Introduction: DIY Video Light (800-watt-equivalent for $86)

Griffin builds a powerful, DIY video light for $86, using hardware store parts, and eight 100-watt-equivalent compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. Also discussed: three-point lighting and color temperature / white balance.

Light output: 12,800 lumens, or 13 incandescent bulbs worth of power, but uses only 184 actual watts
Color temperature: 5,000 degrees Kelvin (often called "daylight")
Power consumption: draws 3.2 amps


indianapenguin (author)2016-01-12

Would this be an equivalent for those of us without any wiring experience?

yes and no, i had bought those lighbulbs and they saw 45w but the light intensity its like 23w, the socket base works good you just need better lightbulbs...

Yeah, that product looks lovely, and nicely priced!

jgderuvo (author)2015-09-07

Hey Griffin, the wiring diagram is MIA. Can we get one? Thanks

MarioD8 (author)2015-08-05

Can i add a dimmer to this project? or i need to buy specific bulbs ?

ABOBEGRa (author)2015-03-27

hello >> nice diy

but where is the links to buy it :)

i from saudi arebia and we dont have this things


SalterNet (author)2015-01-25

Could you do the same effect with a power strip, socket adapters and splitters?

Oh MyD (author)2014-10-25

one more question. While at Home Depot and aced about the 12 gauge wire I ended up with solid copper 600 volt. can that be used as well?

Oh MyD (author)2014-10-10

Thanks for the video!! I'm having a hard time finding the exact AC cable you are using. The folks at home depot pointed be in the wrong direction using your name "bare AC cable". This was after a long blank stare. Is there another name this cable goes by? Or can you direct me to a different place to get it?

griffinity (author)Oh MyD2014-10-10

You want an AC power cable with a three-pronged plug on one side, and bare wires on the other side. Tell them you're building your own light, and you need to plug it into the wall.

Oh MyD (author)griffinity2014-10-15

Thank you! That helps a lot. Excited to build it!

speaking12 (author)2014-09-12

This is a great light set! I assume this is your key; are the other two lights in the video what you use to complete the other two points? Also I would like to know what size cfl you'd recommend for a 500W softbox; the photofloods can turn an interior set into a sweatbox. Thanks

pmuehlhauser (author)2013-04-16

almost done building this light, putting in 4 switches since a dimmer is not really a good idea since dimmable bulbs cost more and CFL dimmers cost more as well. however since I know close to nothing about power levels, I was wondering is it possible to power this with a lithium-ion battery if so what do I need? if not lithium-ion then lead?

griffinity (author)pmuehlhauser2013-04-16

You won't be able to power this with a regular battery. I've used my light with a "battery" called the Goal Zero Escape 150, but it's about the size of a football.

kwaku2814 (author)griffinity2014-08-09

how many lights can the goal zero escape 150 power I built 3 lights from your build

griffinity (author)kwaku28142014-08-09

The "150" means 150 watt hours, so if your light uses 176 watts (8*22-watt bulbs), one light will last for 51 minutes. Three lights would last 17 minutes.

bakerture (author)2014-03-22
dcyr (author)2013-03-12

Is there any chance you can give a more detailed list no where you got the parts for this from? I have been looking into buying the parts and I cannot for the life of me find it for anywhere near $86 total. That cake pan I can't find for less than like $20 or so. If you could provide stores and such that would be a HUGE help!

griffinity (author)dcyr2013-04-16

I believe I found my cake pan at a Dollar General store. Or perhaps it was Walmart.

jakehuitt1 (author)griffinity2014-02-18

Please link all of the things you bought online. I am trying but can get this for under $150.

jakehuitt1 (author)2014-02-18

Please link all of the things you bought online. I am trying but can get this for under $150. @griffinity

jgderuvo (author)2013-09-23

What happened to the wiring diagram?

nyckidd24 (author)2013-05-10
I built one of these yesterday, and it's fantastic! Thanks for sharing the idea. Now, stupid question time...

I'll probably smack myself in the head later for not thinking this through enough.. is the light that glows through the sides of the dish pan a significant loss? Would wrapping around the sides with a black tape accomplish anything as far as directing more of the light forward? Not that I'm asking for more light out of this thing, as it's incredible given size/weight/cost/energy as it is.. I was just pondering this and figured why not ask. :D

Thanks again!

gnach (author)2013-04-30

Kudos! Good build, good video. thx. I'm not too keen on the pan lid but I can't come up with an cheap alternative. Gotta love those flag pole swivels.

vidserve (author)2013-01-09

Love your article. I have one that may be of interest to your readers. Made this for my film and video work a few years back.

RAMUSE007 (author)2012-12-22

So where's the test film that you made with these lights?

griffinity (author)RAMUSE0072012-12-23

bertzie (author)2012-11-19

Hey Griffin, which sockets did you use? You never specified in the video.

fersidhe (author)2012-06-14

I am also thinking of 2 different switches for more control over light amount. 400 or 800 wattts (6400 or 12800 lumens?)

fersidhe (author)2012-06-14

Fantastic! At work we are moving to a new building and I will have an extra office on an unoccupied floor. I Was trying to figure out less expensive lighting options to go with the green screen I am going to have, this fits the bill perfectly. Thanks for this!

griffinity (author)2012-04-12

I don't recommend anyone attempt the electrical wiring without a proper understanding of AC electrical systems and safety. To provide more clarity, here's a wiring diagram and photo.

iphotocourse (author)2012-04-01

That's splendid, how heavy is the whole assembly and any ideas on how to attach some modifiers? I may very well try this out for home-studio video set.

griffinity (author)iphotocourse2012-04-12

Pretty light. Maybe 6 lbs. (but I'm only guessing). I'm using a bunch of binder clips to attach gels.

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