Pimping A Compete Strobist Studio
UPDATE: Looks like Kurbster droped out of flickr taking the very excellent set of strobist studio with him. I am going to leave the post here as the text still has value, although the images were soooooo much better to understand the concept from.
Just spent some good amount of time over at Kurbster photo stream. Seems like he completely nailed the whole, turn-a-room-into-a-strobist-studio thing.
Kurbster challenged Home Depot classic departments and generously turned some cheap and ordinary items into studio elements.
I'm gonna go over some of the challenges that Kurbster so elegantly solved.
Challenge 1: Room Size / Power Ratio
Ditch the room taking big lights - This is the first smart choice. With a small room one can settle for less powerful lights. It's true that you can not get as much power with the small ones, but ask this: do you really need to with such a small room. I guess that 99% of the time, you're good. And for the price of one of them "generic" monoblocks you can get at least 4 YONGNUO YN-460s and LumoPro LP120s, which is exactly what Kurbster did. (Actually you can buy 66 YONGNUO YN-460s for the price of one Profoto 900796 Acute2R 2400 Value Pack).
Another thing about small strobes is the cost of accessories, Kurbster has it all from softboxes, through grids, snoots, beauty dishes and what not.
Challenge 2: Room Size / Mounting
One of the things that you need to be aware of in small rooms is how expensive space is. One or two compact light stands and it gets hard moving around. Kurbster has the perfect solution even on a small 14x9 feet room (aside from going with small strobes, of course. By modifying a set of shelving rails and brackets, Kurbster created wall attached mounting system. The nice thing is that the brackets acting as flash holders can be moved vertically.
Horizontal movement (and reflector holding) is handled via a reflector arm.
Challenge 3: Flooring
I know firsthand that flooring is a hard one to tackle. The existing floor can be ugly specially designed, add color cast and create a firm boundary on the wall/wall intersection. Kurbster had that covered by using two sheets of tileboard (A.K.A melamine outside of the US)
Challenge 4: Editing & Tethered Shooting
With a room that small you'd think that there will be no place for an editing station / tethered laptop. Surprise. There actually is, using the same stuff as the shelves mounting rails thingy there is a editing / boom box station on location. And looking at studio 1 pic, you can also spot the coffee holder bonus.
There are more good things to watch over at that set if you are not afraid of red. And also a whole set of "normal" light stands, boom holders and such, yet room is really well organized. And Red.
If you know of any more home studio Strobist hacks share 'em on the comments.