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Home Depot Lights and Home-made Scrims
Old 01-11-2005, 09:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Since there's been so much chatter lately about lighting on the cheap, easy-to-make scrims, etc., I thought I'd toss a couple ideas out. "Home Depot" can mean many things. In my case, it doesn't mean one of those shop lights, but a light made from materials from the hardware store. Here's the softbox I've been using as a key light for something like 15 years. I fabricated it out of aluminum (it's held together with pop rivets) and it houses a 600-watt tungsten halogen bulb. The little fingers hold a piece of lighting fixture diffusion panel, and when I want extra soft, I stack a couple sheets in there. It's a little heavy, but a good Bogen light stand holds it up ok. The bulb and socket adapter were the only things I couldn't pick up at the hardware store; they are from a photo supply house (in my case, Porter's).



If something lighter has more appeal, follow this link to see how to make one out of foam core.

One really good resource for building studio stuff on the cheap is Tinker Tubes. They've been mentioned here before, but I haven't seen them mentioned lately. You can get the entire book of plans here. There are plans there to build everything from elaborate softboxes to portable scrims, all from materials you can pick up at your local hardware store. If a guy wanted to just use those shop lights out of the box, I think I'd just build a couple big scrims and filter the lights through them. If anyone wants to continue this discussion, meet me over in the tech forum...

Sure, it's about the glamour, but it's also about the garage...


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Re: Home Depot Lights and Home-made Scrims
Old 01-11-2005, 10:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Actually the Tinkertubes books was mentioned and linked to just a few days ago. Here was the link:

http://tinyurl.com/5bac3

It is a great book. I've built a number of the projects over the years. I bought it many years ago direct from Dean Collins when he was lecturing in my area. This shot was made with one of the softboxes from the book:



Cheers,
rfs
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Re: Home Depot Lights and Home-made Scrims
Old 01-11-2005, 10:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Dang, how'd I miss that? I was even looking for it! PVC pipe can be a wonderful thing...



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I chuckled when I saw your post ...
Old 01-12-2005, 06:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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One of my very close friends won a Grammy award for shooting an album cover for a recording artist, shot the cover of Life Magazine and went onto become a director, having directed well over 20 movies for the networks. He is now retired,living the life of Riley, but shooting pretty girl videos to keep himself smiling.

All he uses to shoot any of his video these days is good old fashioned Home Depot halogen lights, softened using silk from an old parachute he bought at the army surplus store. Every time he comes to my studio he berates me for renting video lights for all our productions. He does a far better job lighting with those shop lights than I can do with the expensive rentals I get for produciton.

It goes to show that for a guy who knows what he is doing, it isn't the cost of the equipment, bu thte understanding of light and relationship to the subject that counts. I applaud you for coming up with a good, workable device which is probably far better than the hot lights that can be bought for far more.

Go Home Depot, the pro photography store!
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