If you payed attention to NAB 2010, you might remember when Zylight unveiled their patented "Active Diffusion" technology—and then forgot all about it after years passed with no word on when we'd ever see it in stores. However, that day has come now that Zylight has partnered with Chimera to bring the this remarkable electronically adjustable diffusion filter to market.
The Active Diffusion filter is a flexible LCD screen that you can house in a gel frame or mount to a softbox to provide you with varying layers of diffusion. A handheld controller gives you full control over different diffusion effects, from an opaque to almost completely transparent, by filling the screen with liquid crystal. You can use the Active Diffusion filter with any kind of cool fixture, like LED of fluourescent lights.
To catch a glimpse of it in action, check out these demonstrations from both NAB 2010 and NAB 2011.
The potential benefits of using a filter like this are pretty substantial. Not only are you able to control the amount of diffusion you're using with a simple push of a button (or turn of a knob, I guess), but you're also free of having to carry around and swap out different diffusion filters.
Here's what Chimera president Bob Winters had to say about the Active Diffusion filter:
Active Diffusion is very useful to film, video, and photography lighting professionals. Being able to remotely and infinitely adjust your diffusion saves time and labor. We are excited to partner with Zylight to bring this exciting and innovative diffusion technology to customers worldwide.
According to Digital Trends, the panels will become available in April after NAB 2017 and come in two sizes and cost somewhere in the ballpark of $400 and $1,200 (depending on the size).