March 27, 2017

Watch: Create Stunning DIY Lighting Effects Using a Box of Crackers

If you've got an empty box of Saltines, you can make some pro-level lighting effects.

It's the greatest time of year, you guys—flu season is almost over. If you managed to barricade your door well enough to avoid catching the demon bug from hell, 1.) congrats, and 2.) I want you on my zombie apocalypse team. But for the rest of us who puked our guts out or had to hold a child's face over a toilet bowl while they puked their guts out, we unwitting stockpiled on a really helpful DIY light modifier that will help you create some really cool lighting effects: Saltine boxes. In this video tutorial from the Academy of Photography, find out how to turn a regular ol' cracker box into a nifty modifier for your lighting setup.

Though the tutorial is geared toward photographers, this easily translates over to filmmakers. You won't need the external flash and trigger/receiver, but you will need a light that can fit inside of your cardboard cracker box.

The video shows you how to cut the box, but in case you can't view the video for some reason, I'll do my best at explaining it here. All you have to do is cut the tabs off of both openings of the box. You then cut those into thin, rectangular pieces, a few of which you will tape back onto one of the openings, leaving some space in between each. From there, you just slide your new cardboard cracker box modifier over your light and voilà, you've got a snazzy Venetian blind lighting effect.

Of course, you'll need a light that can work with this thing, but if you don't have one, you can certainly make adjustments to the build, like getting a bigger box and repeat the process. The box doesn't actually matter as much as the little rectangular pieces that go in front of your light.

What are some other DIY light modifiers we should try out? Let us know in the comments below!      

Your Comment


This was an amazing trick.
The height of creativity.
After-all creativity is what matters.

Thank you for this lesson.

March 28, 2017 at 5:03AM, Edited March 28, 5:03AM

Sameir Ali
Director of Photography

Very cool .... Nice content "No Film School" ...more please !

March 28, 2017 at 9:25AM


Thanks for sharing this! It's a really cool trick, especially for low-budget productions such as my own.

March 28, 2017 at 7:31PM

Gabriela Pometkova
DoP, Director