When I first read about Savage Universal’s new Translum, my mind thought about silhouettes. However, I have learned that you can do far more.
There are three flavors of Savage Translum, I got to play with the “Heavy” version. It’s important to know which one you are using as they behave differently.
I unboxed the Translum and noticed after removed the tape, it was wanting to uncurl on me. I used a small “A” clamp on one end and that kept it “Controlled.
Here is the Translum on the table with a little bit unrolled. A small clamp is all that is needed to keep the roll tight, I had the large one ready just in case.
With the transom being plastic it is more durable than seamless paper, however, you still need to use care. The plastic can be kinked or damaged if you roughly handle it.
Once I got the backdrop up to height, I started to unroll it. I almost learned a very hard lesson at this point. After about two feet of Translum is unrolled, the weight will start to pull the Translum off the roll. If you don’t hold it, you will have the entire roll on the floor.
Here is the Translum at height. The roll I used is only five feet wide. This is something to consider as you setup a shoot.
I asked a model to come in and allow me to shoot her for this article. I deliberately picked a model with tattoos (More on this later) and had her wear a colorful dress.
Since Translum can be used as a diffuser, I set the light behind the backdrop and the model in front. Heavy Translum will cut the light by two stops, so be a ready to push the power on the lights and even ISO up a little. I shot the picture as a single light setup through the Translum.
As expected, the Translum produced a soft even light. Because of how the backdrop “Catches” the light as it diffuses it, you could easily setup a sheer drape in front of it and it could appear as if you are shooting using light through a window.
I moved the model behind the backdrop to shoot a silhouette. I took three shots, each time moving the model close to the backdrop until the on the third shot she was basically touching the Translum.
The further away behind the backdrop the model is the softer the edge of the silhouette it. As the model moves closer to the backdrop, the edges become sharper. However, you will also notice that reflected light from the backdrop will start showing up in the models shadow.
The shot below in was taken with the model just touching the backdrop with her right arm. the left side of the image is unedited. You can see some of the light reflection in her arm as well as color from her dress and her arm tattoo starting to bleed through the Translum. This is easily corrected in post as the right of the picture shows. Note the left arm which was further back shows a softer edge.
Now I thought I would have some fun with the Translum. Seeing how it caught the light, I thought I would shoot the model in front of the backdrop using two lights with gels. I set the gels up behind the backdrop as shown below:
By using a yellow gel down low and a deep red gel up high, I tried to create a sunset look in the studio. I then placed the model in front of the backdrop with the following results:
Because of how the Translum catches the light it lends itself very well to the use of colored gels.
A couple other notes on Translum. When you are rolling it back up, be sure to check any areas that contacted the floor or feet. It tends to pick up dirt easily. You don’t want debris getting in the roll between the layers as it might damage the material.
I’ve used it primarily for silhouettes, but Translum’s use are only limited by your imagination.
Thank you for reading and special thanks to Kaylee Renee for posing for the images used in this article.
You can purchase Savage Universal Translum from B&H Superstore By Clicking Here
Guest Author: Scott Myers