Introduction: DIY Self-Tape Studio

If you're an actor, chances are you've had to send in a self-taped audition. Finding the right light, a quiet environment and a friend with a camera can be a HUGE headache that distracts you from your performance. Of course you can hire a professional taping service, but that can get expensive, especially on an artist's budget.

Here's how to build your own smartphone studio for less than $100!

Step 1: Supplies


2 x HEMMA, Cord set with switch, white $11.00 (703.123.24)

2 x REGOLITH, Pendant lamp shade, white $4.99 (701.034.10)

1 x TIPPLER, Block-out roller blind, gray $27.99 (203.091.40) - min. width 52"

TARGET / elsewhere

1 x Tripod $20-50 (minimum height matches your eye level)

1 x Selfie Stick $5-10 (must have universal tripod thread screw, as seen in last image)

Assembly requires 1 hammer and 1 philipps screwdriver

Step 2: Hang Your Backdrop

Grey is the color that casting directors prefer for backdrops. It offers a tonal baseline for the image, and makes it easier for your camera to adjust white balance and exposure. This Ikea shade will do just the trick.

1. Pick a room with as many of the following specifications as possible:

  • Quiet
  • Carpeted - reduces echo and reverberation, making it easier for your camera microphone.
  • Dark - sunlight has a bluer tone than lightbulbs, and when the colors mix it ain't pretty

2. Find a blank wall and install your TUPPLUR roller blind per the IKEA instructions. A good place to mount it is 3 feet above your shoulders. Gives plenty of wiggle room for framing later.

Step 3: Make the Smartphone Tripod

Here we're gonna make your tripod smartphone-friendly, without involving any duct tape. The process is simple:

1. Remove both your Selfie Stick and Camera Tripod from their respective packaging.

2. Discard the stick part of the Selfie Stick, but hang onto the thing that hangs onto your phone.

3. Attach the phone grip to the tripod mount.

4. Click the mount back into place.

Boom. Done.

Step 4: Frame Your Shot

1. Open the camera app on your smartphone and select Video.

2. Position your tripod at eye level, and adjust until the grey backdrop just barely fills the screen. Your phone should end up about 4' away from the wall, depending on the lens.

Step 5: Hang Your Lights

You will be hanging two Ikea "Chinese balls" (REGOLIT) on either side of the tripod.

1. Open the packaging for your HEMMA lights.

2. Place one mounting screw in the ceiling, 18" to the left of your camera. Place another 18" to the right of camera.

3. Open and expand your REGOLIT lamp shades.

4. Mate the REGOLIT shades with the HEMMA lights, and hang the assembly on the ceiling hooks.

5. Adjust the length of the strands so the lights hang at eye-level for you, a.k.a. the actor.

Step 6: Final Adjustments...

Okay, you're basically all done. One thing you might want to change is the bulbs. The ones that come with the Ikea HEMMA set aren't too bright, so I'm using GE's 60W incandescents, which provide 620 lumens. Just had them lying around. Brighter will work better. And if you've got wood or tile floors, lay out a rug or blanket to dampen the sound. That's about it!

Break a leg!

Lamps and Lighting Contest 2016

Participated in the
Lamps and Lighting Contest 2016