September 14, 2014

Make Your Own DIY Light Bar for Just $60

If you're looking to save a little bit of money on lighting and don't mind taking on a bit of a project, you can build a mountable DIY light bar using a vanity light fixture and wall plate for just $60. Here's Film Riot's always informative and hilarious Ryan Connolly to walk you through each step.

Stuff You'll Need

There are a bunch of great things about this light. First of all, it offers quite a bit of illumination. You can see in the video just how much the 8 lights can affect a scene, spreading over a rather large area. Furthermore, it's pretty versatile; you can switch out the bulbs to provide whatever your scene calls for (as long as your bulb fits the fixture), or take out bulbs altogether to reduce intensity. Thanks to the wall plate, you can mount it onto a C-stand. For more control, as Connolly mentions, you can outfit it with a dimmer, as well.

Probably one of the main things to keep an eye on when using this light is how it's casting shadows. Every light you use to light a subject is, for all intents and purposes, going to create a shadow, so if you're using 8, know that you'll be casting 8 of them. 

It should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway, safety is of the utmost importance. If you're not entirely comfortable working with wires and cords -- things that if mishandled could eventually end up shocking you or someone else -- then you might want to skip this tutorial.     

Your Comment

7 Comments

Really admire the DIY attitude - and the results - but I'd recommend doing something more secure than simply twisting wires together and securing with a wire connector and some tape. This is a mains power setup, and that seems a little dodgy to me... I've not got much experience with DIY lighting setups, but I think you're probably better off soldering and using some heat-shrink at the very least.

September 14, 2014 at 8:06AM

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Alex Richardson
Director
3340

It should be fine, I think. Wire connectors are what are tying off most of the exposed wires in a person's house at any given time. Then again, I'm not an electrician! :)

September 14, 2014 at 9:12AM

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Kevin Erhard
Content Strategy
234

I am no electrician, though I have worked as an electrician's mate for about a year, and wired several houses (both old an new builds). What is done in this project is completely fine. If you were to pay an electrician to install this light into your house they probably wouldn't even wrap it with tape. We pretty much never solder and only rarely use heat shrink tubes. You just need to make sure that the stress reliever (the thing he calls a combination connector) is securely in place and tight enough to keep the wire from sliding around, after all that is why it is there. The metal backing seemed a little flimsy and it might be worth strengthening that part so it holds up the set life better, but other wise the electrical looks solid.

September 14, 2014 at 4:45PM

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Daniel Tate
Camera Assistant/ Graphic Artist
74

Yeah just to back up what others are saying, you will find two wires twisted together inside a wire nut (no tape at all) inside almost every lighting fixture, ceiling fan, or other electrical appliance installed in almost any modern building anywhere in the world.

If the joint were to be subjected to constant motion and strain then yeah, you'd want a proper inline connection like solder and heat shrink, but if you're just talking about conducting power and the joint is fixed to something rigid, you're fine.

September 15, 2014 at 3:19PM

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Excellent Ryan and rest of the gang. You keep tremendous production values all the way through your tutorials...I'm sure your attention to detail has and will continue to pay off for you.
Thank you for your work, it's very valuable to the film making community!

September 14, 2014 at 8:38AM

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Dave Esposito
Film maker - owner Agricola Media
88

With the standard bulbs in the bar, how many amps you pulling? Also, is the metal you are screwing the baby plate to thick enough to support the weight of the light bar?

September 14, 2014 at 12:39PM

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Yes this looks not very save. but i really like the DIY attitude.
i just build this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOSA4BfKvVU

somhow it feel really rewarding doing stuff all by yourself.

best wishes
maria

September 18, 2014 at 2:22PM, Edited September 18, 2:22PM

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maerz.maria
SFX
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