broncolor Para FB reflector are impressive not only because of their shape and size. but most of all because of their unique light quality and outstanding performance.
The decisive factor for the creative photographer is that a Para FB is not a light shaper in the conventional sense, but a fully fledged illumination system.
A variety of reflectors' size are available; the position of the lampe head can be changed; the angle influences the character of the light; three diffusers of different densities are available. Para FB reflectors can also be combined with other accessories.
Photographers wiht a flair for light will find no end of new combinations and characteristics with the Para system: it is an inexhaustible source of inspiration and creativity.
The Paras FB are parabolic reflectors made up of 24 segments covered with a high-gloss tearresistant textile reflector material.
The reflectors openings have a diameters of 170, 220 and 330 cm. All Para FB models are made mostly of lauminium and carbon or fiberglass (170) and therefore weight very little despite their gigantic dimensions.
Their size also determines the kind of light they produce.
The broncolor Para 330 FB envelopes an entire studio in a wonderful light that remains soft event at great distances without ever becoming (flat). The light is identical and homogeneous over a large area, so the model can be move freely and spontaneously. The photographer can in fact stand directly in the front of the light light source and vary his distance from the model without influencing the light or casting a shadow.
The Para 220 FB is more than large enough to produce the typical Para light even at moderate distance of 5 to 8 m. Like its big brother, it can completely defocused and offers almost the same light characteristics.
Although it becomes spot-like (harder) more quickly at long distances, it offers the entire spectrum of variation more readily at shorter distances.
The light from the Para 170 FB begins to resemble that of a very large spot. It is slightly more aggresive (so it occasionally requires a supporting fill light), but also more interesting on textures and more brilliant in highlights.
Para 170 FB cannot completely defocused to the same extent, i.e the reflector centre is never completely dark. The residual light does somewhat reduce the three-dimensioanl effect, but as the same time counteracts an excessively (hard) lighting mood.
Moreover, the Para 170 FB has the great advantage that it can be ued effectively in smaller studios and shorter distances.
Next to the size of the Para FB, the most important parameter for light design is
the position of the lamp in the reflector (focussing)
The focussed position, in which the lamp is located well inside the reflector, creates a paralel, large area light. It acts like a gigantic spot: powerful and brilliant on the one hand, but on the other hand (because of its size) soft and almost completely shadowless. Much of the ligh comes from the optical exis, the centre of the umbrella.
Positioning the Para FB behind the camera therefore yields a less delicate and three-dimensional light that is still brilliant. In eyes or on glossy surface, all the 24 segments of the reflectors are imaged like a diamond.
When the defocused position is used (in which the lamp is positioned almost outside the reflector), reflections from the centre of the umbrella are entirely absent. The Para FB differs fundamentally in this respect from other giant umbrella with a structured reflector material. With Para FB the subject is illuminated not by one bigh light source, but by 24 small, hard light sources. Those 24 hard lights, arranged in a soft pattern, generate a fantastically beautiful cloud of light taht envelops everything, produce soft and smooth illumination and nevertheless emphasises the subject's texture (e.g. skin).
Since no light comes from the optical axis, positioning the reflector behind the camera means that only shaping side light exist, modelling every photographic subject which exreme plasticity and three-dimensionality.
Compare between focussed & defocussed
The Light Source
Para FB can be operated with a Pulso G and an Unilte lamp, but also the new Litos lamp and Ringflash P.
By using a Ringflash P the effective light source moves precisely the centre of the Para FB. Direct reflection (e.g. in the eyes of a portrait-close-up) becomes more homogeneous, the light as such, slightly softer.
Sample Photo Para FB with Pulso G
Sample Photo broncolor Para FB with Ringflash
Diffusor 1 is an almost completely transparent tulle. Only a small portion of the light is diffused and the typical light characteristics of the Para FB are not influenced. The light becomes a tiny bit more delicate, contrast is slightly diminished and the dominance of reflections on the subject is reduced. This make it a magnificent tool in particular for subtle lighting efflect in glamour photography.
Diffusor 2 makes the light denser than number 1. The light becomes softer and more homogeneous but also a little less sculptural. Direct reflections in eyes or on similar surfaces apper as almost homogenenenous white areas, and the additional scattered light in the studio reduces contrast. Unlike with number 3, however, some of the light can still pass through the diffuser without scattering, and the typical Para FB light characteristics are retained to a somewhat lesser extent.
Diffusor 3 closes off the reflector completely. The white cloth is not transparent, and all the light is scattered. The result is an extremely homogeneous, very soft and low-contrast light. The properties of this Para FB light are comparable to those of a softbox of the same size.
The light angle also has an influence on the light. One possibility is not to shine the Para FB directly onto the scene being illuminated. At different angles, the reflections in the reflector are shifted or their size changes.
This lets the photographer influence «hardness». Image contrast can also be controlled by moving the reflections farther away from or closer to the camera. If the Para FB is directed away from the subject, this again has a direct influence on the amount of scattered light in the studio, and thus on contrast, colour saturation, and brilliance.
These are only some of the capabilities that broncolor makes available, and they already offer an incredible spectrum of lighting design possibilities. Many more will occur to you as you work every day with Para FB reflectors in the studio or on location; for example, the lamp need not always be located on the reflector‘s optical axis. Asymmetrical positions also yield the desired effect. Para FB reflectors can be combined with certain other light shapers from the broncolor product range: a Para FB is a constant stimulus to improvise and discover new illumination effects.