April 27, 2014

Learn How to Make a DIY $30 LED Ring Light Using Light Strips & a Mixing Bowl

DIY Ring LightOne of the biggest components that contributes to making a film look cinematic isn't just a great camera and lenses -- it's lighting. Many times, however, lighting kits are the pieces of gear that are rented thanks in part to their large, awkward storage requirements, as well as their high price tag. But, having lights available whenever you need them can save money and headaches in the long run, and what better way to stockpile lights than through dirt cheap, DIY builds! Continue on for a handy tutorial on how to build a $30 ring light.

This tutorial comes from Taylord Films. According to the video's description, here's what you'll need to follow along:

  • 1 x 20 quart stainless steel mixing bowl
  • 2 x 3528 600 LED light strips
  • 1 x 1/2"- 1 1/12" bolt
  • 1 x 2.1mm x 5.5mm Female DC Power Plug-in Adapter
  • 1 x 100-240V To DC 12V 2A Power Supply Converter Adapter

The key item here is definitely the LED light strips. There are many different kinds out there, including ones with different lengths, strengths, and light temperatures. So, be sure to buy the one that will fit with your project. I found a few on Amazon that were around $30, but eBay has several that are half the price (though I wasn't able to find any for as low as $7).

Check out the tutorial below:

Granted, any DIY piece of gear you build may not be "professional-looking" enough for commercial work, but for personal/smaller projects, it might just be the super low-cost lighting solution that you're looking for. In any case, it's cheap enough to just try it out. Buy the tools, put it all together, and see if it works for you!

What do you think of this tutorial? Do you think this DIY trick would do the job on smaller productions, or your personal projects? What are some possible helpful alternatives to this build? Let us know in the comments below.

[via Taylord Films]

Your Comment

14 Comments

Meh. I've done this before and the refresh rate of the LEDs is too insane to shoot with. Makes a ton of gross flicker with anything without a global shutter.

April 27, 2014 at 2:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Brian

The problem would be with your power supply, not the LEDs.

LEDs do not flicker if they are fed a smooth, steady current. Try switching to a DC power source for a better output.

April 27, 2014 at 5:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Sorry, but it looks like crap.

April 27, 2014 at 2:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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ronn

Note the 2 colors of light on her face.

April 27, 2014 at 3:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Larouix

Tried this a while back. It works for specific look. The throw isn't that much.

April 27, 2014 at 4:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ron

April 27, 2014 at 4:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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If the lighting of their video is any indicator...I'll pass.

April 27, 2014 at 5:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Joseph Moore

Isn't the CRI of cheap LEDs kind of sucky? I just found this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tISsunRpf0

April 27, 2014 at 7:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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earnestreply

LED CRI is a tricky subject. Lot's of led's on the market. Some good some bad. Careful of banding. Type of driver, etc. New products with high cri arriving. CRI >80, CRI >90 exist. Have to be careful as to how they have tested. Some new professional models are way too expensive. Work lights in Europe with high cri and made virtually indestructible on the market. IN the next while, the price and quality of LED will come done in price.

April 27, 2014 at 8:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ron

CRI is always a tricky subject, not only with LEDs!

I have recently seen Tecpro LED panel fixtures with special LEDs by Dedo Weigert lighting - they claim to have 98 CRI. But as you can imagine, they are pretty expensive.

May 2, 2014 at 12:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Heiko

Sorry, it was CRI 95, not 98...

The model is called Tecpro FELLONI dedocolor DCOL-BI50HO

May 2, 2014 at 12:14AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Heiko

CRI does not tell you anything relative to the sensor you are using and how it "sees" color. CRI was intended as a marketing tool for lamp manufacturers. As a "rule of thumb" CRI is helpful as a basis for comparing how much effort went into trying to get a fuller visible spectrum output for a particular light, but with LEDs and electronic sensors the issues of getting color right have changed to something like shooting a moving target from a running horse. Those who own camera/lighting "packages" will have figured out how their lights behave with their camera(s), but a different manufacturer or an older light or a number of other typical variables can catch you off guard and wreck your day. I see so much over saturated LED stuff and whacky flesh tones I suspect that todays audiences are less inclined to care about color accuracy than old guys like me. If you've been fed cereal and fast food all your life you won't likely appreciate the subtle nuances of haute cuisine. I've got a trade magazine for lighting in front of me and the cover photo is a bleeding testament to why shooting live events will now always require heavy compromises on either the visual side or the camera side. My advice. . . with LED's testing is very important, so schedule the time and resources or be prepared to crash land on the seat you're flying by.

May 7, 2014 at 9:43AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Russell Steen

We've got some of the best LED strips on the market. Including LED strips being used by international airports and even NASA.

We've been using our Ultrabright High CRI strip lights to create custom projects for photographers and film makers. I recommend you guys visit our site and contact me if you have any questions.

Thanks

August 18, 2014 at 2:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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They've made better lights since. That video was their first foray into making lights about 3 years ago. They make some interesting films.

March 9, 2017 at 8:33AM, Edited March 9, 8:33AM

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Chris Hackett
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