duke_photography 10:22pm, 4 November 2011
I recently purchased a Westcott Apollo 28" Softbox. The first thing I did was insert a wooden dowel rod into the umbrella shaft to prevent it from being crushed when clamping it tight. Like many other people, the ability to tilt it very far down was a bit of a problem. I had a simple idea. I went to the local big home store and purchased a 3 foot section of 1/2" aluminum tubing. They didn't have any 5/8" and I figured the 1/2" would do just fine. They also had some solid steel rod, but I choose the aluminum tubing since it was far lighter. All I did then was place the rod between two umbrella brackets. One on the stand and one inside the Apollo. This acts like a boom and you can tilt the Apollo both inside itself, and at the stand. This give you all the tilting freedom you might need. If you didn't want the extra tubing sticking out like a boom, you could simply cut the tubing to where the stand would attach just outside of the Apollo. I may buy another section of tubing and do this also. That way I can use it in tighter areas. The tubing was about $7. Cheap, simple, and very sturdy. I also purchased a section of aluminum flat bar and am going to be making a dual flash bracket to go inside the Apollo. I want the ability to lower my flash power for faster refresh rate, and also move the flashes to a more centered position for more even lighting. I will post photos of it, once I have it made.

DIY Apollo Boom Arm

DIY Apollo Boom Arm

DIY Apollo Boom Arm
macfilipe 5 years ago
Is it just me who actually finds this idea very interesting?

Thanks for sharing, I might have to take a deeper look at this one and I'll certainly be waiting for your flash bracket solution.
glenn.fowler 5 years ago
Interesting indeed. I also like the use of weight plates and bolts for keeping it from falling over.
tundracamper 5 years ago
I would say that it is not as cheap as it sounds since you have to use two umbrella brackets, instead of one. Still, it's a quick and easy solution, and I like that. If you use a much shorter bar, is the counterweight still necessary?
eduardo_frances 5 years ago
I would really recommend to use sandbags on the stand legs with that configurations, you are shifting the weight way off the gravity center and it will be prone to fall without a counterweight :)
duke_photography 5 years ago
If you will notice I have dumbbell weights at the bottom of the stand on the legs opposite of the side the Apollo is hanging from. I always use some sort of weight when using stands outside.

Didn't think anybody would notice my fancy system. It works great.

I have a ton of stands and umbrella brackets around. I didn't think about some people having to buy one to use this setup. I guess this is a cheap way if you have most of the gear, but then the Apollo is pretty pricey. So maybe this isn't that cheap after all. LOL

Here are the photos of a simple dual flash bracket I threw together. Works great. I just used a bench grinder to taper the end a bit so the cold shoe would clamp better. Then placed to flat bar in my vise and bent it. The cross plate was just drilled and bolted with two small bolts. I mounted two YN RF-602s on it and have two YN 460IIs mounted to those. These cheap remotes and flashes work pretty well, and if some huge gust of wind blows this thing over and all is lost, the Apollo is the biggest dent in my pocket book.

Dual Bracket

Dual Bracket

Dual Bracket
=Paul 5 years ago
It is a neat little DIY boom, but honestly, mount your flash horizontally and you'll get all the tilt you need.
duke_photography 5 years ago
The point of the bracket is to allow dual flashes. You can then lower the power of each one and get faster recharge times, but still maintain the power. You also have the ability to crank them up and have more overall power.
Gianmarco Mongardi Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Gianmarco Mongardi (member) 5 years ago
great minds think alike! :D

I'm Loving your bolted counterweights!
whatdoineed2do 5 years ago
says: "but honestly, mount your flash horizontally and you'll get all the tilt you need."

I would guess that you have't used an Apollo as the clearance room in the softbox wrt flashes has nothing to do with the ability to tilt.
=Paul 5 years ago
Haha, serious mental lapse. I've just always preferred to mount my flashes horizontally in almost every situation. For some reason I was thinking it allowed the Apollo to tilt further.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be enjoying this delicious crow muffin with my coffee.
elv0000 Posted 5 years ago. Edited by elv0000 (member) 5 years ago
A mini boom is the only way to go, having the swivel inside the sofbox I find is really inconvenient. It does require another swivel, but a short length (12") of 5/8" aluminium rod is all it takes to get the swivel outside a 28" Apollo and allow maximum tilt.

