Simple tool that gets a ton of use.

I am not a grip or a gaffer nor do I pretend to play one on TV, or in this case YouTube. In fact I am just starting to learn about light.

One of the things I am starting to learn is it is not some much the light fixture you use but how you modify it that makes the big difference. Just check out some of Shane Hurlbut’s Home Depot lighting series he has done.

I have been using form core boards attached to tent poles using Gorilla Tape to create flags which I think is also called a gobo – see I told you am not a gaffer. These have worked well for blocking or reflecting light in my studio but not the most portable item when you go out on a shoot.

That is why I wanted to take a look at the 18″x24″ Matthews RoadRags Kit, this kit is small and compact, so small and lightweight there is no reason not to bring it to every shoot.

In this 3/4 back light test you can see how I modify this small 150LED light, here I’m not modifying at all and you can see that the blue light on my left jaw line is harsh and you lose the texture in the skin.

  • First up is the Single Scrim, and you can see some of that texture appear on my jaw line.
  • The double scrim diminish the light even more and you can see even more texture.
  • The silk softens light which might be nice for a female, but for me I think that the double scrim works for best for me.
  • Next I am using the gobo that blocks all the light, I’m seeing what it looks like to lose the rim light on my shoulder.
  • Next up I want to see how it would look if I blocked my hair from being lit so it wouldn’t light up my gray hair.

Simple tool that gets a ton of uses. To my knowledge no one else makes light modifier this road worthy, it collapses up nicely with the use of the tent poles.

Reading some of the comments on B&H reviews, a few wanted an additional silk which I agree with. Actually I think the silk is too small to be used as a softbox, perhaps the 24″x36″ Matthews Kit would be better for that.

All the reviews I read where all very positive even some said the construction was very good. And they definitely look more professional than my home made flags.

The only thing I don’t like about them is the price. It comes in a road $200 for the small kit and 24″x36″ Matthews Kit $325 for the larger sizes.

Gosh, for that price I am almost tempted to pickup some tent pole parts and head to the fabric store to make my own. The problem is that I don’t sow very well.

I just wanted a shout out to Jem Schofield over that the C47 for turning me on to these.

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  • I was just at B H photo store a few weeks ago and was looking at different scrims and things. They are very pricey and did not take the plunge. But i am glad you did some test and shared it with us. I am thinking about making my own. So thanks for sharing Dave.

  • Hey Dave, Gobos are stencils that you put in front / inside spot type lighting to cast a pattern or logo with light.

  • Oh i was going to say that to about gobos. Thay also have a nick name sometimes called cookie cutters or something like that.  This is the non professional name I guess. 

  • I’m curious if the term gobo is being applied differently here. What Kevin and Aron said does apply to stage lighting but I didn’t see anything that describes the role of a stage gobo. More like diffusion then gobos. Anyway, really enjoyed the review!

  • Wow! This is an interesting tool, Dave. I had never heard of a kit like this, but then, I don’t do a ton with lighting. I think for the amount of use you’d get with the Road Rags, the money is worth it.