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Customer questions about Airbox Inflatable softboxes for LED panels answered:
#1 most common question:
“Why is there no anti-backflow flap inside the inflation valve? This makes it harder to get my softbox all the way inflated.”
People ask me this all the time. I tried out prototypes with both types of valve, and I settled on the valve without a backflow prevention flap. I did this for two reasons. One, I wanted it to be faster to inflate and deflate, and two, with that flap in the valve, its hard to get the softbox all the way deflated. I was concerned that people would possibly damage the softbox by slamming a case lid shut on it when it still had some air in it. This may be unfounded, I have yet to receive an email saying someone popped their softbox. Really, this decision was mostly about the speed of inflation and deflation though- I wanted Airboxes to be very fast to inflate and deflate. If you can’t get it all the way inflated because you lose a tiny bit of air when you close the valve, guess what- That’s ok! An Airbox doesn’t have to be all the way inflated to make a unified soft source out of all those little LED beams. The way an Airbox works is by moving the diffusion layer several inches away from the face of the light, so the beams can merge on the diffusion plane ad become a new soft source. This still works fine even if your softbox is a little saggy- the diffusion is still several inches away from the light. You also might have noticed that it gets more taut as you use it, since the light heats up and expands the air inside the softbox.
#2 Does it work as a flotation device?
Yes. They float. You can also use them as a pillow. If I had a legal department they would tell me that I have to say that we’re not responsible for the negative consequences of using Airbox products for anything other than as light modifiers.
#3. Are you going to make one to fit lighting unit X?
Send me emails about what sizes you want, and I’ll see what I can do. On our products page, you can enter the dimensions of your light and the calculator will tell you what softboxes we have that will fit those dimensions. The strap setup on the Macro, the Model 126, and the Model 1×1 allow those three units to work on a pretty wide range of sizes, but there are a few that slip through the cracks. The Macro will fit on almost all the small units, from 4″ wide at the minimum and 8″ wide at the maximum, and then the next size up is the Model 126, whose smallest compatible light is about 10″ wide. The Model 1×1 was designed specifically to fit on 1′ x1′ panels, but you can get it on to some smaller ones, like the Cool-Lights 600, which is about 10″ x 10″, and I’ve squeezed it on to another panel that was about 13″ wide.
#4. Have you tried filling them up with helium so they lift the light or the camera?
I actually did the math on this; for an Airbox attached to an on-camera light to lift your typical broadcast/ENG style camera weighing 30 or 40 lbs, the softbox would have to be gigantic, like an 8′ diameter sphere. Helium gas, being such a tiny atom (remember your periodic table?) is mostly empty space, and to get that kind of lift you need a huge amount of it.
#5: Do you sell Airboxes in country X?
Amazon.com ships to some countries; I’ve seen orders go to the US, GB, CA, NZ, and AU and JP. For mainland Europe orders, Videobewerken.nl stocks our products, as does Proav.co.uk in the UK. Proav says they ship worldwide. Concon International is our distributor in Europe, if you are interested in becoming a reseller, you can contact us or them. If you want Airboxes and it’s not working for you through any of those channels, email me and we’ll work it out.