Making a DIY dual flash mini boom has not been so easy, ideally you really need the flashes mounted down lower so its not overbalanced when tilted. Keeping the flashes directed in the centre also gives more light, so this was my DIY style solution -

Apollo Saver - DIY Tilt & Dual Flash - inside

You can then tilt the softbox directly downwards if needed, effectively booming directly overhead for a headshot if needed -

Apollo Saver - DIY Tilt & Dual Flash Bracket - Tilt & Mini Boom

Out of the wind it doesn't need weights on the stand and doesn't put any stress on the stand.

The brackets are made from 1/2" UNC threaded rod placed straight into the swivel, the black is just rubber hose -

Apollo Saver - DIY Tilt & Dual Flash - Bracket

I had hoped to use the original swivel as the umbrella mount but it would not clamp onto the 1/2" rod properly like the Manfrotto / Lumopro swivel does quite well at the base will. So that makes it a little difficult to completely DIY, the cross bar could be fairly simple otherwise ( just 3 holes in a flat bar)

I've made some extra ones of these in 14" 16" 18" lengths ( I find its best to keep them as short as possible - 1/2 the sofbox size, so 14" bracket for 28" softbox).

I also have a handfull of kits if anyone is interested in having a go themselves, all you would need to complete them is a threaded rod from Home Depot, 12" long for the 28" Apollo -

Apollo Saver - DIY Tilt & Dual Flash - Kit

Drop me an email (please not flickrmail) if your interested, I only have a few.
Gianmarco Mongardi 5 years ago
very elegant!
duke_photography 5 years ago
I loved your design. So much so, that I kind of borrowed it. Not exactly though. I went with a 3/8" all thread rod. For the umbrella mount, I took a 3/8" turnbuckle nut and drilled a hole in it with the drill press. The hole is where the umbrella goes through the nut. I then took an eye bolt and cut it to length so it could be used to tighten down on the umbrella to keep it in place. I cut my all thread rod to the desired length and made a simple bracket out of flat 3/4" aluminum strap. I drilled three holes in it, one for the all thread to go through, and then two smaller holes on each side for the flashes to mounted with. I then took a 1/2" aluminum tubing and cut two lengths, with the split in between the two where I wanted to "T bar" to set. Pieced it all together, then took a female light stand stud with 3/8" threads and screwed it to the bottom of the whole thing and tightened it all down. I am now going to either polish it up, or paint it black. haven't decided yet.

Here is my bracket in the Apollo.
Dual Flash Mini Boom Arm

Another in the Apollo.
Dual Flash Mini Boom Arm

Here it is with a Softlighter II umbrella mounted.
Dual Flash Mini Boom Arm

Here is one of the assembled boom arm with flashes and remotes attached.
Dual Flash Mini Boom Arm
elv0000 5 years ago
duke_photography - Nicely done!

I did already try almost exactly the same thing with 3/8" rod but my main concern was that there was just too many points to unscrew and come loose. You have to be really carefull because the softbox has plenty of leverage to unscrew the bracket at the umbrella shaft mounting point, and the umbrella shaft can then swivel and snap your flash off !!

Its really surprising just how easily it will unscrew the bracket if you don't take some measures to stop it, particularly if you go anywhere near a boom style position (shown right) -

Apollo Saver - DIY Tilt & Dual Flash Bracket - Tilt & Mini Boom

WIth the 1/2" threaded rod there was only one point that could come loose, the umbrella mount cap. So I tightened those on really tight and started loctiting them as well with stud locker! (the really strong stuff).

Other than that issue I like the 3/8" rod, its not rigid enough by itself but with some aluminium tube on the ouside its ideal and considerably lighter than the 1/2" rod. Its going to be hard to crank it up really tight though so I would recommend anyone trying this to make sure you use some strong Loctite! (or mount the flash heads just below the umbrella shaft to be safe).

