Having recently been able to acquire a trio of Vivitar 285s for some strobist playtime, I was anxious to add some robust gels to them. I’m not keen on using velcro to attach them, especially as the design team at Vivitar had thoughtfully provided a filter slot on the flash itself (sa they did for the entire 285 series). I also wanted the ability to be able to use more than one filter at a time easily and without fuss.
And so, armed with some Instant Self Laminating Cards, A set of 50 Colour Correction Gels (40mmx140mm, sold by Crazy Daisy through Amazon.co.uk) and a pair of scissor, a permanent marker pen and a treasury tag, I set about creating a set to suit my needs.
Our non UK readers may consider getting the Rosco Correction Gel Pack, Will probably last you a life time in gels.
The first picture shows the gels as bought, a CTO cut up ready to be used, the laminated card and a home printed label to help identification later.
The set of gels consists of 5 each of NDs, CTOs etc. Now, very luckily, the size of each of the gels is just about double the size of the flash head so in effect I have 100 filters to use! Not bad for £12.
Firstly, cut the gel in half. If you want to create a Double CTO then just fold the gel in two. Then, slide the gel into the laminate so it butts up against the pre-sealed end stop. Do the laminate thing, remembering to include your label at the other end. . Don’t put the gel/label central, put it close to top or bottom, then you will only need to trim one side later instead of two.
Trim that sucker down so that it fits snugly into the Viv285 filter slot. Note that you will need to take about 2mm off the pre-sealed end as well. This will allow you to insert the filter card further into the slot. Then , go around the edges with black permanent marker to prevent light sneaking out the sides.
Finally, when you have done a set of these you can use a hole punch and a treasury tag to build a pack of these filter cards. Go wild and source some some coloured ones as well for when you want to light a background!
I’ve found that I can insert up to 4 of these into the slot on the Viv285 at a time, so that could be a CTO and a few NDs.
About the author: Barry Young is a photographer based in Swindon, Englend. You can follow his flickr stream here.