It probably goes without saying, but – professional lighting is expensive. If you are just starting out your filmmaking career, or you’re simply a hobbyist, there’s no need for spending thousands of dollars on professional light. You can do it on a budget with construction lights you can find at any Home Depot.
In this video, you’ll see some tips and tricks how to choose the construction light and put it to the best use. Also, you’ll see some great DIY tips for creating natural color of light and making your own lighting barn doors.
First of all, before buying construction lights, make sure they’re not LED. Cheap LED lights are not very usable for the video. And professional studio LED lights cost over $1000. The reason is their CRI (color rendering index) rating, which is unsuitable for filming in the cheap LED alternatives.
CRI value is not important for everyday life, but it’s crucial for your camera. It basically tells you how good the color reproduction is. Low CRI values in cheap LED lights give greenish tint, which is not usable for video. So, if you want a good LED light for the video, you need to have a high budget.
Fortunately, there’s an alternative in construction lights. I even remember using them for an improvised photo studio at my friend’s home. They have tungsten lighting, which is easier to control. Although, these lights have one flaw – they get pretty hot. But then, at least it’s the only thing to have in mind.
Now, these construction lamps can give yellowish light. For the photos, I used Lightroom to make it look more natural. If you want to tone it down on filming set, you can add a blue filter. It will neutralize the yellow tone and you’ll get white light. If you add one more filter, you will get the blue light. You can also add a soft filter, which goes great together with the construction lights. It helps make the light a lot more flattering, especially if filming people. But pay attention to one thing before adding these filters: they need to be heat-resistant.
Another thing you can add to the construction lights are DIY lighting barn doors. Filmmakers use them to flap off spill lights or create certain shapes in the background. For the construction lights, you can make your own barn doors on a budget. All it takes is some Cinefoil or even aluminum foil painted black. Wrap it around the construction light and create any shape you like.
And there you have it – the light, barn doors and filters for about $90. Sure, it doesn’t beat the professional equipment, but for beginners and hobbyists, I think it’s a great solution.