DIY Strip Lights And Rim Lights

strip lights setup (by udijw)After reading David Hobby’s post about rim lights, I decided that I wanna have a go myself.

In spite of David Advice, I went with strip lights. Made from an electrical racer. I did push them a bit more then on that post though.

Since I was not using a real “store bought” strip light I wanted to see how far I could push the light down the racer in a way that still produces good light through the diffusion screen. (Or actually, up the racer, since my flash was set on the bottom).

I placed the flash on the bottom of the racer and popped a few shots. I got nice blow out up to about 70cm. So that was the length of the strip light. From here the build starts.

Materials

  • Corner Tie (this is not the specific one that I used, The one that I used has a cool slit in the middle that can be used for mounting it on a light stand – if you know where to get the ones with big holes, give a shout in the comments)
  • Pop Rivets & rivets gun
  • Electrical racer – I use a really big one (20x6x200) cut into 80-cm strips
  • Diffusion material – I used transparent polypropilen sheet, but silk and tracing paper can be used as well.
  • Rubber bands
  • Foam tape
  • Bungee cords

Build Steps

Step 1 – Measure & Cut

Measure 78cm of the electrical racer and mark it. Measure 80 cm of the racer and make a second mark. (this is where you’ll place your corner tie later on).

Last, make another mark at 69cm. (This is where you’ll drill holes for the bungee cord).

Now cut at the 80cm mark so you are left with a 80cm piece of racer.

The Racer (by udijw)

Step 2 – Attaching The Corner Tie

Place the corner tie on the middle of the 78cm mark and mark the location of holes.

Tie holes marked down with a permanent marker (by udijw)

remove the tie and drill 4 holes where the marking are. Replace the tie and use the pop river gun to pop, pop, pop the tie into place.

Tie is set down with pop rivets (by udijw)

Now place some foam tape over the rivets. This will accomplish two goals: 1. It will protect your flash from the rivet heads and 2. it will create friction for so the flash wont slide.

Foam tape protects the flash and adds friction (by udijw)

Step 3 – Attaching the Bungee Cord

drill two holes on the 69cm mark, about 2cm from the edge. The distance between the holes should be about as wide as your strobe.

holes drilled for bungee cord (by udijw)

Flip the racer on its back and thread a bungee cord through one of the holes. Thread the other hole and lock the bungee cord.

bungee cord goes through the holes (by udijw)

bungee cord, from the inside (by udijw)

Step 4 – Attaching Diffusion Material

This is ,by far, the easiest part, wrap the sheet of whatever you’re using over the racer and hold it down with two rubber bands – top and bottom. This is it, you’re done.

diffusion placed on strip (by udijw)

Step 5 – Mounting

This is where lots of DIY modifiers fail. At the mounting step. Luckily the tie that I used has a big hole in the middle that sits right on the stud of my lightstand, with the aid of the female stud that came with the swivel.

The tie fits right into the stud (by udijw)

Results

I was pretty much doing the same setup that David had in his post: grid for main, ringlight for fill (I wish I could tell you which ringlight but then I’ll have to kill ya’ all) and two strip lights at the back.

Here is the picture with strip light for rim (note the hair and shoulders)

strip light on (by udijw)

And here is the same picture only with strip light off

strip light off (by udijw)

The entire project took like one hour / $10 and was definitely worth the time and money invested.