Made me a vfx kit, had some spare color, so I made a few more....
So this is more of a show and tell:
I do sell those a kit on the bottom of the page, to see if there is some commercial interest in them. If it does I 'll might go full on commercial with it. So its more of a test balloon than anything else. Maybe this article also provide some inspiration for others to make their own kits.
These kits are handmade prototype builds, so slight variations and defects might occur, and since they are privatly sold, no return is possible. Thats one of the reasons I can offer them at a significant lower price than any other vfx kits I've seen.
Ok, lets see whats in the kit:
Mirror sphere with standard quick release plate
The mirror ball is a steel ball with 15 cm in diameter. The company wich produces them says its stainless steel, but it fails the magnetic test. From my drilling experience its definitive harder than regular steel. It features a 1/4 inch male adapter and a secondary 3/8 female converter with a 1/4 inch removeable inlay.
Please note that it features micro scratches and slightly visible weld seam. These do not interfere with the intended usage (alignment / gamma correction) and can't be avoided by me. (I already get them this way). Please be aware of this.
Mechanical connection is a bit weak: Use it like any other optical device and you are good. Don't put hard pressure on it. (Like shaking). (Updated version features a stronger mechanical connection, might be a bit of center though)
Grey Ball with panoramic quick release plate
The grey ball is made out of plastic with a close to neutral grey paint applied. It features a visible seam (see below for image), where the sides have been welded. I could sand it down, but I fear that this would produce different surface properties (more or less smooth than the rest) wich would have negative impact on the overall performance of the ball.
The connector is a female 1/4 screw. The paint is applied in multiple layers.
Like the mirror ball, treat it like an optical device, it is recommended only to touch it with gloves, or just at the stem of the connection. There is no secondary layer to secure the paint. (To avoid specular reflections), wich makes it more prone to scratches
This also comes with either a Bexin QR-Plate or a "Panorama" QR Plate.
Additionally the painted ball is measured by a datacolor colorreader at 5 locations across the sphere and a measurement protocoll is accompanied with the ball. A sample of the color is applied to a patch wich is kept secure for 4 years at my location just in case I get better measurement data.
If this happens (wich I can't promise) You get the updated data free of charge
THE HANDLE / QR SYSTEM
The connector bar with 2 panoramic quick release clamps
The complete set comes with 3 standard bexin Arca Swiss Quick Release Systems. or you can get Panoramic QR Plates wich are compatible with some Quick Release Systems of certain panorama heads. (Basically these are Arca Swiss, with an additional safety pin. They do work in standard quick release plates, although you need to be carefull that they don't fall out.
Arca Swiss standard vs Arca Swiss Panoramic
Arca Swiss Panoramic on connector
The vertical handle is 27cm wide with a maximum distance of 24cm between the screws.
The idea behind these quick release system is that you just put them on your panorama head instead of the camera to shoot the reference spheres. Reducing the need of just one tripod, or the need to exchange the complete head. This minimizes operation time on location, and reducing the amount of gear to wear. (Put the set together and swap it out in seconds) and additionally allows you to quickly swap out the bar with the mirror sphere / grey sphere only.
Another set with a tablet holder and a quick release plate, to swap out the spheres with a color chart is planed, once I really go the commercial route.
A bar handle additionally to the connector plate is on the radar, but I need feedback if this is really a thing people want.
Panorama head not included
All balls have a cheap artificial velvet bag incuded (With the velvet side put inside)
As a bonus all kits also comes with a semi transparent vfx spheres sticker Either put it on the case, or on your car etc.
Sticker applied and unaplied
PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE BUYING !!
There are some downsides, wich you should know before buying
Privatly hand made in free time - Only these sets are aviable
This are hand made in my free time, you get minor difference between each kit, and small incosistencies might happen. The case version uses the standard cube divided insets, so you can search for yourself for one. Since they are privatetly sold, no return is possible.
Micro scratches on Mirror Ball / visible seam.
