Light Blaster – Solution for Boring Portrait Backgrounds – REVIEW, Lighting Tutorial and Photoshoot


– Stop! Don’t move! Now click that Like button, or I’ll blast you with my Light Blaster! This really is a Light Blaster. I know, it looks a little different, so stay tuned, and I’ll explain to you how this crazy little
gadget will change the way that you think about backgrounds forever. Hey gang. You’re wondering, what the
heck is a Light Blaster? The Light Blaster is Strobe
Based Image Projector that will allow you to
turn a simple backdrop into an exciting new background with color, patterns, textures, or even real world imagery. Most light modifiers only allow you one color or one shape of light. The Light Blaster lets
you project an image onto a background, or your subject, which opens up an infinite
number of possibilities, and Light Blaster lets you use Gobos, just like the old school Fresno lights that they use in Hollywood. In other words, you’re really only limited by your own imagination. Be sure and stay tuned until the end, and I’ll show you some cool tips for how you can use a Light Blaster to create your own backgrounds and Gobos that you can use in a
studio or on location with speedlights and monolights, and I’ll show you some results from my very first time
using the Light Blaster. Here is a Light Blaster. This is the slide holder. The holder will allow you to use any one of the pre-made slides that are available in
sets from Light Blaster, or you can use 35 millimeter slides. Heck, if you’re an old guy like me, you probably have tons
of them stored away. The Light Blaster has
Canon EF mount on it, and the company has a
Nikon adapter available. Now if you use Sony or Olympus or pretty much any other brand, there are tons of
adapters readily available to convert to Canon. eBay is the perfect
place to find them cheap. The unit comes with a nice
padded case and one slide holder, and sells for about a hundred bucks, which is extremely reasonable when you realize how much money you can save on backgrounds. The company also has a pistol grip if you want your Light
Blaster to be voice activated. I’ve included a link to
the Light Blaster website in the description below. So enough for the review. Let’s put this thing to
work and see what it does. The setup is really easy. Slide your speedlight
into the back of the unit, and tighten the strap. Let me stress tighten the strap. You don’t want your
speedlight falling out. Pick a lens, mount it, and then mount the entire
unit on a light stand, unless you have someone
to hold the pistol grip. I started with the unit
on a speedlight swivel on top of a light stand,
and while this works, fine-tuning the aim of the unit is a little awkward this way. Then I mounted the unit on a tripod, which allowed me much
more control and accuracy. In a conversation with Light
Blaster’s creator, Udi Tirosh, he explained that he uses
an inexpensive ball head. You can get a ball head adapter for under 10 bucks on Amazon. I went with one that has
a quick-release head, and that cost me just 16 dollars, and I mount it on a light stand so that it takes up less
floor space in my studio. Lens selection is pretty basic. If you need to cover a wide area, and you’re working in a tight space, a wide angle lens will be your choice. If you have plenty of room and
don’t need a lot of coverage, a 50 millimeter will work fine. And if you want to project onto a person or a small area, a telephoto
will be much more efficient. I’m already bidding on some
old, inexpensive Canon lenses on eBay, so that I can dedicate them to this piece of equipment, because I see it being a regular part of my arsenal in the future. As I’ve mentioned in previous videos, the most versatile color background to use is a medium grey. With the Light Blaster, there are so many creative possibilities with really any color background: black, white, purple, orange, you name it. You can even project onto brick walls or pretty much any kind of
surface and alter its appearance. Now I can spend hours showing you the possibilities of this gadget, and I still won’t scratch the surface, so let me just walk you through my experimentation with it
and show you what I learned. I started out with a 50
millimeter lens on Light Blaster, and this Gobo with the circle patterns. This is part of the Light
Blaster Pro Gobo set. These are all metal etched,
heat-resistant Gobos that are extremely durable. You can see that with
the Light Blaster placed about six feet away from the background, the 50 millimeter lens
only covers a small part of the nine foot wide backdrop, but it’s enough to be able
to shoot a nice portrait, with a 100 millimeter
lens on a Nikon D810. By the way, that reflector on camera left is a Walmart reflector being held by one of the PVC reflector holders that I showed you in this video. This is a finished one
that I painted black. If you need to cover
more of the background, a wide angle lens, in this
case, a 20 millimeter, will cover much more area,
still from a distance of about six feet from the backdrop. For more options, you
can place a color gel over your lens, and turn
this into this, or this! These are still on a
medium grey background with a metal Gobo, a 20 millimeter lens, and the gels are just taped onto the unit with some Gaffer’s tape. Now remember since you’re
using a camera lens, focus becomes an option. You can have the projected image from Light Blaster be in
focus or out of focus. Add to that the control that you have with depth of field from the camera and the lens that you’re
using to take your shot, and you’ve now expanded your creative range even further yet. Here’s an example. With the Light Blaster lens focused, this Gobo looks like this in the finished shot, at f4. With the Light Blaster out of focus, the finished shot looks like this at f4. You could even use the Light
Blaster as a spotlight. Here with the 50 millimeter lens placed behind the subject, or better yet, here with the 50 millimeter lens in front of the subject,
as the main light source. I mentioned before that you
can use the Light Blaster on any color background. Here is a simple tree Gobo on
the medium grey background. Here’s the same Gobo on white,
and here it is on purple, and each of those examples, if I vary the exposure
and the degree of focus on the Light Blaster, the
background will change yet again. Finally let’s look at some real
portrait and beauty examples shot with the Light Blaster
and one of my favorite models. Here is a cityscape from the
Light Blaster’s Pro Gobo set. I’m using one LumaPro LP180R with a shoot-through
umbrella on camera right, and a LumaPro LP180 in the Light Blaster. If I add a third strobe with
an amber gel on camera left, I can add some rim light. By changing the positioning
of the Light Blaster and the power of the LumaPro LP180, I can go from this to this. If I add a blue gel over the
Light Blaster, I get this. Since this was the very first
time I used the Light Blaster, I didn’t have any of my
own slides available, so using the same basic setup
with the Walmart reflector and a shoot-through umbrella
and a rim light on camera left, I used this slide from the Light Blaster
Creative Effects kit on a black background to get this. And to make this a more
traditional portrait, I just have to remove the
hair from over her eye, and I have this result. If I wanted to be a bit more moody, I can remove the rim and go back to the two
strobe setup for this. Last but not least, here are
some 35 millimeter slides that I pulled out of storage, some of which are 40 years old, but they make great background options with the Light Blaster. Or you could have slides
made from your digital files for about two bucks apiece. I’ll include a link to the company that I use in the description below, or you can purchase transparency film for your printer and print your own. So there you go, the Light Blaster. Hopefully, this gives
you some creative ideas to get you jump-started. Get out there and practice and experiment, and with a gadget like this, the sky is the limit, and think of all the money you’ll save by not having to buy loads of muslin and printed
backdrops for your portraits. So until next time, gang. Remember that your best shot, it’s your next shot, so
please, keep learning, keep thinking, and keep shooting. Adios!

