Home LightingEquipment Reviews Rosco Diffusion Series Part 1: Brushed Silk

Rosco Diffusion Series Part 1: Brushed Silk

written by Shane Hurlbut, ASC

Music courtesy of Musicbed:  Midnight Riot – “Bird Set Free”

In this article, we are going to do something very special for our HurlBlog followers. We are going give you an exclusive glimpse of the immersive, informative, and essential building blocks for visual storytelling content embedded inside shanesinnercircle.com.  This is a cut-down version of a whole diffusion series that we have inside the Inner Circle. This is a Five Part Series focusing on Rosco diffusion. Yeah, baby!

Listed below is what’s coming to the Inner Circle and you’ll have a special peek right here on the Hurlblog. What you’ll get to see on the Hurlblog is just the tip of the iceberg, so I invite you to step inside the Inner Circle for a much more in-depth breakdown of this series as well as more robust content on lighting, cinematography theory, on set & BTS with me, exclusive podcasts, and a thriving network of filmmakers to help you master your art and advance your growth in filmmaking.

  • ROSCO DIFFUSION SERIES (Shane’s Inner Circle Exclusive)
    • Rosco Diffusion Series: Light Diffusions: Part 1 – Run time 12 mins 54 secs
      • Hanover Frost
      • Brushed Silk
      • Light Opal
    • Rosco Diffusion Series: Frost Diffusions: Part 2 – Run time 16 mins 58 secs
      • ½ Soft Frost
      • Highlight
      • Soft Frost
    • Rosco Diffusion Series: White Diffusions: Part 3 – Run time 14 mins 16 secs
      • ¼  White
      • ½ White
      • Tough White
      • Tough Rolux
    • Rosco Diffusion Series: Grid Cloths: Part 4 – Run time 14 mins 54 secs
      • ¼ Grid Cloth
      • Silent ½ Grid Cloth
      • Full Grid Cloth
    • Rosco Diffusion Series: Color Grid Cloths: Part 5 – Run time 15 mins 06 secs
      • ¼ Straw Grid Cloth
      • ½ CTS Grid Cloth
      • Full Straw Grid Cloth
      • Moonlight Grid Cloth

What is really special about this series is the pure necessity of testing diffusions. As artists, we want to get right to it and will often push off testing, which in turn, will affect your final product. It’s a catch-22. But tests are so essential to understanding light quality, which is everything as a cinematographer.

Without further adieu:

Welcome to our diffusion laboratory! Today, we’re going to be doing some really cool stuff with Rosco diffusion. What’s going to be really unique about it is that we’re not only going to show you how it changes and modifies the quality of light, we’re also going to address how many stops you lose as well as how color temperature shifts.

We have some of the coolest, most up-to-date technology in regard to color temperature metering that exists. This is the Sekonic c-700 Spectrometer. I have to say, back in the day of Minolta color meters, those things were able to do just HMI and tungsten. That was about it. This can handle any waveform along with all the CRI values, and what’s really unique about it is that when you meter a light, it will tell you what gels to use in order to match it.

This is my Sekonic c-700 color meter

We put an Arri 2K Blonde as our main keylight. When I just fired the light up without any gel on it and wanted to reach the mark of 3200K, it was 3022K. My c-700 Color Meter told me to add 1/8 CTB. Sure enough, we added the 1/8 CTB and it brought it to almost 3200K. It’s now at 3197K — pretty darn close.

Our light was a little too warm. At 3022K, I added an 1/8 CTB to bring it to 3200K

Metering the color temperature of the light

So that’s our base — we are at 3200K on our Arri 2K Blonde which is a raw, hard light right now. We have our SpyderCHECKR datacolor chart so that we can see all the different color tones we’re working with, along with the grayscale for when we bring the footage into post.

SpyderCheckr allows us to check our color tones and our grayscale

We have our fill light at a slightly cooler temperature. We’re looking at 3300K. Let’s cool that up ever so slightly by going to 3800K. Since we’re bouncing our cooler light, it’s just warming up a little bit.

Our fill light is set at a slightly cooler temperature

Metering the fill light

Now our color temperature is at 3543K. It’s slightly cooler than the color temperature coming from the 2K Blonde. Our backlight is looking nice and gold and is at 2308K. It’s nice and warm; about 1000 degrees warmer than our key light.

The fill is slightly cooler than our warm key

Our background wall light is about 3600K.

Taking meter readings of our background wall light

Brushed Silk:

We have everything all set up, so let’s start with our light diffusions.

The first one we’re going to start with is Brushed Silk. Now Brushed Silk is a very unique diffusion. If you look closer, you can see that it has these bands of silk material through the gel.

Brushed Silk has bands in the gel that streak the light

If it’s backlit, you can see it has a horizontal beam of light. When you turn it, the band becomes vertical.

Here, the gel has a horizontal band

If I turn the gel 90 degrees, the horizontal band turns into a vertical band

You can kind of shape it like you would do an ETC Par, a Par 64, or a 1200 Par where you would change the light beam. You can go horizontal, vertical, or diagonal.

You can shape the light beam by rotating the gel

So, we’ll slide this baby on.

I slide the Brushed Silk up into place

I really want to see the nose shadow here, so let’s take the light and move it lamp right to extend the shadow.

Now, let’s see what we’re looking at in regards to our light value. How much has it taken away?

The Brushed Silk has also taken 4/10 of a stop from our light, just like the Hanover Frost

Let’s talk about color temp.

The color range is only 30-40 Kelvin

The advantage with the Brushed Silk is that you can actually bend the beam. You can either go horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. Now we’ll see how Hanover Frost compares.

With the Brushed Silk, you can bend the beam

This concludes our diffusion laboratory!


For more on our Rosco Diffusion Series, head over to Shane’s Inner Circle for my full review and analysis. We’re excited to hear what you think about today’s laboratory so make sure to leave a comment below.

All videos were edited on HP Z840 workstations using HP Z24x DreamColor monitors.

In case you’re wondering what we used to make this video, check out the gear below:

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