Cine Reflect Lighting System, a Great Choice for Photographers Too
Review by Erik Vlietinck
If you’ve ever had to lighten a scene and couldn’t do it properly without flags and other devices to stop the light from spreading and spilling, you should take a look at the LIGHTBRIDGE CRLS (Cine Reflect Lighting System), a lighting system based on lightweight aluminum reflectors that don’t spill. The CRLS is used in cinematography but begs to be discovered by photographers.
The LIGHTBRIDGE C-Reflector produces a natural look by using the inverse square law for less falloff than you can get from traditional reflectors. It’s available in five diffusion grades, ranging between a mirror and a muslin bounce. All C-Reflectors use a clear-cut, polished aluminum-coated, wrinkle-free surface that reflects 97% of the light, beautifully feathered and without any color shift.
Each square-sized diffusion grade C-Reflector comes in five sizes: 2.7″, 6”, 9.8”, 19.7″, and 39.4″. Except for individual reflectors, a variety of kits are available.
I received the C-START kit, which includes four 6″ C-Reflectors ranging from Diffusion 1–4, two 9.8″ C-Reflectors ranging from Diffusion 3–4, and one C-Wheel male and one C-Wheel female mounting system. I tried the system with continuous light and a manual flash.
The quality is top-notch without a flaw or even a speck on the reflecting surface. Because the system relies on the C-Reflector’s coating to reflect the light accurately, you’re advised to handle them with gloves or at least with clean hands. I used a pair of cotton gloves.
The back of the C-Reflector has a rail to slide on a C-Wheel with a square safety wedge. You turn the wheel to fix the reflector in place and attach the other end to a light stand, a suitable arm, or anything else that can hold a male or female spigot mount. I fixed the reflectors to a Manfrotto Avenger clamp. Most reflectors have a hole in one corner to run a provided cable through for extra safety.
The smallest C-Reflector is meant to lighten smaller objects. You’d use it in food and jewelry photography, for example. The 6″ one is good for portraits or bigger objects. Color accuracy isn’t an issue. I measured my lamp’s output and the reflected light, and the lamp’s color temperature was 5060K and the reflectors came in at 5080K.
Because they reflect 97% of the light, you can use a 9.8″ Diffusion 4 reflector on your subject and a 6” Diffusion 1 for a catchlight. The result I got with that setup was pleasing and natural-looking, and at this scale it never becomes impractical as is often the case with traditional reflectors.
For portraits, the effects can range from the romantic to the dramatic with 6″ reflectors. For bigger scenes, like a shot of an interior design, the entire room can be lightened as much as you want, using a combination of natural light and any number of the 9.8″ reflectors pointed at the subjects to which you want to draw attention. I even used the sun coming in as the light source.
Contrary to the name, the C-START kit is enough for portrait photography or video shooting in a small room. In a large studio, you might want to have one or more of the 19.7″ and 39.4″ reflectors that you can buy online. For even bigger setups, LIGHTBRIDGE can make any size to order.
C-Reflectors aren’t cheap, but once you’ve seen what you can do with light and how easy it is using them, you’ll fall in love and never go back to traditional reflectors. ■