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Old September 17th, 2007, 11:56 AM   #1
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Help lighting my shoot....on the cheap!

I have a shoot this weekend for a pilot for a cooking/ceramics show and I was looking for lighting help. The budget is nil and I was looking for guerrilla solutions on lighting. I'm thinking about heading down to the local Home Depot for lighting solutions, any suggestions? How about a cheap soft box? Not trying to knock anyones methods but rather looking for cheap solutions. Thanks again!
Roque Rodriguez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 17th, 2007, 04:17 PM   #2
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Hi Roque,

The search function will yield a lot of postings in the past on this subject as it comes up very often. Most of the solutions surround Home Improvement store worklights and such. I also published a video on the subject of fluorescent DIY solutions. Then there are free resources on my site in various places with lots of information on the subject. So there are lots of resources around if you dig a bit. Hope this helps.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 04:46 PM   #3
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I've heard of people using portable Halogen Tripod Lights that they buy at Home Depot. These lights are inexpensive and are portable. You can use a shower curtain to defuse the light. Be careful... these lights get very hot! They are not intended to be used indoors....
Tim Bickford
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Old September 17th, 2007, 07:57 PM   #4
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I own a real light kit, but for a recent project I needed to light up an area much larger than my kit could adequately cover. It sounds like your production might benefit from softer lighting so I personally would avoid the Halogen work lights. They are extremely hard lighting sources, and get quite hot to work with or under.

What I did for additional lighting was to buy 12 metal aluminum reflector clamp-on shop lights from WalMart for about six bucks a piece. You can get these anywhere, but when I looked the Home Depot version had a 6ft cord and the Wal Mart lights had a 15ft cord and it was handy to have the extra length.

I would then get 12 compact florescent bulbs to use in your aluminum reflector clamp lights. I bought the 26w (about equal to a 100w tungsten bulb) mainly because I needed 6500k color temp to match my other lights. With 5500k – 6500k bulbs you also have the advantage of being balanced to daylight so you can shoot in areas with mixed natural and artificial lighting without color temp issues.

Most stores sell daylight (5500k or 6500k) bulbs and Soft White (3500k) bulbs, so you can decide what works best for you. I would personally stick with a bulb from a major national brand lighting supplier over a store brand. WalMart gets about $7 a two pack for 26w bulbs. WalMart (and other stores) also sell a larger 42w (about equal to a 150w tungsten bulb) compact fluorescent bulb, but since they did not have that size in 6500K at the stores I shopped I could not use them.

I also picked up a few 15ft brown extension cords with the three receptical outlets with sliding cover for about $5 each. This allowed enough cord to get the lights where I needed them to be.

Finally I made some mounting hardware in very little time to keep all the lights positioned where I wanted them. I found a piece of masonite plywood in the garage (you could use any lightweight thin plywood) and ripped it to about thee inches wide. If you a 4’ sheet you will need to rip two 3” x 4’ strips. I then cut the 3”masonite strips in into twelve 6” pieces. I then stacked and clapped up all the 3” x 6” x Ό” thick pieces and drilled a Ό” hole directly thru the center. I bought 12ea Ό” x 3” flat head bolts (you need threads to the end of the bolt), 12ea Ό” regular nuts, and 12ea Ό” acorn nuts (the ones with the domed cap). I put a flat head bolt thru the masonite, screwed a nut to hold it firmly to the board and then screwed the Ό” acorn nut to the end of the end (I also used some epoxy on the so it would not work loose).

What you end up with are twelve little pieces of wood with a 3” bolt stick up in the middle and a nice rounded nut on the end. When you look at the original lamp hardware you can remove the spring clamp (which I have never had much luck clamping to anything) and fasten the light head to the board.

With some good gaffers tape you can sick the lights anywhere you want them to be. You can also set them on a horizontal surface and position them anyway you want. I used these to cover a large dance floor and they were still sticking firmly to walls several hours later when I took them down. They will put out extremely soft light and the cost should look like this.

$72 – Aluminum reflector lights
$42 – 26w Compact Florescent Bulbs
$15 – 3 Extension cords
$15 – Nuts and Bolts and Hardware
$10 – Ό” Masonite Plywood (if you don’t have some)

$154 for a 12 light kit (you could do a 6 light for about $75 if you did not need such a big area)

Hope this helps
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Old September 17th, 2007, 10:30 PM   #5
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In addition, you can learn to add barndoors to such aluminum reflectors and worklights as well here:

And we have a free template you can print out to use as a pattern for cutting the barndoors out of a sheet of sheet metal.

Someone mentioned 6500K CFLs. I personally would recommend the 5500K N:Vision Spirals from Home Depot which come in 30w and 40w actual draw. They also have a 3500K version too. Many here on have used those with great success.
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