Budget Light Kit

After several videos concerning lighting, I thought I would share how I keep everything together in a basic light kit. This video is pretty simple and plays like a "greatest hits" compilation with lots of annotated links to previous videos. There is new stuff as well, especially where lighting accessories are concerned.

I usually light my kitchen table with the two 500w halogen work lights, featured at the bottom of my box here. A friend lent me some lights and I ended up using a Lowel Omni and Lowel Tota, both bounced off of my ceiling, just like my frugal setup. Interestingly, the prosumer Lowels ran hotter than my modified work lights. I'm not sure of the exact temperature, but I could literally feel the difference. I think I'll do a temperature test while I still have the Lowel kit.

I also must give credit to those who inspired me for my own kit over the past year. Check out Walter Graff's "Building a Compact Lighting Kit" and Scott Spears' "Low Budget Lighting". Both of these articles are excellent and pointed me in the direction that I am currently following.


Mike Parker said…
Thanks for the look at your light kit, Scott! I've been looking for a post just like this one.
I've come to the conclusion that it isn't so much the light but your ability to shape and control it that contents the most. Do you have any tips for DIY barn doors, softboxes,snoots, etc?
Scott Eggleston said…
Mike, you're welcome!

Several people have requested work light barn doors, but I abandoned the project when I found my preference was to bounce that specific light source rather than try to shape it.

I've never tried a snoot, but I think the best DIY "softbox" is a big, round paper lantern (IKEA, $6).
Anonymous said…
How much does all of this cost?
Scott Eggleston said…
If I had to guess, I'd probably say $200. I built this kit over time, so the cost was incremental.
umaid said…
thank you so much for sharing all of this valuable information. Your a star!!!!!
Unknown said…
nice, helping me a lot...

Gaff's kit in today's pricing (new): $6,750

(he didn't mention the speed ring seen in photo + there was some grip items I couldn't identify / link with list)
DIYFilmSchool.net said…
This is a really solid DIY kit. I would imagine the worklights to be the most expensive thing in your kit. And it's good to see you haven't excluded the necessity of accessories like the volt tester and cube taps.

One question, though: I noticed the wattage of your bulbs is rather low (aside from the halogen spotlights); have you been able to successfully light sets aside from your Frugal Filmmaker set with practicals? In my experience, low wattage bulbs don't provide enough light output.

Also, I read somewhere long ago that the size of a clamp light's hood is the deciding factor to how strong a light to use (and how strong a light can be used). Do you find that true?
Unknown said…

Penny Lane 3 hours ago

Amazing tips!

I have a $350 - $500 budget for lighting. Would you suggest a 3 light kit with soft boxes for interviewing purposes? I have been shopping at B & H and came across an Impact Soft and Natural 4 Socket 3 Light Kit. Would you recommend the purchase for interview lighting? Any help is much appreciated!!