67 Replies to “Light Blaster – Solution for Boring Portrait Backgrounds – REVIEW, Lighting Tutorial and Photoshoot”

  1. . . .Please excuse me, but i am not sure how it works. Is it like an off camera flash, like when you press your shutter button, it fires ? or does it just stay on ? Very nice, I will be getting one . Thank you *

  2. Hey Joe ! Quick question I purchased one of these a while back but I had such a hard time focusing the image that i basically gave up on it. I tried flashlights to focus and nothing worked for me. Now that i see this video i may have to bring out my camera equipment Graveyard ( My Shed). How do you focus yours and get it tack sharp?

  3. Do you focus the lens on a camera body first, if you need a focused projection, or just the trial and error method?

  4. Loved the video Joe! You really know how to review / talk about a product.. a big fan of your style.. very informative.. now I have to get this somehow :).

  5. I been looking at this after you mentionied it for the first time on facebook 🙂 Looks very cool and looks like it makes post more easy than using an green screen.
    I found some old videos of this, and some was conserned about damaging the glass over time from pushing flash light through it. I never found any answers to this.

    I like that they have strobe adapter, I beleive the adapter itself is a bit on the costy side since it cost more than the gun itself, but for me it would over all be cheaper since I dont have any speedlights, and here in Norway you need to give at least 100USD for an 2nd hand flash gun.

  6. Hi Joe,
    Really love this – I've been reading the FAQs – I can't find anything as an example of the limitations of using a crop lens – as per that question on their FAQ page – did you use a DX or an FX lens?
    Cheers, Ross

  7. Joe as always great review and hands han. but how can you focus without a costant light. i know you said focus is an option, but before you decideyou need to see the image

  8. Does this have a venetian blind style gobo? Can you use LightBlaster as main light source to project a pattern on to the model?

  9. You got me, Joe. I am a bit cynical. I do appreciate your work a great deal. Thank you. I have gained a great deal by watching most of your videos. This one not as much, IMO it sounds like a gadget pitch.

  10. Joe,
    You make high quality and informative videos. I love your enthusiasm about what you do. Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge. Look forward to what you do next.

  11. Thanks, Joe. I'am wondering……. does it come out of the box with some " standard " slides.  Thanks and greetz from the Netherlands.

  12. Thanks Joe! I have been looking at the Light Blaster for some time now, I am going to pick one up, this video should show folks to be creative in photography.

  13. Thank you! You're one of my favorite "How to" photographers out there, with creative, practical advise and awesome results.

  14. Joe – this looks like a fantastic invention.  It brings to mind something that I believe was called an "environmental portrait machine,"  you're probably familiar with it.  For those who might not be – with it you could project color transparency slides on to a large reflective screen to create a custom portrait background.  It was a huge amount of equipment that took a long time to set up, so that you almost had to have a studio where you could keep it set up.  This reminds me of it, but it would be 100x more convenient to use and it's portable.  Thanks.

  15. If there is ANY YOutube instructor that covers the bases from MANY MULTIPLE angles, Joe is THEEE MAN!! Great video. This is the hot thing these days, and I have seen 3 different takes on it, and Joe, while others did a good job, you manage to hit the ball out of the park on each occasion!

