Project 4

Snoot for Alien Bees Strobes  -  'The 6 Dollar Snoot'
By Ed Baumgarten
  A 'snoot' is a tube that is placed on the front of a strobe to narrow the beam of light into a tight circle. I use snoots all the time to toss a little extra light into a scene, say into a dark corner of a product or up under the fender of a car that's just a little to black. It's a nice way to add light to an area without over lighting the rest of the scene.

The great folks at Paul C. Buff (the makers of Alien Bees and White Lightning) lights have an excellent snoot available for their lights. It's nice robust piece that gives an excellent pattern. Their grids are also an indispensable tool in the studio and will also constrain the light into a tight circle, with 10 - 40 degree spreads. Paul's stuff (and his company) are THE BEST and I suggest as your budget allows you consider purchasing accessories from them. Until that time however, or just to see if you really can use a snoot, here's a DIY one......

The purpose of this project is to come up with a snoot that:
#1- Costs very little
#2- Made from parts widely available
#3-Takes no special machining or skill to build (not that you don't have any special skills, they're probably just better suited to photography than machining parts)


The Cons:
Number one
-It's not terribly pretty. A little of the new style spray paint that sticks to plastic would go a long way but let's face it, it's plumbing parts man..
Number two-The pattern is probably not near as tight as a factory made one. In that I mean the circle it's throwing is not going to be perfectly round, if you need that, look elsewhere.
Number three-You're going to lose some output. Paul says that his snoot will drop 3 stops of light output. I'd say this one is gonna drop 5 because it's not engineered for efficiency.

The benefit - cost. Total outlay for the 'baby' snoot shown above $6.64 including .97 to buy a new pack of straws (I probably could have rounded that many up in our kitchen) so we're going to call it 'The $6.00 Snoot'
Okay, maybe a little bit more if you gotta buy some weatherstripping glue and duct tape but come on, 'The 6 Dollar Snoot' just kinda has a ring to it)

Read all the way through the article before you go out and buy this stuff. Also, be sure to read the 'Mods' section on the last page.

The disclaimer:
This snoot was constructed to allow for the modeling bulb to remain in the strobe for ease in focusing the light onto the area you need. It IS NOT intended to withstand the heat that would be generated if the modeling bulb were to be left on, either intentionally or unintentionally.
The PVC pipe will take the heat for a little bit, but ultimately it will get hot, melt and probably catch on fire. Learn not to burn and don't expect Paul to replace your strobe if you send it to him with melted PVC all over it. This is a DIY project, builder beware.

If you're confident that you can construct and use these things like a reasonable adult and are willing to absorb any risk yourself, read on...........

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Alien Bees and White Lightning are registered trademarks of Paul C. Buff Inc. and other than being our favorite brand of lights are not affiliated with DIYPhotogear in any way......