Bounce material is one of the many tools that creatives can use when lighting a scene.
Ever since I can remember, the concept has remained relatively unchanged. You get some bleached muslin or whatever flavor of reflective material fits your needs, blast light into it, and reflect it onto your subject.
Add in diffusion to taste, block out spill, and you have a nice lighting setup.
But Bluff Bounce aims to change how filmmakers utilize this simple tool by adding in the one thing most creatives don't think about with bounce—color.
Adding Color to Bounce
Founded by Danish cinematographer Nicholas Bluff, the initial concept for Bluff Bounce came to life out of necessity (as most filmmaking tools do). Bluff had moved to Brazil and had difficulties dealing with the harsh Brazilian sunlight.
While we may think of bounced light as only one color, it's actually a combination of all the material in your environment. With this in mind, Bluff Bounce splits the bounce material into two or three different colors that mimic the natural landscape around your scene.
The top section is usually blue, which mimics the blue sky, while the bottom can be beige, yellow, or gray asphalt color. Two other configurations split the bottom section into two more colors, adding in green to mimic grass.All the different bounce configurations. Bluff Bounce
I first stumbled upon Bluff Bounce after Lewis Potts, an Australian cinematographer, made a video using this new bounce material.
If you take a look at his tests below, the difference is quite distinct and, to my eye, adds more depth than a single white bounce ever could.
White Bounce vs Bluff Bounce
Bluff Bounce is constructed from twill and is available in five different versions. Each one also can be broken down into three different sizes— 6x6ft, 8x8ft, and 12x12ft.
All versions include a sky blue on the top, with different colors toward the bottom. Prices start at $409 and go up to $699 depending on the size and configuration you want.
All the different bounce configurations.
While Bluff Bounce is shown to be used with the blue color at the top, I feel like there are interesting lighting setups to explore by rotating the bounce. For example, if shooting by water, why not have the blue at the bottom? I'm sure filmmakers can come up with interesting lighting scenarios when the bounce is split vertically instead of horizontally.
Using this bounce should also reduce the need for RBG lighting or gels, which can be cost-prohibitive or increase your time on set.
Sure, this might feel like reinventing the wheel to some, but I see this as an innovation for a tool that hasn't really changed that much (at least since I've been around). If you want to see more of Bluff Bounce in action, check out the rest of Lewis Potts' video.
And if you want to pick up your own multicolored bounce, visit the Bluff Bounce website. All versions ship from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and will take about 2-3 weeks for delivery.