Tutorial: Make Your Own $30 Ringlight Using LED Light Strips & a Frisbee
In certain shooting situations, ringlights are great if you're looking for soft, flat lighting, but depending on the size/materials can be a little expensive. Luckily Film Riot comes to the rescue once again with a helpful DIY tutorial on how to build your own out of LED strips.
Host Ryan Connolly and the rest of the Film Riot crew used the $35 Mosaic Flexible Lights by Sylvania, two light strips which allow you to bend, twist, and shape them virtually any way you need. They can be attached to pretty much anything, too, thanks to their adhesive back, and have a number of different colors to work with.
Now, the trick here, though, is to attach these lights onto something round -- Connolly chose a frisbee, but you could use any number of things. (In this DIY ringlight tutorial by Taylord Films, a mixing bowl was used.) Be forewarned, though, that the lights on these strips are not incredibly strong. They look really good for stylized shots where your subject is close to the camera, but if you put any kind of distance between the two, the light quickly becomes just a fill (which might actually be good, too).
Light strips in general are just a good thing to have around anyway, since they're compact, easy to set up, and can go anywhere. If you need to splash a little light on your subjects shoulder, or add a little to the background of your shot, a light strip is a good option, especially if you're running low on time, space, and/or money.
Is it the perfect solution? No. Some of the colors give off an unsightly flicker, and you're not going to look at all professional using something like this (something to think about if you're working with clients, but not necessarily if you're working on your indie film). In fact, if you're paying $35 to make a ringlight, you might just want to fork over the $100+ for a real one (really nice ones will cost you upwards of about $1K to $1.5K), but, like I said before, these light strips can be used in more ways than one, and are great if you want to add some quick light without a whole lot of fuss.