There is absolutely nothing I can do about this, those are already included when I got my batch. They don't affect the performance of the set, See image to judge if thats ok for you or not. You can perfectly align and adjust your hdri with those balls, but don't expect that you get a perfect high res hdri out of them.
Weak Connection on the Mirror Ball
The Connection to the mirror ball is not as strong as I wanted it. Especially on the prototype.
A new production method has been applied wich makes the connection to the ball much more riggid.
Weld seam on the Plastic ball
The plastic ball come with a seam. I don't want to remove it before painting, beacuse I fear it would destroy the eveness of the surface, wich would have an biggwe impact on the overall performance than the seam itself.
Visible seam on grey ball at its worst side
Color of the grey ball
I went full on an buyed the professional Normlicht GTI N5 Neutral Color for the set I sell, and I'm a bit disapointed, the RAL 7037 I use for my own ball is actually closer to neutral grey and features less glossiness. A measurement protocoll is attached to each ball so you can use them for perfect correlation.
The N5 measures around an rgb value of 120 while the RAL 7037 has a rgb value of 122. The measurement system has a accuracy of 93% so it might be actual correct. I did some mathematical tricks on the measurement results to better even out the results. I keep a patch of the color at hand in case I get a better measurement system
Save some good money, buy without case!!
Honestly custom made cases would significantly increase the production costs and time.
I would dream to provide a professional looking custom branded with custom made inlay case but whats the point beyond prestige ?
Point is if you want to bring a case to set you surely want to include other usefull stuff for lighting/ set aqiurement, like a color chart, laser measurer, a lux / spektrometer etc,..or maybe not....maybe you want just put stuff in a backpack and travel lightly
So I either way I'm pretty sure I would send you an oversized or undersized case to you. Especially at that diameter of the sphere, cases get overproportionally big. (and also the price).
Not to mention the production cost logic: I would have to buy them with shipping cost, tear out the foam and add this to my usual rate (and some extra for logistics costs) and then ship it to you with additional shipping costs. All for a task you could do for yourself quite easily. I don't have a secret ressource where I can get them cheaper than you and as said currently this is not a mass product.
Pricing / Aviablity
Currently its a test balloon and I just sell one kit below on ebay privatly (got the ressources for more kits in different configurations, just contact me), if I sell those during a year, I'll do it commercially. This will include a proper website and company (but since its such a specialised topic I doubt it will happen... I would be glad if it just covers my expenses).
For now just use the ebay system for contact inquiries and buissness releated stuff. Renember: I want to keep this site primarly uncommercial.
Anyway I made the following sets, privatly sold, no return:
15cm Mirror and Greyball with a 2 Quick Release systems an additional quick release plate and connection bar 250 euro
This is the set you need if you have an arca swiss compatible panoramic head. Prototype price
15cm Mirror and Greyball with a 2 Panoramic Quick Release system, a third Panoramic plate and connection bar 250 euro
This is the set, wich uses arca swiss compatible system wich also have a safety pin. (See image above)
Not sold yet, I can put together in a week if there is some interest also I can paint them with ral 7037 if there is interest. Just post in the forum and I setup an ebay link:
For further questions / recommendations, or just want to share your own kit I've open up a forum thread to discuss this furher.
15cm Mirror and Greyball with a Panoramic Quick Release system connection bar and case 350 euro
The whole shebang.
All sets come with velvet bags, a measurement protocoll for the grey ball and a sticker.
The panoramic head is not included in any of the sets.
For example, do you want smaller/ bigger spheres a handheld bar ? etc.
Small afterthought / addition:
For what its worth:
I also bought one of those retracteable 20 to 40ish cm cheap tripod extensions, and put two cheap arca swiss quick release clamps on each side. (You need an adapter screw for the bottom of the extension to get the clamp connected) and by accident discovered that those useless water level on those clamps (they are allways in the wrong orientation on tripods) actually make sense to roughly level the balls when holding those by hand.