August 16, 2018

Learn How to Build a DIY Ring Light like Roger Deakins

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.      

Your Comment


ok .. I'm a DYI person ...BUT ... huge, hard to transport, going to create a lot of heat ... and where are you going to plug that in? ... 25 x 60 = 1500 watts ... standard outlets are 600 watt max ...but then again if you are on a professional movie set ... this would probably not be a problem

August 17, 2018 at 10:03AM


i'm thinking they could be replaced with phillips hue bulbs and have an rgb ring light with around 250 watts output.

August 17, 2018 at 11:02AM

Arturo Chu

Standard outlets in houses are 15A or 20A, 1500 watts would work just fine in almost any house. Also you don't have to build a circle. If you aren't using it for an eyelight, then 4 4ft light strips strips of plywood that can be put together to creat a 4x4 square would travel easily and produce the same exact quality of light.

August 17, 2018 at 12:25PM

Indie Guy

I've always plugged 1k lights into household electric with no problems. Just have to make sure they're on different circuits if you're using multiples, but it works.

Having said that, if someone makes a commercial version of this that is a lot more practical, it may be worth it just to be able to transport the damn thing...

August 17, 2018 at 3:00PM, Edited August 17, 3:01PM

Fahnon Bennett

August 19, 2018 at 2:44AM, Edited August 19, 2:44AM


No mobdro.
Use redbox tv

October 9, 2018 at 6:19AM


get RedBox TV APK without root your device

September 14, 2018 at 7:27AM


Doing it yourself is the only way to go in the beginning. Learn what works and what doesn't work. Hands on, mistakes, no-books--when you see magic come alive, that's what connects with the memory and the installation of repeat with no problems.

September 16, 2018 at 10:47PM, Edited September 16, 10:47PM

Kevin Kent

September 17, 2018 at 5:54AM