DIY: Snoots with Color (Part 1)

Snoots with Colors (Part 1)_01Welcome back to another DIY.

I know that you already missing some DIY here so here goes a great one.

I grabbed David Hobby last year's idea for building a cereal card box snoot at his Strobist blog and decided to take it a step forward towards coloring them.

This will be a two part set with me covering on the first part how to build your snoots, with no effort , from any cereal card box, as if you do not know this already, but this time I'll take you to coloring the lights with them using the Lee filters small pack gels.

They will continue to be the good old carry on, even if you loose one you can get home and make another one, but these one's will be colored.

For those of you who do not know what I'll be talking about take a moment...


... and read some of these example articles that David Hobby wrote before you continue, this way you'll get an idea what is a snoot and what you can accomplish if you build one.

- On Assignment: Spring Arts Guide

- Developing an Idea, Part One

- Developing an Idea, Part 2: Compact Fluorescent Bulb

- DIY Macro Strip Lights

- On Assignment: Blind Snoot Portrait

- On Assignment: Pool Portrait

- On Assignment: Flavored Vodkas

- On Assignment: Simple Wall/Snoot Portrait

AMAZING isn't it ?!!!

Well at least that's what I thought when I read it for the first time... so stop being lazy and gather your stuff to build one here's how:

First I will start with the setup light I used to take all these shots.

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On camera left, a white umbrella with a Nikon SB26 through it at 1/6 to get a nice bright light.
Camera settings for this was Tv200, Av8.0 and ISO100.

What you will be needing:
- 3 Cereal card boxes ( I got 2 from the same size and another a little bigger).
- Scissors
- Glue
- Ruler
- Pen
- The Flash you will be using for measures and try out later
- Lee filters or any other sample package you have and try out later
- Some patience...

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First things first. Draw the measures on the card.

For the 580Ex (L to R) 1cm, 7,3cm, 4,3cm, 7,3cm, 4,3cm
For Nikon SB26 will be 1cm, 7,3cm, 4,5cm, 7,3cm, 4,5cm

And since this will be the small of the three I have chosen the 16cm of height.

Why 16cm and not 13,5cm or 11,656cm? - You may ask

First because it will be easier to carry, second you have to count with at least 2cm for the flash head to enter and be steady (so it will be 14cm) and last but not less important the size of the box since the one I had available was from that size... :)

Well you can make them at any size based on what your needs are. I will come to this on part 2 of this DIY.

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See, on the above picture, that my index fingers are pointing at the card well this is the already made bending part of the box.

When I made the measures I took the available space on the cereal card box to make it fit into the drawings of the snoot, pay attention to this when you build yours or at least choose a box that fits on your drawing measures since this will save at least bending 2 more parts ;)

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This is the picture of the drawing for the snoot 22cm with sizes as above only the height is 22cm.

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And here for the third and last one of the series the MEGA snoot 28cm with sizes as above only the height is 28cm. I always wanted to make and try one of these...

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Now get the scissors and start cutting them out of the cereal card box, nice and easy.

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With the help of the ruler start folding them inside so it will help shaping the box.

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A little glue, on the 1cm part, to hold the box together.

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And "voilá" we got the first cereal snoot assembled, cool, fast and simple. ;)

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On top the 16cm and on bottom the 22cm... now let's work on the BIGGER one and I will post next a side by side of the three so you can get a visual idea.

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Quickly I finished it and here it is a picture of the "CORNFLA" colored cereal box ;)

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Enjoy the three of them align together. See when I meant BIG?

Until here nothing was new (for the people who were building this cereal card box Snoot for some time now).

Next comes the interesting part...

I've been scratching my head for quite a while now and wondering a way to make the cereal card box Snoot hold a gel filter.

- Tried to put some Velcro at the end of the Snoot like I did on the flashes, this way I could attach the same gels I was using on them. Attempted FAIL!!
Simply because this would led me to Velcro all the gel filter colors I would need to use... but then again what if I needed a Ultimate Violet ref.707 color on one snoot and a Velvet Green ref.735 and all this while on location with no way to attach or get some Velcro?

