One of Roger Deakins' secret cinematographic weapons is a ring light that you can actually build yourself.
Becoming a world-class cinematographer like Oscar winner Roger Deakins doesn't happen overnight. (Obviously.) It not only takes decades of experience and experimentation but also a lifelong love of and openness to learning new things about your craft. Thankfully, Deakins is not shy about sharing his wealth of knowledge, and one thing he often talks about when describing his gear is a lighting tool that can really help you up your game. In this video, Todd Blankenship and Logan Baker of Shutterstock show you how to build one. Behold, the Roger Deakins ring light.
Ring lights are great when you want to create a nice, soft light to a scene, and the size of this thing will ensure that it not only covers plenty of area but that the light is also and soft as possible. (The bigger the ring, the softer the light.) This build will fit roughly 25 tungsten bulbs, so, yeah, it'll be quite large.
You will need to do a bit of wiring, so if you're not very confident around electrical stuff, you might want to pass on this build. However, Blankenship and Baker do a great job of walking you through the process step by step.
Here are the supplies you'll need:
- 4’x4′ square of plywood (1)
- 60-watt tungsten bulbs (2 boxes)
- Lamp holders/sockets (25)
- Extension cord or power tool cord replacement kit
- Black lamp cord (35")
- 3/4″ screws
All in all, the Roger Deakins ring light will cost around $100 to $120 to build. Not too shabby for a lighting unit that can produce some stunningly soft light.
Roger Deakins is a master of his craft, which means all filmmakers and cinematographers of all experience levels would be wise to glean as much information from him as they possibly can. This is actually a lot easier than you might think, considering the fact that he has a super popular website where he answers forum questions about everything from lighting techniques to composition. So, if you want to really learn about cinematography, go straight to the source of Oscar-caliber advice.