If you’re involved in lighting, you’re sure to have heard an egg crate called for. Maybe you’ve heard it called by a different name. LCD, Snapgrid, Louver. Like many of our favorite G&E items, the egg crate, or light control grid has many different names for what is essentially the same thing.
Commonly used on broad, soft light sources, the egg crate helps control and direct the lighting source which will save time on set.
Egg crates come in a bunch of forms, but the two of the most common are the soft fabric crates sold by companies like Modern Studio and Chimera Lighting, and plastic-laden pop-up versions called “snapgrids” by DOP choice. Both of these options have their separate benefits, but the main goal is light control.
A LCD is a simple effective tool with one goal – narrow the beam spread of a lightbank. You’ve seen these before on Kino Flo’s and Mole Richardson super softlights, but they are becoming increasingly popular in larger formats. You can find them in sizes ranging from 1’x1’ up to 20’x20’! Most soft egg crates/snapgrids tie directly to a butterfly frame, or velcro/elastic directly onto the head of a light or lightbank to make for a quick set up and breakdown.
Using an egg crate can effectively take the spread of your light down to something as little as 30 degrees by acting as a container to block the light going out in the wider directions. This helps save the grip department from having to add endless siders, toppers, and bottomers to keep the spill from your soft light off of walls, ceilings, floors, etc.
By using an egg crate and keeping the spill from your light off of parts of the set it wasn’t intended for, you can help keep your subject separated from the background and give them the nice pop to help the viewer focus on the subject. They are especially valuable in close quarters, where it isn’t always possible to set up a ton of grip equipment to help shape and control the light
Do your grip department a favor and make sure egg crates are on your next gear order!