Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Technique › Miscellaneous Techniques › Ghetto Lighting….
February 2, 2010 at 3:58 AM #37723
Many posts have come from newbies and intermediates about ‘What lights should I get’. As always the ‘sweat factor’ is high and most of the posters are either ready to run out and sell the farm for a kit they aren’t ready for or completely shut down from being so depressed they can’t afford pro lights. Well many of the pro’s particularly myself have talked at length about how until you’ve got both the expertise and jobs coming in to justify the move to pro lighting you can do a very good job lighting on the cheap.
So I’m going to let young Caleb Pike show you his ‘ghetto lighting’ setup. He doesn’t call it that, I do. Because it was done rather nicely with stuff anyone can buy in the hardware dept. or at a garage sale. Now he does ‘cheat’ in that he’s using a Canon 7D SLR, but the techniques he’s using will work for your ‘happy cam’ too!
NOTE: There are a couple of safety issues with his setup that I would make these changes;
1. Do not use wax paper with tungsten lighting. It will burn. A much better looking (and safer) alternative is Vellum Paper. I’ve used it with both Halogen and Tota Lights and it is very tough. You can buy it in any decent craft store.
2. When using foil with lighting especially shop lights with Halogen bulbs, double if not triple up the sheets to help dissipate the heat.
3. Use thick leather work gloves when handing hot lights.
4. Unless you’ve got a lot of space between walls and Halogen lighting, I suggest you use something else. Halogen work lights are the Indy filmmaker’s workhorse but they get really hot and if the bulb bursts you’ve got problems. Using them in large spaces or outdoors is okay.
5. Try fluorescent bulbs. Many of the bulbs made now can fit into standard light fixtures, they’re inexpensive and they range from 40w (equivalent) to 250w (equivalent). They light much cooler than traditional lighting and they come in indoor and daylight intensities (indoor 22-2300K, daylight 6500K).
February 6, 2010 at 1:01 PM #167153
There is also the DIY route. If you are handy with some simple tools,and know what light you do need you ca try making your own on the cheap. With the examples below and the clamp lights mentioned above you can match the color temp in all your lights.
February 6, 2010 at 4:08 PM #167154
I’ll check out those links. Thanks for posting them. Also, the range of consumer indoor (helical) fluorescent bulbs also called ‘soft lights’ temp range is actually 2200 – 2700K. Also the range of wattage so far has been extended from 40w to 300w (equivalent) as I just picked up a 300w helical soft light bulb.
It’s a good sized bulb, but only draws 65w! In a large ‘Tin Cup’ light fixture, I have a serious light that outside of the stand only cost $26!!!! With four 300w’s together in a single fixture you can have a 1200w soft light for seriously cheap.
Now to design and construct a suitable yet durable fixture…. (cue the ‘Muhuha-ha’s and Action!)
February 6, 2010 at 4:34 PM #167155
I took a look at those lights of Alex and they are quite nice! However, the ‘Spiderlight’ knock off is just plain heavy! If you’re only planning on using it as a floor light it will work out. If you’re wanting to mount that puppy, you’ll have to redesign it so you can mount it on a solid C-Stand which will cost more than what you paid for the light fixture!
The softbox was also nice, but has a similar problem with weight and balance. You would want to mount a nice looking light like that no doubt! I am thankful that he mentioned the Cloroplast because I’ve been trying to find that stuff for over a year!
Now I’ve built a couple of softboxes based on Victor Milt’s ‘Nano-light’ design with some minor improvements. Here’s a link to a chap who built a 10 light version of the Nano and designed it to be lightweight and mountable.
February 6, 2010 at 7:16 PM #167156opheliaParticipant
Thanks for posting this vid. However, I do wish you would rename it -your chose of title is a bit offensive to some of us…. Staying with his descriptionof “affordable” would be nice, ok?
February 6, 2010 at 7:17 PM #167157opheliaParticipant
Sorry – my typo – meant to write “choice”..
