V-Flat World, one of the more well-known companies that produces the large studio lighting modifiers known as v-flats, announced a series of “gobos” called Shadow Boards that mimic the look of sunlight through windows.
Gobos — shorthand for go-betweens — are typically objects placed in front of or inside of a light source in order to change the shape of the light or the shadow cast by it. The name is quite literal: it’s an object that “goes between” the light and the subject.
These objects are also known as cookies, which is shorthand for cucoloris, although gobo is a more common modern term.
Gobos have for years been used to cast shaped light in many situations, from stage spotlights to backgrounds of photo shoots. They perhaps aren’t as popular as they were a few decades ago but many photographers will still employ them tactically when the situation calls for it.
V-Flat World’s new Shadow Boards are designed to be used on food and product photography and are mainly meant to mimic the look of hash sunlight streaming in through a window. Made out of PVC and measuring 17 inches by 20 inches by 3 millimeters, these simple compact boards promise to add depth to still-life photography.
“Elevate your imagery to new heights with these innovative boards designed to effortlessly recreate the enchanting play of shadows and light that nature bestows,” V-Flat world says.
While gobos can be used to shape light or shadows, the goal of these Shadow Boards is meant to more emphasize the latter.
“Say goodbye to flat, lifeless shots and embrace the depth and dimensionality that only authentic shadows can provide. Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or just starting, Shadow Boards open up a world of possibilities. Experiment with different angles, play with contrasts, and watch as your images come to life with a captivating interplay of shadows and highlights.”
Photographers can use the Shadow Boards in a couple of ways. Since they will likely be relying on fully artificial studio lighting when they are employed (if a photographer is faking a window, then all of the light is likely designed), the hard light that is being cast through the gobo can either be pointed only on the background or it can be aimed at the subject too.
Aiming the gobo and light at the background would allow a photographer to specifically craft different light to illuminate the subject while using the hard light and the gobo would allow them to play with those shadows on the subject. Whichever of these a photographer chooses to use will depend on the vision or client request.
V-Flat World has a large assortment of Shadow Boards available and while the most eye-catching are the gobos that mimic windows, there are a few options that are meant to mimic light reflecting off prisms or light bulbs, such as the “circles” or “scattered diamonds” boards.
Image credits: V-Flat World