Jump to content


Photo

building my own lighting units


  • Please log in to reply
3 replies to this topic

#1 Mark Rimmer

Mark Rimmer
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 12 posts
  • Camera Operator

Posted 03 November 2005 - 12:59 PM

Hi all
I want to build some of my own lighting units, to give me a bigger lighting package, and let me spend my lighting budget on bigger, or more specialised units. The kind of thing I'm talking about are (for example) soft boxes with 4-6 500W photofloods. the problem is, I really don't have the technical knowledge, regarding what kind of cables and fittings etc I will need.
are there any good books or websites with information about this that anyone knows about?
thanks
Mark Rimmer
'beginner' cinematographer
Prague

PS
is it possible to build my own fittings for kinoflo tubes?
  • 0

#2 Michael Collier

Michael Collier
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1262 posts
  • Gaffer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 03 November 2005 - 05:57 PM

if your a real bigginer than you just need to worry about getting the light to do what you want on the cheap. I once shot a greenscreen sequence on 2 lights i built totaling 1500watts, a greenboard I made out of old gybsum board, and a dolly i made out of plywood, angle iron and skate wheels.

one light I made that I always like was basicly just a 2x3ft peice of 1/2" plywood mounted to a 2x4 that sat in a milk crate (lots of weight was put in the milk crate to hold it up.) on the board was 6 200 watt incandecent (almost household lights, but balanced for 3200)

I had 6 standard ceramic sockets taht I mounted to the board and 3 switches at teh bottom. it was wired such that the first switch would turn the top row of 3 on. the second one would turn the two outside lights on the bottom row and the last switch turned on the middle one on the row. This way I could choose anything between 200 watts all the way up to 1200 watts.

on both sides of the light was long metal with right angle bends, similar to the type that holds up shelving. At the end I hung a frame I fassioned out of 1/2" square woodstock with silk-like fabric covering it. this way i had a soft box which could be removed if nessicary.

I also built another light which was nothing more than a security flood light in a scocket that was attached to a wood clamp. I had anoter milk crate with a 2x4 so I had a standard mount for it, but if I needed to I could hang it on a door or something like that.

Things to keep in mind: if you can wire a lamp you can wire a tungsten lighting device. kinos will be harder because the ballasts they use are at a special frequency and require different electronics than switches, you need to be an engeneer or electronic hobyist to be able to build one. make sure the wire you use is a heavy enough gauge to handle the most power your unit will use. make sure your sockets are able to handle the light you intend to use (if its not built to that wattage it will melt, short, catch fire and kill everything withina 5 mile radius. well maybe a bit of an overstatement, but it would be bad.)
  • 0

#3 Matt Irwin

Matt Irwin
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 389 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 04 November 2005 - 12:31 PM

kinos will be harder because the ballasts they use are at a special frequency and require different electronics than switches, you need to be an engeneer or electronic hobyist to be able to build one.

Not necessarily. I've wired up quite a few 4 bank t12 ballasts (bricks, not kinos) without issue, and I am by no means an electronic expert. Zip cord, add-a-taps, connectors, and a wire tool is all you really need to wire up a homemade fluorescent unit.

Wiring aside, I think building a fluorescent light would be easier than a a tungsten unit because you can work with lightweight plastics (like plasticore and thin- gauge ABS sheet) as heat from the lamps is not really an issue. With tungsten, you're stuck with heavier materials that won't melt.
Just my 2¢.
  • 0

#4 Chris Keth

Chris Keth
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4427 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Los Angeles

Posted 04 November 2005 - 10:12 PM

Not necessarily. I've wired up quite a few 4 bank t12 ballasts (bricks, not kinos) without issue, and I am by no means an electronic expert. Zip cord, add-a-taps, connectors, and a wire tool is all you really need to wire up a homemade fluorescent unit.

Wiring aside, I think building a fluorescent light would be easier than a a tungsten unit because you can work with lightweight plastics (like plasticore and thin- gauge ABS sheet) as heat from the lamps is not really an issue. With tungsten, you're stuck with heavier materials that won't melt.
Just my 2¢.



Neither is very hard to do. I've built quite a few of both. Just do ample testing to make sure your wiring is proper and sound. A good way to make some halogen units is to tear halogen worklights apart and get to the very base rig in there and figure out a housing to put it in. Either that or start with a worklight and devise a way to put barndoors on it and a way to put it on stands and/or c-stands
  • 0


Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Willys Widgets

Aerial Filmworks

Wooden Camera

Ritter Battery

Rig Wheels Passport

FJS International, LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Tai Audio

Paralinx LLC

CineLab

Opal

Visual Products

Glidecam

rebotnix Technologies

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Abel Cine

Technodolly

CineTape

Metropolis Post

The Slider

Technodolly

Wooden Camera

Glidecam

rebotnix Technologies

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Metropolis Post

Ritter Battery

Rig Wheels Passport

The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineTape

FJS International, LLC

Willys Widgets

Opal

Aerial Filmworks

Visual Products

CineLab

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Paralinx LLC

Abel Cine

Tai Audio