Regarding paint or polish, the rubber hose I used is a perfect fit on the 1/2" tube as well !. It won't scratch and it makes for a good handle grip too. Here in Australia its just standard 13mm irrigation tube, you can get all different types but they all have similar inside diameter and slide straight over nicely (sometimes a little hot water helps).
duke_photography 5 years ago
I have considered drilling a hole through the umbrella mount and the stud on the bottom and adding a roll pin. Those are the only two points I have that can come loose. I did use the permanent Loctite already and put one end in the vise while tightening the other end to the point I thought I might snap the 3/8" rod. I think I have some small roll pins already anyway. They are probably too long, but I can just use the grinder and smooth them up. I thought about using all steel and welding it, but the weight was more than I wanted. I practically have a machine shop in my garage and can fabricate all kinds of stuff. Make projects go by pretty quickly and easily.
elv0000 5 years ago
Loctite should do the trick, but if you can insert some roll pins even the smallest ones would be more than enough to never have to worry about that coming loose. I'll give that a try myself thanks.
Wedges Ali (in UAE) 5 years ago
duke_photography 5 years ago

The apollo and then a flash, or in my case 2, flashes are very heavy. I am sure you might be able to make it work though. I would just hate to have a few hundred dollars of gear crash because of a weak boom. If you get one, let us know how it works out.
Wedges Ali (in UAE) 5 years ago
i wont order one unless i research well enuff. ordering to my part of the world is a painstaking job. If you guys wanto contribute, feel free.
Wedges Ali (in UAE) 5 years ago
AgBr2 PRO 5 years ago

Where do you source the 1/4" thumbscrews used to secure the triggers/flash to the bracket?

elv0000 5 years ago
AgBr2 - Ebay is probably the easiest, if you do a search for something like "camera screw" and you should find a few varieties.
duke_photography 5 years ago
I just used a standard 1/4" 20 bolt and used a wrench to tighten them just a tiny bit into some RF-602 triggers. Those triggers are pretty cheap and I just leave them mounted on it most of the time. Only takes a few seconds to remove them if I needed to. I carry a few tools in my pelican case anyway. You just never know when you might need some pliers or something.
mausgabe PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by mausgabe (member) 5 years ago
This Elinchrom Polystand looks interesting -- not available everywhere yet.

Might just go with a Manfrotto then.
Jerry P. H. Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Jerry P. H. (member) 5 years ago
The #1 and best way is to use a boom arm. However, the one thing that one has to watch for is having a good umbrella swivel bracket. The end of most boom arms are round and even when you tighten the screw really hard, there is a LOT of weight to keep from rotating. The good side is that there is no stand in the way and you can go much higher safely without fear of tipping, as long as you sandbag and set the counter-balance properly. I like this method the best.

I also got in the Westcott Orb and the PCB baby boom... all I can say is that I think that this is the #2 best way to do it if you can.

#3 is the 2nd umbrella mount and #4 and worst idea for any system is the one that moves the end weight of the umbrella/flash/swivel mount further away from the center of balance, that being the shaft extension designs (exception being a proper boom with counter-weight, of course).

I'll post some pics and additional thoughts tonight but the bottom line is that even a strong DIY boom is better than other DIY solutions but the real boom or the PCB baby boom (or a DIY alternative of that), are the 2 best solutions.
elv0000 5 years ago
Thanks Jerry I've taken great offence to that ... hehe :-))

I tried lots of things including extensions like the baby boom, but they do also move the flash off centre balance and its much more inconvenient having the swivel inside the softbox.

I'm happy mine is my #1 option. As long as its just long enough to keep the swivel outside the base I don't see an issue without counterbalance weight.

This is the delux model (worst of the worst :)

Dual Flash - Mini Boom - with Handgrip
mjkzz (a.k.a zwdeal) 5 years ago
@elv0000: cool stuff, thanks for showing us.
Wedges Ali (in UAE) 5 years ago
my friends coming from U.S and i can order either the PCB baby boom or the boom arm. What wud u guys suggest? And if the boom arm, then which one.
Ciotti Industries 5 years ago
Elv's work is absolutely stunning, fit and finish is perfect and they're sturdy as hell, if you have a few extra bucks I'd definitely recommend his products over anything else I've seen.
gaping46and2 5 years ago
So, where can one purchase one of these kits?
Wedges Ali (in UAE) 5 years ago
right, i wana know too.
dmark1867 5 years ago
Here are some pictures of my setup. I am using a dual flash bracket, with an pcb offset arm. A westcott rep told me that a grid will be coming out for this next month, no idea how much it will cost though. I am also using a pixel componor E-TTL system with a 40ft cat5e patch cable.