Damn S"#$&, why this had to happen now that I have carried all the stuff I was going to need for the assignment, how could I missed this...!!!

- Tried to make a hole at the end part of the flash like I did on DIY: Lee Filters Flash Adapter, this could make a point, but then again FAILED!!.
This was a good idea except that when you make the hole, on the end part of the Snoot, for the gel to get in it will not stay aligned with the inside flash because the flash diameter would make the Snoot wider than the 4cm gel and the white light will spread mixing it with the colored gel.

- I also tried to make a box wider on one side, where the flash will get in, and on the other side cut it the size of the gel. FAILED!!
The box would not be very stable since it was not holding the light for a steady position and will cause the box not to be completely square, it was having a strange shape and the glue, after some use, would start to come out.

After trashing a couple of boxes trying to figure it out a way of making this to work and spending almost a week testing out...


Let me show you how simple it is:

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On one side of the box you measure 2cm (this for the 580Ex or you can feel the flash end with the tips of your fingers and measure there) from the end side of the box you will want to use the gel (see image above) then you mark that with a pen.

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Pay attention to the above picture because you will want to make the cut on the clean part of the box, do not make it on the 1cm glued part since this will be more complicated to slide the filter gel afterwards.

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Next, remove the flash from the snoot and make a clean cut from top to bottom.
DO NOT cut any inside parts of the box except the one mentioned!!

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See how it will look like after you inserted my old Lee filter gel that I generally use for testing purposes.

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View from another side.
Here you can actually see how the hole of the gel filter tip will keeps out after inserting the all filter gel. This option is very good in case you need to change it quickly with another one or none.

And you may ask at this point... Will it work? - YES IT WILL WORK!!!

Pay attention to the next image.

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Here you can see it working and with this technique you can even adjust the filter to cover the all flash head since the filter gel will be very near the flash and you can push it inside for better adjustment.

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Here is a quick simple example with a blue Lee filter gel put in giving you a complete blue color.

After we've finished cutting and gluing everything is time to give a cover to our boxes.
We do not want our fellow photographers to think we are not professionals or people on the street looking at us with a weirdo look ;)

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So 30cm (more or less) of Gaffer tape will be enough for a complete turn around the snoot so it will look very professional.
Start on the part of the Snoot that does not have the hole and leave that for last... this will be explained why a couple of steps further.

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Do it like this smoothly so it would not turn in with any wrinkles...
The wrinkles you see on the image are the joined pieces of tape.

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This should be the last part to add tape since you CANNOT cover the hole with tape.

I repeat you CANNOT cover the hole with tape!!

Because if you do you will damage the filters since the Gaffer tape's glue will be passed onto the filter as soon as you put in through the hole... so once again DO NOT cover the hole with tape!!

Cut a little piece of tape and cover around the hole like you see on the image.

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Here are the final trio with some tape on them. Doesn't they look like a professional tool, or whatever that means.

Now that you make it this far also take a look at my best "selling" DIY: Black Straws Snoot Grid (Part 1) and DIY: Black Straws Snoot Grid (Part 2).

You can also apply this color example filter insertion to the Black Straws Snoot Grid. The only thing you need to add to it's construction is the small hole on the side so that the gels could get in and color the straws.

On the Black Straws Snoot Grid you can make them with different color straws but, from my point of view, the only issue is that you will have to stick with that color and again carry a lot of this things on your bag when you decided that Loving Amber ref.176 was the right color... get it?!!!

Hope this could help you guys out as much as it is helping me on the field.

Stay tuned for the DIY: Snoots with Color (Part 2) in a couple of days where you can see an example on how you could use this to make your photos shine as well as the effect of each one of them.

Greetings to all,


Snoots with Colors (Part2)


Diddlbiker said...

Gaffer Tape is very expensive. It's main attraction is that you can remove it without leaving glue. So, to cover the snoot, you might just as well use black duct tape or something similar.

Anonymous said...

Or why not just shell out a lil bit for black art paper & use that for an outer skin :) I glue on the outer skin before making the slit for the gel