Getting better light from the Westcott Rapid Box

September 05, 2014  •  1 Comment

I've owned the 20” Westcott Rapid box for a while now and I've had a few issues with it here and there but think I've found a reasonable way to improve it.

Often I find that I like the “liquid wrap” effect that is produced by placing a beauty dish close to the face of a subject. It is a great beauty look which is one of the reasons that the beauty dish is called what it is.

This image was taken using a 22” Paul C. Buff Beauty Dish and the Einstein light and shows the type of look that I'm going for when I say “liquid wrap” effect.  

I've found that no matter which way you install the deflector disc you end up with a harsh shadow in the center of the light pattern.  Its also unclear which way to mount it because there are actual Westcott images through out their web site showing it in both orientations.

First I tried putting the disc on with the cup pointing backward toward the speedlight:








As you can see this results in a harsh shadow in the middle of the light pattern and you can see some striations from the umbrella elements in the modifier. 







Turning the disc around to point the other way gives the same effect but as you would imagine the shadow is just a tiny bit smaller than before.

For the lonest time the only solution I could figure out to improve this situation was to add the diffuser sock onto the front.  But this really doesn't so much make it a beauty dish any more.  Its more of a very small octabox at that point in time.  

So instead I then added the plastic cover that was included with my SB700 flash.  This was done to try and help the speedlight approximate the light emitted from a studio strobe.  My fear was that the speedlight light was coming out mostly all forward and just being reflected by the disc straight back.  Adding this diffuser really softened the shadow in the middle and helps this modifier get the look that I was hoping for.
Take a look at these light patterns (again taken with the disc in both positions):

And finally a couple sample images taken with the pattern shown in the disc facing outward the right image just above:
I hope you've found this informative and if you have any other thoughts or comments please drop me a line via the contact form on this page or via Facebook.
Here is a pull back shot showing the lighting seutp of this shot:



Anthony Arcinas(non-registered)
Wow. A simple solution to a problem that I had recognized also. I felt like the light coming from my 26" rapid box was too harsh. I was disappointed with the purchase, but it may have new life after i try this trick. Thank you for this.
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