In February Westcott gave me a Joel Grimes Rapid Box Beauty Dish to do a real deal review. After seeing one of these Rapid Box prototypes in action in Joel’s hands almost a year before, I was excited at the chance to do get my hands on one and put it through the paces in my personal workflow.
My initial reaction of the BD a year ago was that it was pretty cool. Having never used a dish or box like this, I was impressed with the ease of setup and tear down. However, while on set with Joel he did voice some concerns about the build of the prototype and had some minor changes that he would like to see made at the time. Since then, those things have come to pass and now the BD is one of the go-to pieces of gear in my bag.
Barbara – First Look
In the video below you will see that the first look of the day was with Barbara Jozwiak – a professional glamour and fitness model. With her I planned to do a Joel Grimes-esque style shot. So we rolled out a white background with the intention of extracting her from the sweep and compositing her on a different background later.
Above her we placed a 48” octa to help create separation across head and shoulders. In front we placed the BD to get a bit of pop to her eyes and face and fill down to her midsection area. A soft white reflector was used to add some additional fill and give definition to her arms and legs.
Barbara – Second Look
Barbara’s second look was more action based and focused on a warm up style workout that a runner might perform.
To stop the action the Westcott BD was placed in front to fill her face and torso and in the back we placed a 48” octa to give the image a nice kicker and create a cross light.
Above her there was an additional 48” octabox on a book to create separation and give her a highlight on her head and shoulders.
Her second shot was done much the same way as the first, with a bit different color grading to give it an advertising look and feel.
Our second model for the day was Gary. He’s a professional crossfit athlete and trainer.
Gary – First Look
For his look we started with a two light setup. We had a parabolic umbrella behind him on a boom stand firing down to create some ambiance and a separation from background with a fall off on his shoulders, back and legs. The Westcott BD was placed in front of him to light his face, create a profile and spill over his abs.
Gary – Second Look
For this look we used a three light setup. Above Gary we placed the parabolic umbrella (kind of like Barbara’s setup) with a kicker light to camera left to show some muscle definition in his legs. In front and to camera right, we had the Joel Grimes BD on a second boom firing down and across to outline his face and abs. This created a semi cross light effect that added some drama to the already hard physical exertion that he was putting out by picking up 500lbs of weight and walking with it.
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Our third look for this shoot was Taylor – a professional beauty and glamour model.
For Taylor we moved back to the white sweep and used a general one light, clamshell setup so I could see how the Westcott BD stacked up to other dishes that I currently have and use in my workflow.
Taylor – First Look
As stated before, this was a basic beauty clamshell setup. The Joel Grimes Beauty Dish was in front and above her at a slight angle with a soft white reflector underneath to fill under her chin.
To create some additional fill we used a second 5-in-1 reflector to camera right to give me a little additional fill on the shadows created by her shoulder/arm.
Taylor – Second Look
For this look I added a Westcott 40 degree grid to focus the light a little more and create a vignette around Taylor. I’m generally used to using a more narrow grid for most of the work that I do because of the nice specular shadow and the hard contouring that the grid offers, so getting to use this one was a treat as it was a much softer vignette. The results were stunning, but I’m not sure if I like it completely or not!
All in all love the beauty dish. The setup and teardown of the gear with the rapid box went faster and I didn’t have to worry about where I was going to put everything when I put it all back into my SUV. A large case for a 22” or greater dish takes up a lot of space! So having the smaller footprint was much nicer to have.
The results of the BD were beautiful. I couldn’t ask for a better fall off. Most times I use a 30+35ish inch softbox here and there to get the same result and edit it in photoshop, but this was much easier to focus the light as I wanted and needed to create drama on the images without having to use a grid or get creative with GOBOs and feathering.
GET THIS BEAUTY DISH! It’s worth every single penny. Really.