February 6, 2010 at 8:42 PM #167158
I agree with you on the weight. These were thrown out as examples of what one could do with a little imaginationa and some guidance. I have seen versions of the spyder lite that where just using quad-plex J boxes that you would run home outlets out of with light standards mounted to the 4 sides and one in the middle cover plate.these are real light compated the 2 1/4″ thick plate that was put together for the example. With the flourecents you could use a plastic box and reduce even more weight.
thereare a lot of ideas out there if one does a web search of DIY studio lighting.
February 6, 2010 at 9:04 PM #167159
You should by no means be offended by the term ‘Ghetto’ in this context. If you’re broke but still have to get the job done and want to make it look good, you may have to get your ‘hands dirty’ so to speak to do so. Back in the day people were offended by the term ‘Guerrilla Filmmaker’ now it’s considered a badge of honor for some.
If you watched the vid, Caleb’s setup is as the kids say “straight up ghetto”. C’mon, tin foil, wax paper and a light that he got out of the trash? That’s not ‘affordable’, that’s ‘ghetto’. Calling what Caleb put together ‘Affordable Lighting’ implies a completely different context of what he actually put together.
To be a zero to micro budget filmmaker these days ya’ gotta’ do what ya’ gotta’ do if you want to do this kind of work. However, I do recognize some may be offended, but I didn’t make up the word and in this situation it fits. I am sorry that you found offense as it was the farthest thing from my mind when I put the post together.
I was by no means ragging on those lights, I think they’re brilliant. Just I noticed that for all of the thought that went into building them, those truly important details seemed to slip by. Did you take a look at the ‘Stuart Nanolight’? If you haven’t do so. Oh and please whip up those other DIY lighting setups so we can help folks like Caleb to go from ‘Ghetto to Affordable’!
February 6, 2010 at 10:41 PM #167160AnonymousInactive
Interesting discussion. I’ll simply put in a thought.While being offended is never pleasant, we as individuals do not have a right to not be offended. Some things are universally (within a cultural context) offensive. I didn’t find this use of the word ghetto to be so. My two-cents.
February 7, 2010 at 4:31 AM #167161
Some more Ideas for lighting. Another DIY Spiderlite design. These are to give ideas on how you could make your lights for a few dollars.
Instructions for above. Always be careful when working with electricity.
This one uses air ducting as the “container”.
February 7, 2010 at 5:24 AM #167162
February 7, 2010 at 5:58 PM #167163
I took a quick look at the ‘Cerebral Spiderlight’ design and though it’s not ‘elegant’ as the wood-based one, it looks a lot more practical and he’s got the mounting issue worked out. These are some great designs. Keep’em coming!
February 10, 2010 at 9:29 PM #167164AnonymousInactive
Hi this is Caleb Pike (from the video above). I just wanted to back up “Composite1”, he is correct in stating the safety flaws in my lighting setup. in this video I quickly show the fix for under $50 using GelsandBlackRap.
These are great tools that will last for years and are really necessary for controlling your lights and staying safe.
February 10, 2010 at 10:11 PM #167165
Well howdy Caleb!
Thanks for dropping in and for the tips. The 550D looks like a neat little cam and yeah if you can get your hands on gels and blackrap then definitely do so.
April 2, 2010 at 5:56 PM #167166
As always, I’m on the lookout for Ghetto (ahem, ‘affordable’) solutions to add to an impromptu lighting setup. Here’s another little gem by Coleman (the one’s who make the camping gear.) It’s a four-panel LED light and for under $60 you can have four individually independent LED lights or 1 full LED lamp. I just ordered one and will give some better specs after testing it.
Well, I was going to include the video by Ron Riseman, but he has it blocked. When I get it in I’ll just put up the test myself. Please standby. In the meantime, here’s a link to see the Coleman LED Quad Light:
April 3, 2010 at 5:55 AM #167167EarlCMember
OK, Composite, I tried that Coleman link in your last post and it takes me to the edit panel for your post. Wassup with dat?
April 3, 2010 at 11:05 AM #167168
This link explains the lantern from a campers perspective.
April 3, 2010 at 5:07 PM #167169
I can only attribute that to ‘Brainus Farticus Syndrome’. It’s fixed now.
April 3, 2010 at 5:13 PM #167170
I did some checking and apparently the lights are daylight color temp (5600 degrees K). I’ll confirm that during my tests. I’m already thinking of ways to mount the lights. Film @ 11.
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