Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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3D grey card

Capture the quality of light for white balancing in 3 dimensions.
  [vote for,

This is a small device that expands to be about the size of a human head. It is neutral grey and has 3d curved surface. In a similar way to a standard flat grey card, this curved surface will allow the capture of the quality of light in a scene from all directions. By taking a reference photo, in post-processing, the user can choose from multiple points to take the white balance from. This would be helpful in scenes with multiple, competing light sources. The device is a black latex balloon that is printed with an opaque neutral grey ink. They would be cheap to produce (which is good because being latex, they would have a limited lifespan). They would be of good use in telephoto/digiscoping scenarios as one could be attached to the scene as a reference for changing light conditions.

I've been using Qualatex grey balloons as a test. They're very close to neutral compared to a Spyder Cube. http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005GGP19I and I've been using clips like these to close the balloon. http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B000YJBLRI It works about as well as a sheet of white paper :)

cousin_itt, Apr 09 2013


       Sounds [+]worthy to me.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 09 2013

       Hi! [+]
lurch, Apr 09 2013

       [+] despite the idea not being about a BEM visa.
FlyingToaster, Apr 09 2013

       A quick trawl of the internet shows that lots of people want a grey (typically 18% - dunno why that value specifically) and/or chrome sphere for 3D reference shots, but no-one seems to know where to get them.
I've seen them used plenty in "behind the scenes" documentaries of movies. Mostly they are on a stick, and half grey, half chromed (so one sphere serves both references).
I'm not sure an expanding/inflating unit would be regular enough over its surface for a good reference.
neutrinos_shadow, Apr 10 2013

       Go the thrift store/ flea market. Purchase used elementary school globe. Go to WalMart and buy a can of dove grey Krylon (they also make chrome spray paint).   

       It has the advantage of coming with its own stand.
whlanteigne, Apr 11 2013

       All fifty shades in one ball?
Sounds like a best-seller. (+)

       My question is how perfect a sphere is required, because inflatable objects are rarely perfectly round?   

       If it doesn't need to be perfectly spherical, latex can be produced in pretty much any color, so the printing is not necessary, and it would be the work of minutes on the correct machines to produce thousands of grey balloons. Find a balloon manufacturer, specify a shade, put in an order for 100-200 thousand, and sell them on-line if there is a demand. If they need to be a uniform size (useful if you want a reference for post processing) you might also want to mass produce a measuring gauge.   

       So, if the idea is good (not enough background in photography to know) it's easy to implement.
MechE, Apr 14 2013

       You'd want a heavy gray color and the balloon to be sized to inflate much larger than the target size so it doesn't thin out to much.
MechE, Apr 14 2013

       //...so it doesn't think out to much.//   

       I know those thinking balloons are a tad expensive. The less intelligent kind would be cheaper and probably better suited.
whlanteigne, Apr 14 2013


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