How to Make a Video Lighting Rig for Under $100: Tutorial

How to Make a Video Lighting Rig for Under $100: Tutorial

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Without light, there is no video. Or rather, with not enough light there is crappy, unprofessional video. So wherever you are, you need adequate light, sometimes, even outside, if the weather isn’t fully cooperating. We found this great tutorial from IndyMogul that shows how you can make a $86 do-it-yourself lighting rig using materials that you can easily find at your local DIY or hardware store.

Why Good Lighting is Critical to Good Web Video.

Lighting is as important as content when it comes to quality of the video you’re making. Improper lighting means you don’t know what you’re doing and will quickly show the viewer exactly that. It also totally destroys picture quality and instantly makes it grainy unless you’ve got some super light-gathering lenses. It works if that’s what you’re going for, but if you’re trying to show off some products, that just isn’t going to cut it. The more light the better is usually the rule since too dark can never be recovered properly. Even if there’s too much light you can usually make some adjustments on the camera to get a better picture than too little light would ever allow for.

The IndyMogul DIY Lighting Rig Tutorial:

The new light Griffin Hammond from IndyMogul made in this video is bright enough to be the main light and with some additions like an umbrella, wax paper or gels can create a softer light for softer shadows and even colored lighting effects. The bulbs don’t get so hot that they heat up the room nor are they hot enough to melt most things you’ll use nearby them, but be safe either way. He also shows off some of the other lights he uses for his three-point lighting system; key, fill and back. Each serves a specific purpose.

DIY Video Lighting Rig Project Materials:

Things you’ll need for this project:

  • Initiative – It’s a bit of work
  • A small budget (around $86)
    • eight 100-watt-equivalent compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs
    • 13×9 aluminum cake pan and lid
    • 12×10 white plastic dish pan
    • 4 sockets
    • 4 socket splitters (two sockets per main socket)
    • wired on/off switch
    • metal handle
    • plastic flagpole holder
    • blank plastic yard sign
    • clear silicone sealant
    • 3/4 inch screws and nuts
    • wiring supplies (bare AC cable, wire guards, 12 gauge wire

The light output looks like this:

  • 12,800 lumens, or 13 incandescent bulbs worth of power, but uses only 184 actual watts
  • Color temperature: 5,000 degrees Kelvin (often called “daylight”)
  • Power consumption: draws 3.2 amps


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