"1000" Watt DIY Light for Indie Film and Photography

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Introduction: "1000" Watt DIY Light for Indie Film and Photography

I am an indie film maker/photographer. If you want to see examples of the light in action for video, visit The Proper Gents. This is built out of oddball items that can be found around the house and at your local home improvement store. I encourage you to take a look around your house and see what you can use and recycle prior to purchasing anything.

I was inspired by Griffin Hammond and his 800 watt light. Here is his instructable https://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-video-light-80...

I wanted to up the ante because I really needed a ton of light.

*Disclaimer- Please do not attempt if you don't understand electricity and how to properly wire a circuit. Take some time to understand how electricity works before attempting. I am a professional at what I do, but you are responsible for wiring that you do. This is a strictly indoor light. If you would like to waterproof your light, additional steps need to be taken to keep the water out. Please Advise.*

*"1000" Watts* is just the combined supposed watt numbers of the bulbs that I purchased, not the actually total amount of light. Please Advise*

Step 1: Get and Box and Add Reinforcements!!!

I had this red box with a lid on it. I painted the inside of the box white to help bounce light out. I have wieght holding down a piece of wood on each side of the plastic on this box I had. I used double stick tape and silicone. This wood will help secure the flag pole mount to the box and make everything much more structurally sound.

Step 2: Mocking Up the Lights

I used plastic cheap light fixtures with Y splitters. The Y splitters had a round base. I don't have a photo, but I used a scroll saw to cut the sides to slim down the fixtures. This is just a dry fit to check if I had enough room. It was a perfect fit. These can be purchased at most home improvement stores.

Step 3: Wire Up Your Lights!

*Warning* Please do not attempt to wire anything electrical if you don't have a good understanding. Please seek professional help and assistance until you DO know what you are doing. There are plenty of resources online and on instructables.com to help inform you.

I am wiring them so I can independently turn off the bulbs. I looked into installing a dimmer, but the cost involved was way out of budget. If I need less light, then I can turn individual bulbs off. The wire is repurposed from an old cord.

Step 4: Flag Pole Mount

I used a flag pole mount and this is by far the cheapest and most effective way to mount the box. Its adjustable and very strong. You will find them at most of your big box hardware stores

Step 5: Switches and a Sheet Pan

I chose these switches because they look cool, they give a satisfying click, and they are the cheapest ones at the store I was at! I used a sheet pan to house the switches and cover up the wires to give a neat appearance. It might be DIY, but that doesn't mean it has to look like it is DIY! Make sure the sheet pan is insulated from all wiring or you will be in for a SHOCKING surprize. Also do not use this in any rainy/wet situation.

Step 6: Testing

This puts out ample light for a key light. The bulbs and white box interior give a nice soft light that really helps out your camera and your shot. It allows you to boost your shutter speeds which is exactly the reason I built this. I hope you enjoyed my first instructable!

Get in touch with me at http://www.curtosnoir.com

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18 Comments

Nice, clean build! I just hope those metal switches and the metal backside are grounded or rain/mechanical problem could kill someone. Perhaps a warning in the intro is appropriate (and a waiver for yourself?), we don't want people without adequate knowledge messing around with high voltage, especially not stuff people might use outdoors and have metal casings.

Very good advice. I have updated the introduction to reflect this. Cheers

Very true. I used this when I am not concerned about color grading the video. Eventually I will change out all of the bulbs to a consistant color temp. I have purchased off camera flashes for my photography.

The best way to avoid this issue (short of using only incandescent light sources) is to look for lamps with a high "color rendering index" (CRI). CRI is measured from 0 - 100 (with sunlight and incandescent bulbs being a perfect 100). Anything in the mid-to-high 80's is pretty good, but >90 would be ideal.

For anyone considering using LEDs for photo or video work, beware that the CRI of an LED might not be reflective of how it will render color on film or on a digital sensor. The good news is, The Academy is working on the issue! See their forthcoming report: http://www.oscars.org/science-technology/council/projects/ssl/index.html

Not really a thousand watts (light isn't "additive" in quite this way, as you'll see if you turn on a 60-W bulb and a 40-W bulb together). Still, nice and bright and a very good DIY project!

Very true, Thank you for the comment. I have added a disclaimer and put 1000 in quotes

What container is it in?

It is a container that held fire rating caulking. I got it from a construction site many years ago

I'm happy to say this light still works very well. I've used it in the many videos posted on www.YouTube.com/propergents