the diffuser on. Okay, so the diffuser just goes on very easily around the outside of this guy. Okay, I’m going to try not to knock anything down while I’m doing this. Hey, that actually went fairly well without a hitch, unlike what I was expecting. I was expecting to fumble around. Let’s go ahead and get this thing balanced so we can let go of it. All right, right there.
Now we have a lovely diffused softbox, and you can see how basically it’s taken that little tiny pocket strobe, and when I’m firing now, this whole surface is lighting up, so we’ve opened that pocket strobe into a much larger light.
I love this set-up. Why? Because it’s super convenient. It’s very quick and easy to set up. You can navigate this into any position. If I want to get Rembrandt lighting or flat lighting or loop lighting or anything, I mean, I can get this, I can have my lighting assistant just adjust the position so easily. We can go top-down. We can get this into different areas, and it’s just a very simple and portable light source. This is one of my favorite go-to boom stick options is just the simple pocket strobe, full feature pocket strobe going through the Westcott Rapid Box.
Just remember that as far as light output goes, you don’t have a lot of power here. We have roughly 50 to 60 watt-seconds of light here, and that’s not a ton. It means that basically if you’re shooting during the day and midday sun and you’re trying to modify a pocket strobe, this is not going to be enough light to overpower the sun, or really even be that noticed. It might give you a little bit of a fill, but that’s it. If you want to overpower the sun with just a single bare bulb flash, we need to fire bare bulb. Otherwise, we need to put a larger strobe inside of this to be able to overpower sunlight. What we do get from this is during dusk, nighttime, indoors, all of those other scenes that aren’t bright midday sunlight, we get a beautiful Octa, just a super portable Octa box that creates amazing wrapping light anywhere you want to go. This is a fantastic option for y’all looking for a portable boomable boom stick.