Craig's Collection PRO 5 years ago
@ dmark1867

Thanks for the photos. Nice setup.

What are you using between the PCB mini boom and the umbrella bracket?
Jerry P. H. 5 years ago
elv0000 said::
Thanks Jerry I've taken great offence to that ... hehe :-))

No offense meant!

svt99 5 years ago
@dmark1867: I was wondering 1) what you used between the umbrella bracket and the PCB offset arm and then 2) what you used to mount the flash bracket to the offset arm.
I can't make it out from the photos.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
dmark1867 5 years ago
Thanks for the comments and questions
I need to get some better pics.

Here is what I have setup:

I have a Manfrotto 026 Swivel Lite-Tite Umbrella Adapter connected to my light stand. Connected to that is a small piece of copper pipe that I cut (maybe around 6 to 9 inches), I wrapped this with black electrical tape to make it a little more aesthetically pleasing.

This piece of wrapped copper pipe then goes in through the bottom center of the apollo softbox and goes into the Paul C. Buff Baby Boomer Offset Arm.

The other end of the of the offset arm goes into Manfrotto 014-14 Rapid Adapter, which goes into the bottom of the Dual Flash Mount Umbrella Riser.

I had to use a hack saw to cut around 3/8" of the thread off of the Manfrotto 014-14 Rapid Adapter so it would screw completely into the buttom of the Thumbscrew that connects to the umbrella riser.

I screwed the thread that I cut off of the Manfrotto adapter into the bottow of the umbrella riser and then screwed a 1/2 threaded coupling nut to that so that the umbrella riser would be around 1 1/2 higher. This way the flash sits centered while using the Pixel Componor which is mounted to the bottom of my flash. I got some tubing from lowes to put over the coupling nut and the connected riser tube just to get a little bit of a cleaner look.

I also needed to use a washer between the Manfrotto 014-14 Rapid Adapter and the buttom of the thumbscrew because even though the threads on the manfrotto adapter were cut shorter there was still a small gap between the two pieces. The washer elimated the gap and made the connection feel much more solid.

Regarding the grid for the Apollo 28", the part number will be 2471, and it will cost $49.90-59.90 and will be available in the next couple of months.
Midwest Photo Exchange will be the 1st to get them in stock. This info is from Jennifer @ Westcott.

Here are the links to some of the items I have purchased for this setup:

ePhoto Light Stand Sandbags

Impact Air-Cushioned Heavy Duty Light Stand

Manfrotto 026 Swivel Lite-Tite Umbrella Adapter

Westcott Apollo Speedlight Set

Paul C. Buff Baby Boomer Offset Arm

Manfrotto 014-14 Rapid Adapter - 5/8" Stud to 1/4-20" Thread

Dual Flash Mount Cold Shoes Bracket with Umbrella Riser

1/4 Threaded Coupling Nut

Pixel Componor Combined Off-camera Cable For Canon

Yongnuo YN-565EX Wireless TTL Flash for Canon w/ Diffuser Cap
Craig's Collection PRO 5 years ago
I recently pickup an Orb knockoff on eBay and am now exploring my tilt options. I like the PCB Baby Boomer, but shipping to Canada is more than the boom itself! Pretty well kills the deal.

I currently have the Manfrotto 5001B nano stand and am considering adding these to it to allow me to tilt & offer a basic boom option as needed:

Clamp: www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/302172-REG/Manfrotto_124_1...
Boom arm: www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/5193-REG/Manfrotto_2942_29...

or one of these two combos:

Any thoughts on these setups? Will the "Orb" and speedlight be too heavy for the arm/stand?
-craigulator- PRO 5 years ago
I have 's setup and it is very well made to say the least. With the extension arm it allows me to tilt a 43" Apollo in a full 180° arc so it can be pointed straight up or down...it's a great piece of kit.
Leo @ IM 5 years ago
An even easier way - no extra parts needed at all. Just poke the stand into the gap between the black outside fabric and the white diffuser.

Tilting the Apollo 3 by Leo @ IM

Tilting the Apollo 2 by Leo @ IM

Disclaimer : Image Melbourne sells Westcott gear here in Australia
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