  16. Hi Joe, this looks great, can you tell me if there would be any difference in this compared to the ones I see on Ebay when I look up light  blasters? Thanks mate love your vidoes.

  17. very nice video, thanks for showing us innovative videos my only complaint is that when I go to check out their website they have a very scary doll as a model, lol. On the flip side I think your model (the first one) does the mannequin challenge like a pro Thanks again!!

  18. Hi Joe, I always like your videos. Your teaching methods are very impressive when you say just practice and break the rules. Wish you all the good luck..

  19. Request you to also do a video on DIY on how we can convert a digital image into a slide. I am requesting this not because of the money you need to spend in labs but because where I stay does not have printing labs that do that job. I have done some googling and found that we can use the transparent (OHP) sheets and print on them instead of a paper. But need your thought on the same or if you have any better solution.

  20. hi sir thank for this vid. i tried it but why i can't get a light on my subject hair? it make a flat shot. what is the settings for each flash? thanks

  21. Hi Joe! As a new subscriber I'm really impressed by your presentation style (and your cool shirts too☺) You pack MORE information and entertainment value into your short videos than a lot of long winded others! (naming no names☹) I've picked up many tips from you and enjoy your channel immensely!……..long may it continue!✌

  22. Very cool gadget. Back in the day, I owned a large long roll reflex camera made by Nord. That camera took magazine containing a 100-foot roll of perforated 35 mm film stock. It was designed for doing high production sessions like school portraits etc. Nord also offered a front projection system, which I bought and used. The projector used a dedicated flash mounted under the camera. The slide to be projected was mounted in a tower unit which contained a beam splitter. The tower went directly in front of the lens. It had an opening which allowed the beam splitter to be positioned directly in front of the lens. When the camera was operated, as the shutter opened the main image on the centre axis of the lens came into the lens through the beam splitter. However, while the shutter was open the flash under the camera fired sending the image of the slide up the tower where it was projected out from the camera directly down the lens axis. This image struck at special projection screen made by 3M. The screen containing millions of tiny highly directional reflective glass beads. Those beads projected/reflected image from the slide, illuminated only by the camera flash, back down the lens axis, where it registered on the film as a double exposure. The whole process was made possible because the timing of the camera flash was offset from the main subject flash. The whole setup took a lot of tinkering and test shots to get right. I had to use polarizers and barndoors and grids to keep the main lights off the screen. Ambient light could also be a problem, especially when shooting in an uncontrolled environment. The unit was heavy and difficult to set up and use. When it worked the end results were sometimes magical. What appeared to be nothing more than a blank grey screen behind the subject would appear as a field of vibrant flowers, or a mountain lake scene. But the novelty of this kind of image wore off and became quickly passe. The light blaster is one heck of a lot smaller and simpler than was my old Nord setup.

  23. Joe, I'm confused. How do you focus the Light Blaster when a flash's light is only on for a tiny fraction of a second?

  24. You are just awesome Joe. Each time when I see your video I learn something new and also get inspired to do something different from my normal works and enjoy a lot doing so.From the bottom of my heart I thank you for such lovely videos. Love from India.

  25. What a great informative video presentation. Lightblaster ought to be paying you for your excitement and enthusiasm with their product.

  26. Hello Joe! I wonder, have you tried the Magbeam? it's the same use as this except the patterns are limited to what Magmod has to offer.
    These are great tools for expending our creativity, that's for sure! still I'd love to see your take on the Magmod system if possible :). Have a nice day!

  27. Got everything set up like you mentioned in your video! Focus flashlight all done! Now how do I capture the image on my camera? I’m really old school so I need help here ! Thanks Joe!By the way I subscribed!

  28. That product makes easy for Bokeh…. Deep DOF for model that is amazing looking, yet a realistic out of focus background drops because you control focus of the slide you put in and your lens in it change the Bokeh. Add filters on lens and you can modify even more the background Bokeh…

    And what is best, you get locations that you photographed previously, but all in studio warmth/cooliness and dry place.

    That is what allows photographer now go outdoors to photograph locations for backdrops and then use those at studio with total DOF control that no other format allows ever to do. That product changes the portrait industry as you don't need anything faked in the image editor!

    Amazing product, thanks Joe for presentation!

    We did this with a digital projector but you can't control the brightness same way you can with speedlight.

    Just wow the price!

  29. I would like to add that the company Joe Edelman referred customers to (for transferring digitals to film), seems uninterested in business (and supremely problem-oriented and not solution oriented). If someone knows of a company willing to take my money, even if I'm not from the continental US, please enlighten me. But William Nau at "Express Slides" is NOT an option (not even using services like jet carrier that actually provides a US address in New Jersey, would he be willing to do business, if he was aware that the customer was not a US or Canadian citizen).

    I do suspect that Joe Edelman referred customers there because he wanted to return the favor of good service. But he should be aware that how they treat international customers does reflect poorly on him as well, as long as he associates with that company. 🙁

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