Cheap and Easy High Quality Photo and Video Light DIY




Introduction: Cheap and Easy High Quality Photo and Video Light DIY

i wanted to make a cheap light to record videos inside my house, firstly i wanted to buy some video lighting equipment but it was so expensive that i decided to investigate about what 2700k, 5600k and 6500k means, and found a very trusted light called kino flo Diva-Lite 415 but it cost $1,099.69 USD so that´s how this project started

also this light has about 16,000 lumens output so it will allow you to use very low ISO on your camera

Step 1: First the Box

i decided to make it 24 inches wide and 14 inches tall but you can make it 12 inches tall if it acomodates your light bulb size...

the frame is made with wood that is 4 inches wide and 1 inch deep because we dont want it to be too heavy.

we are going to cut 2 pieces that are 24 inches long and they will be the top and the bottom part

then we cut 2 pieces that are 12 inches long to be the sides of our frame.

Step 2: Dont Forget the Pilot Holes...

first we need to make pilots holes for the screws that will hold the frame assembled because otherwise we might split the wood apart

i used 3 screw for each corner they are zinc number 6 that are 2 inches long but you can also use drywall screws...

Step 3: Space the Sockets Evenly

i used these wall lamp socket base i bought them on home depot, they are small and easy to wire

they are centered along the wood lenght

the 2 middle ones are 2 inches apart from the center of the wood to the center of the socket because in the center goes the wood insert to have 1/4-20 thread for the light stands and tripods

the other sockets have a space of 3.5 inches from center to center, but you can probably go as small as 2.5 inches separation center to center if your light bulbs allow it

Step 4: The Power to Turn It Off

i just used a cheap leviton 15 amp 120 VAC switch to turn on and off the lights

and for the wiring i used 16 gauge wire, because it can easily handle 13 amps or 1300 watts

i didnt cut the wire into pieces, just strip the insulation and you´re golden

i also used a 15 amp 3 prong plug

Step 5: A Handle to Handle It

i put on a handle to move it easier it doesn´t needs to be a fancy one

and in the bottom at the middle is a 1/4-20 wood insert so you can use it in lighting stands or tripods, but im thinking on getting a flag pole holder like this one to make it more versatile...

Step 6: Some Silver Background

the silver backplate is 1/8 inch thick and 14 inch height and 24 inch wide, got it from home depot.

paint it silver to reflect the light because otherwise you would get brownish reflections that will affect your colors.

Step 7: Gattering the Supplies...

because i use some natural lighting i needed to get light bulbs that work well with the "sunlight" white balance setting on the camera so went to the store and bought different type of lightbulbs and started the testing phase to se what would be better without breaking the bank....

got some red green and blue led lights, thinking on how a CMOS sensor works because they have sensors for red green and blue colors,

also got some 6500k cfl´s because they were cheap and also a good brand wich is philips

and some ecosmart 2700k because the light looks similar to the one from incandesent bulbs as it is more yellowish

i tried to find cheap 5600k or 5500k wich is the temp of the diva lite but couldn´t find them in the store or online they where like 10-15 USD each

also i didn´t bought daylight led lightbulbs because they where very expensive where i live (30 usd each) but if you can get them they will be better...

and finally i didn´t bought incandesent lights because of the insane amount of heat and power consumption...

Step 8: Testing Testing Testing...

for the test i set the camera in manual mode the white balance to "daylight" and used auto exposure to compensate for the changes in light intensity but not in color reproduction

all the color information was analized checking the RGB histogram

also the


make sure to buy your daylight 6500k lights from a trusted brand like philips because if you go to the dollar store to buy some cfl´s you´ll have a hard time

Step 9: The Proof Is in the Pooding


i needed to use 5 23w philips coolwhite 6500k and 1 8w philipscolors red light

and because the box can acomodate 12 lights you can use 2 reds and 10 whites to have high quality photo and video light withouth breaking the bank...

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    7 Discussions


    4 years ago

    With so many shallow plastic bins on the market, maybe one could be found to replace the wood frame using your original silver background. Cheaper, lighter and less work. Might even result in a more "professional" look. Your light temperature experiment is great!


    4 years ago

    This looks really good. I appreciate the testing you did to get the correct balance you wanted. Nicely done!

    jorge talamantes
    jorge talamantes

    Reply 4 years ago

    thanks i did it because i searched many diy llights here on instructables but none suited my needs...


    4 years ago

    Nice light setup and I like your documentation and photos explaining the setup.

    Couple little thoughts... For the background behind the bulbs I would think something very shiny like aluminum foil or a mirror may help bounce out more light. Or even some bright white foam core or poster board may preform better than painted wood.

    Second thought, if you could eleminate the natural light then you could custom white balence to the light temperature of your light you made. I cannot remember if you are shooting stills or video but it's easy to adjust exposure (shutter speed) to use less light but get perfect exposure.

    For moving video maybe eliminate the natural light and build a second light pack for more light. Pro studios never have windows and rely entirely on electric created light.

    Obviously your test has already proven you can get great results with out changing a thing but these are just some fun things to think about.

    Keep up the good work.

    jorge talamantes
    jorge talamantes

    Reply 4 years ago

    im working on a second version, so i can also use the custom white balance setting and also record videos withouth depending on sunlight, i will try what you say for the background to see what works best, soo there will be more testing to come


    4 years ago

    Nice idea, especially including the red globes, however, I think you need to look at using light sockets with a skirt around them to prevent any bare wiring, or any possible contact with the screws retaining the wiring.

    jorge talamantes
    jorge talamantes

    Reply 4 years ago

    thats a good idea,i will include it on the second version im working...