DIY 3 Point Lighting For $26!

DIY photo/video gear projects can almost always save you a few bucks if you have the skills and time to make it. But there are a few DIY gems out there that can save you hundreds of dollars, if not more. One of these gems is stillmotion's tutorial on 3 point lighting for video interviews made from a whopping total of $26! They did a great job of pinching every penny while still yielding a great DIY product. If you end up trying this (or variations of it) we'd love to see your outcome in the comments below. Enjoy!
via stillmotion

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Randy Curtis jr's picture

where the link to the website?

David Leyland's picture

I cant help thinking you are being somewhat dangerous here. Not only is it not made clear that the basket is metal and if someone uses a plastic version it could easily melt. You have a nylon net material very close to a high temperature light again fire risk. If they use a metal basket incorrectly there is a possible electrical issue.
Good ideas but rather you than me!! You may be sensible with the materials used but some people aren't!

Eric Gould's picture

Excellent make-up job on the interviewee example.  

Edward S. DeLorme's picture

IDK...better to go and find some funding to buy softbox, ect...

brianhirschy's picture

What about bouncing the basket - ie, light shooting into it like a bounce umbrella- and THEN diffuse it?

The work light might be to large and cause a weird blackout/shadow area, I guess?

Just a thought.  Really good stuff, love the 'lowest we can go' concept.


Shawna Swaim's picture

I used that shop light and a smaller single bar hanging shop light and got the below results.  I'm out $18.97

Dan McDevitt's picture

No photo of your $18.97 shop light setup?

Dragan Jereminov's picture

cmon this is stupid... you can by cheap light stand for 10$ and a cheap umbrella for 10-15$ and go on a shoot like a pro not with this... search YT for much better DIYs

Spy Black's picture

What's the point in using a tungsten setup? Standard fluorescents will work just fine for setups like that, and for less than $50 you can get a 2-light setup with stands, fixtures, bulbs and umbrellas that will look professional to your interviewee. Here is an example from Amazon:

Even if you don't want to spring for even that much money (which you shouldn't really be trying to do anything in this business in the first place anyway) a couple of fluorescent lights in standard clamp-style lamp sockets will probaly run you less that, and be a hell of a lot safer than that dangerous to make and use setup. Fluorescents already be soft lighting and simple enough to further diffuse if needed.

Jay Lessard's picture

I'm not sure if the point of this video is to say "look what you can do for cheap, go do this with your clients." I feel it's more of a fun experiment to see how cheap they can make a decent light set up. Some things are practical, some things you just do for fun. I put this on the for fun side of the spectrum.

Lil'J's picture

Jay, you're right on with your comment. We challenged ourself to see how good we could make an interview look with just how little. Sure we could but a cheap light stand and umbrella but where is the excitement or innovation in that? 

Making a lighting setup out of common items was creatively challenging and we were so pumped about the results. Are we suggesting you build this for $26 and bring it on a shoot? No, not quite. If it does however push you to get over functional fixedness and see new uses for common items OR put more confidence back in the storyteller versus the tools than we've done our job.

Thanks for sharing and commenting.


Alan Kelly's picture

HI, nice ideas for understanding the nature of light requirements for an interview but you are directing your audience to create something with high potential hazard. Trapping the rough cut metal laundry basket on the inside of a 250W  light using the hinged seal has high potential for electric shock. If the rough cut has a dangling thread of metal it could touch the live contacts. Also at 250W the nylon wrap could melt when used indoors and cause a fire. Good intentions but this should come with some serious health warnings. This is the reason we pay for professional gear. Be creative but be safe.