The Nori SquareBounce is a piece of kit I’ve been using for years and years, and now they have a new version. If you are not familiar with the product it’s a collapsible lighting reflector that doubles as an umbrella.
The design is genius in its simplicity, and it’s always good to have pieces of equipment that are versatile enough that they can be used for a range of applications.
The original SquareBounce, while great, wasn’t really built tough enough for the rigours of field use. I broke more than one of them over the years while using them on location around the world.
Hip to be square
The new SquareBounce has certainly undergone a major overhaul. It has been re-engineered starting with a completely new structural frame design. The new reflectors are constructed with heavy-duty materials such as carbon fibre, stainless steel, Neoprene fabric, high density fibreglass and tool resin. In short, they are a lot more durable and field ready than the previous version.
Even though the new version uses lightweight components such as carbon fibre, the weight has almost doubled from the previous version. The original version weighed around 600g, while the new version is now around 1.3kg.
The biggest advantage for me is that the new version packs down into a considerably smaller footprint than the original version. This was made possible by having the handle made out of strong carbon fibre and designed so it can break down into two separate pieces.
The new SquareBounce is now only 72cm long as opposed to the original version that was 98cm long. 26cm may not sound like a lot, but when you are packing equipment, it allows you to fit the SquareBounce into bags that are a lot smaller.
The frame is thinner, but it feels a lot more rigid and sturdy than the old version.
The carbon fibre handle is a huge upgrade over the previous model. I broke at least two of the old versions where the handle snapped from having it secured to mounts on light stands.
The nice thing about the new handle is you can attach it to light stands or onto a grip stand without extra attachments or hardware. You can secure it down without crushing the handle which is what would happen with the old version. The added benefit of having the handle split into two pieces is you can use the reflector on a grip stand without having a big handle sticking out of the back of it.
The 36 x 36 inch canopies are made out of 2mm Neoprene fabric, similar to that used for scuba diving suits. The polyurethane coated neoprene material is water resistant and offers UV protection. When mounted on the SquareBounce frame, it provides a tight reflective surface which is nice for avoiding that flickering light effect you can get outdoors. The perimeter of the canopy is protected with heavy duty webbing to keep the reflector clean and protected from the ground.
A new corner strap design allows the canopies to be attached or removed so that both sides of any canopy can be used for different lighting needs. With this design a single reflector frame can be used with any of the available reversible canopies. The only problem is when you reverse the the fabric, it only has the velcro tabs on one side, so it doesn’t fit nearly as securely. Surfaces offered are White, Silver, Black and Muted Gold in three combinations.
Could you just hold this for me?
Often if you are working as a solo operator you either have to get someone to hold a reflector for you or you have to try and mount it to a stand. Both these options are problematic if you are using a traditional round reflector.
Everyone knows how to hold onto an umbrella, but most people aren’t familiar with holding onto a round reflector. It is a lot easier for someone to hold the SquareBounce rather than a large round reflector.
It is also a lot easier to use the Nori SquareBounce if you need to put it on the ground or mount it on a light or grip stand. This ability makes the SquareBounce a very good solution for creating indirect lighting sources, such as fill light on an interview.
A lighting umbrella that’s actually an umbrella
As the Neoprene material is both waterproof and UV resistant, it can give you shade in hot conditions and also keep you dry when it is raining. On numerous occasions covering natural disasters the SquareBounce saved me from not only getting soaking wet, but also from getting badly sunburnt.
It’s this versatility that in my opinion makes it a much better option that just carrying around a reflector. It’s always good to carry around products that can be used for a variety of applications. In this case I can carry around one product that I can use as a reflector, an indirect bounce source indoors and as an umbrella or shade outdoors.
The Nori SquareBounce does come at a price though, with a single reflector kit costing $299 US, and a double reflector kit $549 US. This is a lot more money than say a five-in-one collapsible reflector kit, but it is infinitely more flexible.
What do you think about the Nori SquareBounce? Would you use one? Let us know in the comments section below.