Video: This Might Be One of the Best Lighting Kits $500 Can Buy

Lighting equipment is expensive, but there are ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality.

Getting your hands on a decent lighting kit can be difficult for a budget filmmaker. Buying is oftentimes out of the question and rental costs (if you have a rental house in your town) can still be more expensive than you'd like. So for a lot of us, putting together a kit with a hodgepodge of different lights, modifiers, and stands is the answer, but the question still remains: what should I include in my budget-friendly lighting kit? In this video, Caleb Pike of DSLR Video Shooter offers up his response; a high-quality, low-budget lighting kit that you can buy for $500.

Pike's kit includes:

  • Aputure Amaran HR672S LED Spot Light Kit: $278
  • (2) Aputure Amaran H198 LED Light: $58/each
  • (2) Battery Kit: $34/each
  • (3) Light Stand Kit: $38/each
  • Reflector + Reflector Holder Kit: $36
  • Diffusion: $10

All of this comes out to be around $620, but it all depends on where and when you buy, as well as what you already have. When it comes to diffusion, you can save a lot of money by getting creative. Use bed sheets, T-shirts, or shower curtain liners for free diffusion.

The most important pieces in your kit are obviously going to be the lights themselves, so if you don't know much about them, it might be best to go with Pike's recommendations. However, if you do want to save a little bit more money on those units, just make sure to get lights that have a high enough CRI that you don't have to worry about having to spend lots of extra time (and money) in post correcting the color on your footage.

What are some other budget-friendly units that you could include in this inexpensive lighting kit? Let us know in the comments below.     

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Your Comment


If you close your eyes and listen, dude sounds just like Chris Pratt.
Nice $500 kit by the way, pretty handy.

February 21, 2017 at 9:57PM

Scott Wild

Just got three of these Yongnuo YN1200 5500Ks via @AmazonUK

February 22, 2017 at 1:47AM


Are they worth purchasing? I have one of the Yonguo YN360 lights and it puts out a good amount of light. I have a couple Dracast silver series 500 lights. They are fine but I could use a bigger light.

February 22, 2017 at 7:40AM


I think the YN1200s must be the cheapest LED brightness per £££ available right now, and they CLAIM to be 95+ CRI, no idea how I would know otherwise though. I've got the YN360 too, and love it, plus the Yongnuo iPad apps are really useful. I've also got some YN900s and while the 1200s are obviously brighter, there are some downsides: the noisy fan is on constantly (going to swap them out for some quiet fans) and the 1200s require FOUR batteries to run at full power - unlike the 900s which run fine on a single battery. This makes the 1200s pretty heavy as I have 7900mAh packs.

February 23, 2017 at 12:34PM


Great Post! Thanks for sharing.

February 22, 2017 at 6:18AM


If only I had the scratch to buy all this great gear, sweet packaging/portabiity. The presenter is clear and concise with no embololalia which is hard to come by these days . . . look forward to his reviews.

February 22, 2017 at 10:18AM


Buy things one at a time and not all at once and buy what you use on a regular basis and rent what you don't.

I always tell people you really can do a lot with 1 light, reflectors and cheap foam core. If not the foam core you can buy white poster board and that works great too. The poster board especially works great for product shots because you can tear it and make small bounce points where you want more light.

February 22, 2017 at 12:51PM

Joseph Lindsay
Director of Photography/Motion Designer

It seems like you purchase the daylight version Aputure Amaran H198 but there is also a bi-color option. Can you confirm that is the daylight version and not bi-color?

February 22, 2017 at 5:11PM


Yes,it's the daylight version. You can tell because it comes with the orange tungsten filter.

February 23, 2017 at 1:22PM

Guido Gautsch
Education Person

The best commercial Aputure could buy for $500...

February 24, 2017 at 10:27AM

Henrik Prinz

Going to your local home depot and getting 3 LED lights, a stand, and a case plus a couple bed sheets would be about $200 - $250.

July 13, 2018 at 10:39AM, Edited July 13, 10:39AM

Wyatt Boggs
Composer, Director, Writer, and Producer