New material may look like paper, but Translum has many uses in the photo studio

It’s a softbox, it’s a backdrop … it’s Translum? Photography has its fair share of two-in-one products, and backdrops are now joining that list with Colorama’s Translum. Now available in the U.K., the translucent backdrop can also double as an oversized softbox, as well as serving a few other purposes.

Essentially, the Translum takes good, old-fashioned rolled paper and expands on the number of uses thanks to a translucent quality that softens light better than a simple sheet of paper.

Constructed with semi-transparent polypropylene, Translum looks and works much like paper, only with a transparent quality. Initially designed as a backdrop and softbox, Translum can also be cut to different sizes to expand the number of uses because the material is similar to paper.

With a light behind the Translum, it creates a soft white background similar to the look of seamless paper. Adjusting the light off to the side will give the backdrop a gradient look, while adding colored gels to the light will change the color of that backdrop. Put both the light and the subject behind the Translum, and you get a ghostly silhouette that might be good for some horror-film-inspired shots.

The Translum’s ability to double as a softbox could be the product’s most intriguing use. The larger the softbox is, the softer the light is, so the 4.5 feet wide and 17 feet long rolls leave lots of room for creating a soft light.

Since the material is easy to cut, the Translum can also be used to soften window light by cutting it to the window’s exact shape. The material can also be cut to use as a smaller diffuser for studio lights.

Colorama is launching the product in three different grades, with varying levels of diffusion. While the material hasn’t yet hit U.S. distributors, it’s available from Manfrotto’s UK-based website for 69.95 British pounds per roll, which translates roughly to about $85 U.S.

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