Diffusion 101: Should You Use a Pro Modifier or Some DIY Trick?
When it comes to diffusing light, there are many tools that can get the job done.
Whether you're a professional DP or a backyard hobbyist, lighting a scene is going to be a major challenge, but perhaps the most difficult part is figuring out how to shape the light so you get the look and feel you need for your scene. You have lots of tools at your disposal: paper lanterns, softboxes, humongous scrims, but do you go with something big and expensive or something messy and cheap? Well, in this video, Matti Haapoja of TravelFeels talks about both to help give you a better idea of what you're in for either way.
I suppose the main question we all have to ask ourselves before deciding on a piece of equipment is whether or not we can afford it. If the answer is no, then you've got your definitive answer right there. However, if you can afford it, you might want to ask yourself if the product is worth the added cost.
We've all been so broke that we had no other option than to use a shower curtain as a diffuser, and the results were usually better than we expected (or at least better than going without one). Then when e have the opportunity to use professional lighting equipment, we might be convinced to change our philosophy on gear; it's either go pro or go home.
But there are plenty of pros who work at the most elite levels of the film industry that still use these free/cheap/DIY workarounds, like shower curtain or white sheet diffusers. If it works, use it, plain and simple, so don't stress if you don't have access to pro gear. Remember, the audience can't see what you're working with.