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Friday, June 29, 2012

Creative Lighting on a Budget

Creative Lighting on a Budget

Yes, the economy seems to be looking up a little more these days, but I think most of us are still trying to keep our non-essential spending to a minimum, and certainly if you’re trying to save money, purchasing expensive studio lights is nowhere close to being on the priority list.

Still, it would still be cool to experiment with different lighting set ups for interviews and photography purposes, right?

Do it! Never let a lack of money keep you from being creative. A lack of money forces you to be more creative, because you can't just throw cash to get the most expensive lighting set up and be done with it. You have to work harder to work around the issue of a low budget, but it can be done.

We at Campbellcameras.com offer a budget-friendly lighting setups and we will show you how to use household products and lights that you already have!

Here are a couple of our budget-friendly lighting equipment:

On-camera lighting:
The best bang for your buck is the Bescor LED-70 Dimmable 70W light. This will give you the most natural light and can reach up to 30ft. You can also use this light when filming on sunny days by dimming it down and placing it where it will shine light on the shadows of the hunter (for example if he/she is wearing a hat, there will be dark shadows on their face).


Studio Lighting:
Joby offers small lights on their famous Gorillapod legs that can be used in studio lighting to create different effects (shown below) and they are very budget friendly at $24.80 and $39!
The first is the Joby GorillaTorch Blade and the second is the Joby GorillaTorch Flare.

Another bang for your buck for studio lighting is the Bescor LED-95WK dual studio lights for only $229.95.

Reflectors are a budget-friendly tool that you can use when you want to use the natural light (sun or other lights) to create different lighting effects. Reflectors are ranging in sizes from 22-42" and include a collapsable white, gold and silver reflector in one.

Here are some other ideas to use for a budget-friendly lighting set ups:
Hot Lights:
If you walk into any hardware store chains (Lowes, Home Depot, etc.) then you will no doubt have noticed the inexpensive bright yellow 500watt high-power halogen lights designed for construction workers that seem to be perpetually "on special". They usually come in two designs- as a single light in a metal enclosure and small base designed to sit on a table or shelf, or as a free-standing pair of lights on top of an adjustable tripod designed to be raised or lowered. The tripod lights are probably going to be the most useful to you and they cost around $45. But, the single lights are also so cheap (about US$18) that it is a shame not to have one of those up your sleeve as well.

There is one big problem with these lights, however – they are halogen tungsten lights. The light they throw is very yellow and usually not desirable for color photography or videography. If you shoot in Black and White then you can get away with it, but if you shoot colour and especially if you want to mix this light with other light sources such as daylight or flash, then we need to do something about it.

Luckily the solution is just as easy. There are replacement globes available for these lights that are tinted blue to cancel out the warm colour temperature of the light. We also did a blog on how to transform one of these lights yourself- How To Modify A Construction Work Light.

The Campbell Outdoor Challenge has used these construction lights to create spotlight effects used on their show as shown above.

Another creative option is using a lot of the Joby GorillaTorch Flares ($24 each) to create a multiple spotlight effect as seen in this photograph:

China Lanterns are great. Hollywood videographers use these a lot to create a soft light. They are paper material which can be expanded into a ball (and now different shapes like squares, rectangles and ovals). They come with a wire support for the bulb. You need to get a socket and cable and they are usually sold in the same place you find the lanterns. You can put a regular 200 watt bulb inside and they make a great softlight for close-ups. If the lantern’s big enough, you can use two 200 watt bulbs in and they can light a small room with them. Be careful with them because they’re made of paper and can catch on fire. They run between $3 - $7 depending on size. You can find them at Target, Ikea and Pier One Imports, to name a few.

If you’re handy, you can pick up a socket and some zip cord, otherwise known as household extension cord, and make your own cord for the china lantern. You can even use different color China Lanterns to create a more dramatic effect (red).

These are just a few suggestions for a budget-friendly lighting set up! Get out there and test your creative ideas and share them here or on our Facebook Page! We would love to hear how you create your own lighting setups!
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