November 7, 2015

Turn 4 Old Laptop Screens into a 'Fake Window' Light Panel with this In-Depth Tutorial

4 Laptop Screens becomes DIY Softlight
Ever wondered what happens to old laptop screens? Well, they mostly get thrown away. Here's an inexpensive way to reuse those panels.

At roughly 5 watts per panel, the final product creates a large soft source, which has widely become the preference for digital cinematography (as cameras get more sensitive, we want larger lighting sources). This project only works with relatively new laptop screens that are built with LED backlights, and there's no telling what the CRI of the panels are as they likely differ between laptop manufacturers. The final product is quite impressive though, and could have a number of useful applications for film. The thin profile of the light is its best asset, allowing soft daylight in areas that are normally too small to have lights. The sheer thinness of the light reminds me of a DIY version of the new Westcott Flex light (without the flexibility, of course).

If you find yourself with some extra time and the thirst for a DIY experiment (or if you're just deprived of a window in your room), this might be something for you. And even if this whole operation seems too complicated to actually justify the time to build, it's still an informative video about DIY electronics and electricity and well worth the watch.     

Your Comment

5 Comments

Great idea! But aren't those panels a bit big to have come from laptops?

November 7, 2015 at 4:37PM

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Ian Nicholson
Head Tutor at Sydney Short Film School
131

Nope! I believe those are just standard 17" LED screens!

November 9, 2015 at 1:11AM

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Thomas Walker
PESH Sports Photographer
86

I think it would be quicker and easier to knock a new window through the wall...

November 9, 2015 at 2:50AM, Edited November 9, 2:50AM

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Jon Mills
Filmmaker
519

Wow - you'd have thought that some company out there would have seen the potential in lights like this and made cheap, sturdy, colour balanced, powerful and controllable light panels...

Ah well, just a pipe dream! Until then I'll keep sticky-taping laptop screens together!

November 9, 2015 at 4:44AM

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Alex Richardson
Director
3380

What a idea! This is what using creativity to solve a problem brings you!

November 12, 2015 at 12:54PM

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T. Huff
Director, screenwriter
140