I decided that I needed something small enough to tuck into my stand’s bag, big enough to block the entire sled, and light enough to be carried by any spare PA I can give 30 seconds of instructions to. Also, it needed to be pretty much bombproof, due to the aforementioned PA. It also had to be cheap, because I didn’t feel like blowing more than the $150 it’d cost to buy a brand new 4x4 double.
The end design ended up being 6 pieces of 1/8”x1” aluminum extrusion, 2 cut to 4 feet, 2 cut to 19”. On top of it are 2 slightly offset pieces of fiberglass window screening (just held down with gaff tape for the moment). When assembled as shown in the pictures below, this gives you a 48”x36” screen when opened. I would have preferred 48”x48”, but since the window screening only comes in 36” widths, that’s the width I went with. A handful of bolts, lock nuts, and nylon washers, and you’re all set.
The frame is inspired by a crappy little gel frame from Lowel, but it folds up beautifully, and I’ve yet to have to show someone how to open or close it, which is my standard for intuitiveness. It blocks the wind very well, and saved my ass a few times on this shoot, and hopefully will on a few more. It’s small enough to have on every job, and if it means I’ll earn some favor with a key grip by not stealing his nets, I’m happy. I probably will build a second for more effective blocking in the future, however.
All told, I’m in for $60 in parts from Home Depot (could have been much cheaper if I had time to order from McMaster-Carr), and about an hour in drilling and cutting and sanding parts. Not bad for an evening’s project!
Feel free to build your own, and if you want more detailed specs on it, I’ll do what I can to provide them. Hope this inspires somebody else to put their DIY talents to use.