Illuminate Your Scenes with an Inflatable Lighting Solution

April 15, 2023
4 mins read

If you’re a filmmaker, you know lighting can make or break a shot. That’s why having the right equipment is essential, especially when working on a tight budget or in tight spaces. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of using a lightweight, portable soft light and introduce the Sirui A100B, an inflatable soft light fixture that’s lightweight and easy to transport. We’ll also provide examples of using the Sirui A100B in different scenarios and highlight its advantages over other lighting equipment.


Reasons to Use a Lightweight, Portable Soft Light

Here are a few reasons why you might need a light, portable soft light in a scene:

1. Motivation: Often, we want to motivate a light source. When shooting on a budget with boom arms, we need something lightweight enough to light the scene from above safely. If a ceiling lamp is part of the scene, we need an overhead light from a similar angle to replicate and enhance this practical light.

2. Space: We may find ourselves shooting in a cramped corner and need something portable enough to provide the light we want in the scene.

3. Simplicity: We may want to shoot a whole room at night, but if the room is small, we might want to create a ceiling light from above, keeping our lighting out of the frame and making for a natural-looking scenario many of us recognize.

4. Mood: Even in a small space, we need to be able to light the image in a way that conveys the mood we want the audience to feel.

Using The Sirui A100B

The Sirui A100B is an inflatable soft light fixture and, according to Sirui, the world’s first self-inflating flat light source. Once plugged into power and turned on, the fixture inflates and is ready to be used as a lightweight softbox with no extra diffusion required. You can manually deflate the A100B and fold it, making it easier to store and transport.

Product image of the Sirui inflatable soft light fixture.

Using the light is a relatively simple process:

  • Inflate it.
  • Attach the mount adapter (which connects via magnets and clips).
  • Hang it from a stand, or boom.
  • Use the ball head to position it.

Table Setup Example

Man sitting at a desk in a small room with a pen and paper, with an overhead inflatable light.

In our table setup, we had our A100B boomed above the table with its specially designed grid attached to stop too much light from spilling around the room. This is great for something theatrical, but for a more natural feeling, we switched on some house lights in the back rooms and added a second light bounced from the ceiling to bring some fill light into the room. Since our house lights were around 3200 Kelvin, we also set our fill and A100B to this color temperature so everything matched, completing the look.

Picture of a man with a backwards cap sitting at a desk with a pen and paper, with a soft overhead light fixture above.

Since our main lighting was coming from above in one scene, we didn’t need to reposition it for a close-up, making for a very simple-to-light sequence. The Sirui A100B is lightweight enough to be safely supported by the heavy-duty boom arm.


Kitchen Scene Example

Still image of a man looking directly at the camera stood in front of a window.

In the kitchen scene, we started with natural sunlight coming through the back window. While this works as a moody image, we wanted more of a hero shot. Just behind the corner and right next to our subject is a fridge. If the sun was in the right place to hit the upper section of the fridge, we could use this as a reflector, creating the light we wanted on the face. However, that’s not the case.

Since the A100B has magnets on its mount, it can be attached to magnetic surfaces. While it’s not strong enough to be attached overhead, it works great when you need a quick solution to get light into a tight space and have a metal surface or fridge available.

Man with a tattoo on his arm looking over his shoulder with a large inflatable light to the left of him in a kitchen location.

The V-mount battery slot on the back of the control panel came in handy here, as we could power the light with a battery and put it on top of the fridge without dragging the lighting fixture off the surface. With the A100B powered on and set to 5400 Kelvin to match the ambient light more closely, we now have more of a striking hero shot, better lighting our subject and motivated by the sunlight coming in through the window.

Side-by-side comparison of an image of a man, one that is darker, the other is lighter.

Small Room Example

A man setting up the A100B light fixture above a bed on a boom overhead.

Sometimes light doesn’t have to be super pretty; it can be simple and efficient. In a shot of our subject in a tiny room, we attached the A100B to a boom arm just off-camera and raised it above the frame. However, since we’re shooting directly opposite a wall in such a small space, we’re not achieving much depth with this more extensive light spread.

So we once again attached the A100B’s compatible grid, which comes with the light. This clips onto the back of the unit and slots in place. Compared to before, we now have a much tighter beam of light, allowing for more shadows and depth in our image. Lighting smaller spaces can be complex, and having a lightweight fixture to tackle the challenge is helpful.

A still image of a man with a black t-shirt sitting in a dark bedroom.

Benefits of the Sirui A100B

This lightweight fixture can make all the difference regarding ease of use and safety.

In the moody garage shot, we once again implemented the A100B for our top light, boomed overhead with the grid attached. We used a light bounced from the wall behind the camera, set to 7500 Kelvin, to create a cool nighttime ambiance.

 A male sitting on a chair in a moody garage stills shot with the A100B light with a grid attached above him on a boom overhead.

Then we turned on our gridded A100B, set to 2700 Kelvin, creating a subtle color contrast of warm in the highlights and cool in the shadows.

Again, since the fixture is lightweight, we safely achieved a good reach on our boom arm, allowing us to frame out the light stand even though it was a relatively wide shot.

Man with a stained beige t-shirt sitting on a chair in a moody garage setting.

Conclusion

Overall, the Sirui A100B offers a convenient and effective solution for filmmakers who need a lightweight and portable soft light. Its self-inflating design and easy setup make it ideal for various scenarios, from cramped spaces to larger setups. The included grid adds versatility to the light’s beam, allowing more control over shadows and depth. With its compatibility with V-mount batteries and magnetic surfaces, the A100B is also an excellent option for quick and easy lighting solutions.

Get 10% off with the coupon code in the video and enhance your filmmaking lighting setup with the Sirui A100B.


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Rob Ellis

Rob Ellis is a freelance cinematographer and photographer from the South West of England, UK, with a passion for image-making and the intricacies of creating images—with a primary focus on light.