I usually use 1 meter long light tubes. It is a "standard" length that allows you to create interesting designs without being too bulky and heavy. But... how a shorter tube can be useful for light painting? For just over a year, my favorite tools for light painting are transparent Plexiglas tubes, carefully sanded, one meter long.
The long one is an "all-around player" as it is long enough to "cover" a human figure with, for example, a classic circle while remaining easily transportable with a comfortable tripod bag.
Over time I realized that I needed something shorter, more manageable, that would give the "ribbon" effect to my figures with light painting. An easy cut and two tubes are ready: one 30 cm and one 60 cm. I leave 5 cm for the handle.
Light painting with short tube: pros and cons A very evident characteristic is the brightness: since there is less volume in which to distribute the light of the very powerful torch ... one must be very careful not to burn everything. This aspect is in fact an advantage ... but also a disadvantage. Setting the brightness to the minimum may not be enough, as well as lowering the ISO in the room!
Balance the Light Painting scene One of the main remedies is to have a very bright background, so it is better to use the short tube for the light painting at twilight (blue hour) or when the full moon illuminates the whole day scene with a few seconds exposure. Ok, often you are not in these pleasant situations, therefore also the light pollution of a inhabited center and some clouds can help to "balance" the scene.
The tube can be tied to a dark stick in order to move it much more easily without leaving "halos" and remaining practically invisible.
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