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Old August 18th, 2002, 06:31 AM   #1
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DIY Lighting

I just picked up a set of lights and am about to go about modifing them for video use. The light set cost me just under JP\10 000, about USD$80, and consists of 3 8"x6" 500w halogens on adjustable 6' stands and one 6"x4" 150w. I have a couple of questions, hopefully someone will have an answer for.

1. Anyone know of an inline dimmer that will handle 500w? I found a 150w one here in Japan but need 3 500w ones. I though about building a control box but it would end up to bulky and heavy and I really need the set to be extremely portable.

2. I'm going to add some barn-doors and want to know if I should build in some kind of gel holder.

As shooting with artificial light is something I don't have a lot of experience with any ideas or tips would be helpful.
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Old August 18th, 2002, 01:32 PM   #2
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David Riddle has small inline dimmers. I haven't used his, but I've used some of his video cases. They are well made.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?iewItem&item=1372991754

His website:
http://www.davidriddle.com/
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Old August 18th, 2002, 01:49 PM   #3
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If you put on barn doors, you don't really have to build anything special for gels. Use clothes pins ("C47s") to hold the gel to the barn doors. Just make sure they are far enough out from the lamp so as not to melt. The only thing you might want to factor in to the barn door holder is a slot to hold standard diffusion screens.

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Old August 18th, 2002, 11:21 PM   #4
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Justin,

Those dimmers look great but they are somewhat of an overkill for what I want. Just one costs more that the lights themselves. I'm looking for a more consumer lighting type of thing. Like 29.95 from Home Depot or the like.
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Old August 19th, 2002, 08:16 PM   #5
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adrian,
if you can't find the dimmers in Akihabara, check out http://www.homebuiltstabilizers.com/

look in the materials links page, they list a bunch of online stores that sell all kinds of supplies.

ichi-man for the lights+stands is a great deal, where did you get them at?
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Old August 20th, 2002, 03:16 AM   #6
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Hey Adrian,

Just by coincidence, I got this link in my e-mail junk box. Read it and build thy own.

http://www.howstuffworks.com/dimmer-switch.htm
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Old August 20th, 2002, 08:24 AM   #7
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Rik,

I picked them up at good ole DOit. I don't know if you have it your way but any big chain DIY store will probably have them.

Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.
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Old August 20th, 2002, 08:14 PM   #8
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Hey Adrian,

Got another link for ya...http://www.lowel.com/...download the full Lowel catalog. They have some dimmers available.
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Old August 22nd, 2002, 09:04 AM   #9
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I had the same problem trying to find a simple dimmer switch. I found several "Pro" panpots and dimmers, for several hundred or several thousand, depending on the particular unit. I went to Home Depot and other places, but didn't find any plug-in dimmers that seemed industrial enough.

So, I made my own for about $20 USD, and found everything in the local WalMart. I bought two independant wall dimmer switches, and a double wall outlet. Add a short heavy duty extension cord, some wire nuts and electrical tape, and a small box to house it in, and you have a dimmer for two lights.
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Old August 23rd, 2002, 07:45 AM   #10
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Keith,

John Locke and I spoke about making a box as we wandered around a Japanese version of Home Depot. We decided for Japan, and the fact everything needs to be as small as possible inline plugin dimmers on each light would be the go.
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Old August 28th, 2002, 03:20 PM   #11
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Adrian, how are your lights going? Had a chance to try them yet? Trying to get an idea as to the quality of the home made lighting kits. Before I get my camera, I've been thinking that I should look into some lights and start playing around with lighting and my current 1ccd camera to see if I can get my shots looking better ;)
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Old August 28th, 2002, 10:18 PM   #12
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I haven't shot anything with them yet Aaron, but I've set me up in my lounge room and they work a treat. I'm still working on a control and diffusion system for them and I'll let you know how I go.
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Old August 29th, 2002, 08:08 PM   #13
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I am working on my own lights also, for diffusion I am going to add a common photo stand clamp and a white umbrella. for my lights I am using a standard single gang outlet box which screws right onto the light. The dimmers were about 4 bucks and fit right into the outlet box like a switch would. Also you can try changing the standard bulbs for 500w T3 GE lamps which provide 3200 kelvin light. An interesting article I just posted to the open DV discussion talks about lighting and even talks about the color temperature of TV's in Japan. Hope some of this might have helped.

http://www.cybercollege.com/tvp028.htm
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Old August 29th, 2002, 08:29 PM   #14
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That's an interesting article, CentralFla. I didn't know that about US and Japanese TVs.

Thanks for the info.
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Old August 30th, 2002, 05:07 AM   #15
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Aaron,

In trying to come up with some sort of diffusion for my lights, I used the old trick of oven proof baking paper. I put two layers of this paper over the protective grill and switched the puppies on. Beautiful light and soft shadows. They've been running for about 30mins now and no sigh of the paper scorching.

My wife just came into the room and commented on how different the room looks. She said it looks warm and sexy.

Not bad for an $80 light rig.
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