800 Watt DIY Video Light That Does Not Get Warm For $86

I am not really sure how this one went under the radar, but late is better than never. The fine folks over at Indy Mogul came up with a tutorial on building an 800 Watt video light that relies on our good old friend the Compact Florescent Lightbulb (A.K.A CFL).

800 Watt DIY Video Light That Does Not Get Warm For $86

The nice thing about this light is that it does not really get warm. And if you ever tried lighting a video with an 750 Watts worth of halogen lighting, you know how hard it is to manage.

The other nice thing is that if does not actually eat 800 Watt. Since it is using 8 100-Watt equivalent CFLs as light source (probably only 20 Watts each), it only eats 160 Watts.

Lastly, if you are going to do this, make sure you get decent CFL bulbs that has a high Color Render Index (marked as CRI in the package), and has the same color temperature rank.

The wiring diagram is a bit hard to find and was on the matching instructable, so I am posting it here as a service. Make sure you check the Q&A section on that instructable as it holds valuable information.

800 Watt DIY Video Light That Does Not Get Warm For $86

And here is a test shoot done with this light:

Thanks for the heads up, Jason

P.S. we used a similar method when we built our DIY white backdrop studio.

[Indy Mogul via slr lounge]

  • Greg Easton

    The one with no wiring and bulb to outlet converters is easier and cheaper to build.

    • Jayson Carey

      Agreed. I built a pair of these bucket lights, but have switched over to a dollar-store power strip, a handful of plug-in lightbulb sockets, and 1-into-2 bulb adapters.

      • Huge Dom

        I did the same too but found the plug-in socket with the 2 bulb and adapters were too heavy stay in the power strip. How did you guys over come that issue ??

        • Jayson Carey

          gaff tape or zip ties. i never go to any set without both.

  • DjJuvan

    This DIY lighting is great, I made it too… but strangely this CFL lights give out a bit of greenish color, so it’s a pain when working with greenscreen or choosing WB preset from camera. The white will look a bit green in editor. If you choose autowhitebalance, or really make right white balance, you wont notice the greenish color.

    • Marc Jones

      They make Photography CFLs that arent quite the same as off the shelf consumer CFLs, you should try using those instead.

  • German Munoz

    This is great. thanks for sharing. I am going to build one for me. Thanks again.

  • Smokie

    I borrowed your technique to create a 6-bulb setup for a rock band. I made it look like one their stage monitors. The problem is that even using a defuser (shower curtain framed) even with 200 watts, 4′ from the subjects, to the musicians it is like playing in front of someone’s high-beams. Are folk really pointing 800 watts at folk?

  • Michael Andrew Broughton

    i can’t stand when people people use watts and the bs incandecent equivalent rating interchangeably.

  • waamp

    I would think over time the plastic tub would warp or sag around the flag pole holder due to the weight of the whole thing and/or heat (even tho its not so hot to melt it the I would think the heat is enough to make it softer)… anyone who made this seen this happen or have any other feedback that only use over time would provide?
    thx