The Scoop on “V-Flats”
Since people have seen me use them on D-Town TV, and in my Kelby Training Classes, I get a lot of questions about where to buy studio V-flats (4’x8′ tall reflectors boards, that are white on one side and black on the other—like the ones shown above), so last week I asked my followers on Twitter and Facebook some help in finding a single resource for buying V-Flats (to create the “V” you take two of these boards–and put a thick piece of gaffer’s tape between them top to bottom so they form a “V.” Then you can use them as reflectors, or fire strobes into them for a large fill, or use them as flags—the list goes on and on. Incredibly handy.
We have two sets that we use in the studio, and most rental studios have them as well, but finding them locally is sometimes really a challenge, so I asked Brad to do some investigating on his own, and here what we’ve come up with so far.
(1) Your best bet is to check with a local sign shop, as many keep these in stock. They may not recognize the term “V-Flats” (which is a photo studio term), so when you call, just ask for something like “Gatorboard” or “Mounting Board.”
(2) The right thickness is about 1 inch thick. Anything less, and you’ll find it falling over pretty easily, and it won’t be durable enough to last more than just a few shoots (the popular 3/16 of a inch size is way too thin).
(3) You may possibly be able to find these at a local art supply store, but the problem we’ve always run into is size—they don’t have them at 4 foot wide by 8 foot tall (and you need four of them, to create two complete V-flats). Also, if they do have them, they generally don’t have black on one side, and white on the other, which is ideally what you want.
The Kinda Expensive Alternative
If you can’t find a sign shop or graphic arts store that carries v-flats, then here are some other options:
They’re based in New York, and they have the best price on the real deal: only $45 buck a sheet (so $180 for four, which makes your two flats). I know what you’re thinking. Hey, that doesn’t seem too bad? It isn’t—-if you live in New York and can stop by and pick them up.
Otherwise they have to ship them too you. That changes the math considerably:
> 4 Sheets at $45/sheet ($180)
> Shipping for those sheet ($300 down to Tampa, for example)
That puts you around $480 a set.
> 4 Sheets at $121.96/sheet ($487.84)
> Plus $100 shipping
That puts you at around $600 a set.
> 4 Sheets at $90/sheet ($360)
> $90 Freight + $20 delivery from Laird to location
That puts you at around $480 a set.
So, unless you’ve got a local resource for finding V-flats, having them shipped to you (because of their physical size), makes having them expensive, but it’s like I always say: “Who told you being a photographer was going to be a low cost situation?”
Anyway, I hope that helps, and if you’ve found a nationwide (or ideally worldwide) resource you’d like to share (remember; 1-inch thick, black on one side/white on the other, and approx 8 feet tall by 4-feet wide), we’d really love for you to post it as a comment here. :)
That’s it for today. Don’t forget tomorrow is “Guest Blog Wednesday!” :)