April 26, 2018

Watch: How to Turn an Ordinary Lamp into a Practical LED Light

With just a few materials you can turn your desk lamp into a cool, dimmable, high CRI practical.

For filmmakers, tiny LEDs are like stamps, coins, and baseball cards: they're so damn collectible. If you're like me and have a drawer full of them just begging to be used in ways that big, hot, and heavy fixtures can't, you might be in need of some ideas on how to put them to good use on your film set. In this video, Caleb Pike of DSLR Video Shooter shows you a super easy, cheap, and clever way to turn an ordinary desk lamp into a powerful practical by replacing household light bulbs with tiny LED lights. Check it out below:

So, what's the big deal? Why would anyone want to rig an LED light inside a lamp that already has a friggin' bulb in it? Well, LEDs offer a bunch of benefits that most everyday incandescent bulbs don't. They're cool to the touch, they're easily dimmable, flicker-free, battery-powered, and usually have a pretty descent CRI. Note that incandescent bulbs also have a high CRI, close to 100 in most cases, but because they are coated with neodymium to create a more daylight-balanced color temperature, they end up having a 90 or less CRI value—so, probably not a good option for rendering accurate colors.

If you want to give Pike's DIY LED lamp a try, you're going to need three things:

  • A small LED light
  • Bulb adapter
  • Velcro tape

There are tons of little LEDs out there that you can use to do the job and they range from super inexpensive to moderately inexpensive. The $45 Aputure Amaran M9 is super popular among indie filmmakers, but Yongnuo and Vivitar also make some pretty powerful and inexpensive pocket-size LEDs that you might want to take a look at, too.

What are your favorite tiny LED lights? Let us know down in the comments.     

Your Comment

3 Comments

"incandescent bulbs also have a high CRI, close to 100 in most cases, but because they are coated with neodymium to create a more daylight-balanced color temperature, they end up having a 90 or less CRI value"

This statement seems to contradict itself.

April 28, 2018 at 10:39AM

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Richard Krall
richardkrall.com
1761

Or you could just put an LED E26 bulb with high CRI from B&H in your lamp and achieve the same thing...

April 28, 2018 at 11:51PM, Edited April 28, 11:51PM

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Matthias Claflin
Videographer
496

Interesting.
Thanks.

April 29, 2018 at 11:42AM

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Sameir Ali
Director of Photography
737