How to make a quality DIY video light using LED strips and a cake pan for only $40

May 7, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

How to make a quality DIY video light using LED strips and a cake pan for only $40

May 7, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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There are many continuous light options out there these days for video that produce a fantastic quality of light. One such light that’s become very popular is the Aputure Light Storm COB 120D. But at $500, it’s not really an option for many newer filmmakers.

In this video, filmmaker Daniel Shiffer looks at making a $40 DIY alternative. For this project, Daniel wanted something large, circular and reflective, so he used  a 14″ cake pan along with some flexible LED strips, and a piece of diffusion material to produce some great results.

The materials list for this DIY light is short but important.

You want a cake pan that’s large enough to give you a nice soft light source, and you want daylight balanced LEDs – not bicolour, warm white or RGB. Make sure it actually says “Daylight” on the packaging. The CRI won’t be as high as more expensive professional systems, but it will give you something closely resembling daylight and the most amount of power.

Constructing the light is fairly simple, with the LED strips being laid out around the wall of the cake pan. This allows the light to bounce around the inside of the cake pan before coming out of the diffusion material on the front. This is why a silver cake pan is needed. You want something highly reflective to let that light bounce before coming out of the front.

So, it might not be quite as versatile as an Aputure 120D, Spekular, or other professional LED lights that are out there, but it sure looks good for $40 and a bit of your time.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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4 responses to “How to make a quality DIY video light using LED strips and a cake pan for only $40”

  1. Mike Hebdon Avatar
    Mike Hebdon

    Anyone’s eye drawn to the nipple lamp in the background?

    1. Da MAn Avatar
      Da MAn

      so it is not just me.

  2. Donald Trump Avatar
    Donald Trump

    I sent you don’t care about CRI…

  3. Carleton Foxx Avatar
    Carleton Foxx

    It makes skin look gray but it would be perfect to light objects in the background or to aim at the ceiling to help with the overall ambient level.
    If you were good with gels, you could probably get it pretty close to being usable on people.