Video lights

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by ChrisA, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I'm looking for video lights. Must be low cost, portable, "daylight" color, and have a fast setup and take down. This means those ultra-cheap CFL based soft boxes can't work because of the long set-up times

    I might have the DIY some LED panels. I find I can buy a 300 LED daylight (6,000 Kelvin) LED strip for $20. I might get some and glue all 300 LEDS to a 30 x 20 inch white foam core board. I would have to find some way to attach barn doors (and keep them in place) and experiment to see is diffusion is required.

    But maybe there are already something like this available?
  2. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    Not sure if they are in your budget but I have a few F&V Ring Lights and 1X1 LEDs.
    I also picked up a few of the ARRI knock-offs from China and so far they are solid with some minor problems but worth the super low price.
  3. catonfire macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2013
    DIY lights, cheap flos & LEDs

    Chris A,

    If you go the DIY route on the LED strip foamcore, consider paper taping Blackwrap to the perimeter for barndoors. Cheap, strong, flexible, weightless & heat proof.

    You could also make an IKEA hamper light. Use those collapsible white hampers ($8) w/ or without tracing paper diffusion wrapped around it. Cut a hole in the top and drop a line down with a socket and a big CFL or if you want clean light, pop in 1 or 2 Kino daylight CFLs ($23) on a double socket. Because the hamper is spring tension, it will only support so much weight, unless you jerry-rig a stronger wire frame inside it.

    Nice thing about hamper lights as opposed to Chinese Lanterns is you can stand them on the floor and they won't roll away. More likely just hang it from a light stand (little awkward) or better yet, boom it if you have a little boom arm or C stand.

    I use ALZO PAN L fluorescents with Kino tubes. They make 2 & 4 banks. F&V, cowboy studios offer some cheaper Flo units which may not have dimmers but are probably lighter weight. Alzo generally are on sale now & periodically throughout the year. They don't have traditional yokes unfortunately. The kino tubes are about $23 each so you have to tack that price on but in the long run, the time saved in post and the cleaner result seems a better value to me than the $10 difference with cheaper tubes.

    F&V & Cowboy also have the aforementioned LEDs, though they are more expensive than flos and have around an 85 CRI vs. 95 for the kino flos and probably aren't full spectrum but would at least be more lightweight though output would be less I expect. Haven't used them I confess.

    There are some 95 CRI LED bulbs online but those are about $50. So twice the price as kinos probably with a similar output.

    If you make the LED strip lightbank, post a pic and let us know how it works!
  4. ChrisA thread starter macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Thanks for the ideas. Links would be nice if you have them. But I can use Google.

    I've found some good high CRI CLF bulbs at the local OSH home center. The were $12 for two bulbs and the color is very good. But the idea of gluing 300 LEDS to a foam core board and making a light that weighs a total of about 3 oz. is attractive. I could store four of those sheets in an artist portfolio case the slap them into some kind of holder.

    I'm just looking for ideas now. You've given me a few to look into

    Yes I will post results.
  5. catonfire macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2013
    More LEDs


    Sorry, I didn't post links. I am playing hooky from editing as it is & was lazy. I have noticed that GE is now selling Reveal LEDs in the traditional form factor. Saw them at Target. So those would be great for practicals and might be cheaper yet than kino bulbs; I don't remember the exact price. However, the output of these bulbs is much less than the big CFLs which can rival halogens but probably have better spectrum qualities. Tungsten Reveals always looked great.

    Nice thing also about the LED strips is you can make small nook lights for accents or car interiors. Mathews & Manfrotto make plenty of foamcore attachments which would be handy for attaching your LED boards to traditional stands. The Avenger F1504, 143F or 143FD forks might be of use.

    Great thing too is LED strips are linkable so you could size your units up and down. I was sketching out some designs for LED boards as well. If you velcro the backs of your LED strips, and then lay out different sized foamcores with corresponding velcro strips, you could have 2 banks, 4 banks, 8 banks ready to go. Just lay down as many 2 ft. strips as you need and plug them in to each other.


    Picture a 2 ft. 5/8ths rod, w/ a pair of manfrotto female adapters (014ms etc.) or card-a-links attached. You can just plug in the foamcore forks via the 5/8 pin to the open card-a-link receptor or female adapters, tighten and go. Add a 2 ft. foamcore to one side for a 2 bank, add another to the other side for a 4 bank. Or add 2 four bank foamcores, etc. to go big. And then one more card-a-link or female spigot to attach to a light stand or C Stand.

    If you need more stability so the foamcores don't sail in the breeze, you could use a 5/8ths cross for your rods. Maybe 3/8ths rods would work too for even lighter or smaller set ups.

    You could also do 1 side of the foamcore white, and glue some mylar or Lee reflector material to the other side for a little more kick.

    I'm guessing $100 more or less for the above set up, LEDs, not included.

    FILM LEDs:

    I was going to start on something like this when I saw the Cinemills Razor LED units at Createsphere. They told me they were about $40 for a 12 inch housed LED strip unit which are chainable. You could build your kit up as you go with these guys a unit at a time perhaps. And they also make kino style housing for the strips. More expensive perhaps but over the life of the investment maybe worth it, particularly if you can add as you go.


    Here is a LED "Flo style" unit for $70. Similar to the Razor LEDs:

    Wholesalers sell those Rosco style LED panels much cheaper but you have to buy in bulk I think.

    Here is a random industrial LED fixture:
    Much cheaper than film LEDs but weight???
  6. musique macrumors regular


    Apr 10, 2009
    Used gear

    OP, you say you're looking for ideas so here's one that mostly does not satisfy your other requirements, but it's an idea: Ebay for used professional lights. You'll probably find tungsten, but with gels they can become "daylight" (~5500K).

    You don't say what your budget is, but you can find some used professional (Arris and Moles from 200 Watts to 2000 Watts) for under $200. You can also find used professional stands with wheels that will last decades.

    These lights may come with barn doors. And, fixtures like this are pretty light, easy to set up, and will withstand most punishment.

    Another idea, especially if you're looking for a kit, is to check out used Lowell gear.

    Good luck.

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