When you’re working on building up your collection of filmmaking equipment, it can be tempting to spend a lot on high-end equipment. However, while you’re still getting your career off the ground, you might not have the kind of money you want to invest. From stands to flags, lighting equipment can especially add up. Rather than shelling out for expensive equipment early on, you can keep yourself on a budget with DIY equipment.
Here are a few easy ways to DIY lighting equipment using things you already have.
1. Fashion flags out of blankets or heavy fabric.
In film lighting, flags are used to cut or block light. They might be draped over windows or attached to frames in front of lamps. They’re usually made of thick, solid black material so that no light can get through.
Rather than purchase flags, you can use thick blankets or heavy fabric you already have. Blackout curtains, if you have them, are especially useful. Use clothespins, clotheslines, chairs, etc. to make your own frames to hold up the blankets as well. Follow the patterns in this video.
2. Use a cheap poster board as a bounce board.
Bounce boards are used to redirect light. The smooth, light-colored surfaces reflect light, “bouncing” it back onto your subject. They can be attached to frames or simply held in place. Oftentimes, they’re used in place of a fill light.
A poster board, like you might have used for a science fair project in school, can work in place of a bounce board. Choose a white poster board so it mimics the surface of a professional-grade bounce board. To make a sturdier version, follow the tutorial below.
3. Build a lighting kit out of lamps and lighting fixtures you already own.
Your collection of lights is called your lighting kit. While you might not own a lot of filming lights yet, you probably have a few lamps and string lights on hand. Even lanterns can be useful. With the right instructions and a little bit of effort, you can use those lights to build your own lighting kit.
First, assess your needs and decide what you want in your lighting kit. Then, search for tutorials based on what you have on hand and your skill level. If you aren’t sure where to begin, start with tutorials that are more broad, such as this one.
Filming equipment like lights and flags can start to add up. To stay on a budget, DIY what you can using what you already have at home.
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Kristen Harris enjoys listening to a wide range of music, from Taylor Swift to, on occasion, Celtic instrumental. She also spends her time writing, reading, and baking.