technology

Light up your videos better with DIY YouTube Studio Lights!

  • Things you might need:

Aluminium sheet

Jigsaw

Deburring tool or a blade 

Rivet nuts

Rivet tools 

LED strips

Hot glue 

LED dimmers

PVC plastic sheet

Diffusion sheet

Covid, quarantine, lockdown, these are probably the most heard words in the past year and in an annoying way. While schools, colleges and offices were shut, a good amount of people started youtube channels to keep themselves busy, making and watching videos at home thrived for those isolated by covid and soon it became a trend. 

In doing so, the most important requirement is a place to film and some good lighting as it conveys that your videos have good production values and is worth watching, while lightning can be quite expensive we’re here to guide you through a very low-cost studio light DIY that can easily transform a boring old light setup. One of the coolest features of these lights is that they have three different colour temperatures which allow you to go from warm light all the way up to a cool white light, a good way to add dimensions to your videos. 

  • How to:

So let’s built a good lighting setup that consumes not too much time and not too much money. 

Let’s get right to it,

  • The very first task is to cut down a sheet of aluminium into strips (80cm x 14cm) that will be used as the main back panel support, we’re using aluminium as it’s not only easy to work with and cheap but also is also a good conductor of heat so it will keep the LED’s cooler by dispersing excess heat. To clean up the edges use a blade or preferably a deburring tool.
  • Once the strips are ready, stack them together and drill 4 holes along each edge, with that done take some rivet nuts, fit them into the end of a nut rivet tool and push through the holes we just made and the tool will easily clamp them to the sheet. This gives us plenty of mounting nuts to later be used to attach important structural strips. Before moving ahead you also need to drill 2 holes at the top and bottom of each sheet to later mount semi-circular support arches.  
  • Time to add the light source in the form of LED strips, in order to achieve the range of colour temperatures we need a set of 3 different colour temperature strips i.e 
    1. Daylight match (pure white)
    2. Warm white 
    3. Ice blue
  • Next, time to stick the LED strips to our aluminium sheets, make sure to add a layer of insulating electrical tape to the top and bottom to prevent short circuits when wired up. Stick the first one just off-centre and continue the same with the rest. The idea is to have 2 daylight match strips in the middle followed by 2 ice blue strips and then 2 warm white ones. Add dubs of hot glue to ensure they never peel off. 
  • Before wiring up, you need to make some semi-circular supports as shown below, made out of a sheet of low-density PVC plastic. First, mark out a 7cm semicircle and cut it out, drill out 6 holes and join the topmost two together as shown. Lastly, drill out 3 more holes to mount the components on. 
  • To wire up, you’ll need a set of 3 power sockets and screw them into the holes as so, and wire them up in parallel. Now measure out a length of red wired, expose sections of it and solder these to positive tabs of the power sockets, do the same to the black wire and hook it to the negative tab. This whole semicircle can now be attached to the aluminium sheet. 
  • Bend the negative wire into a circle and solder it to make it stiff and add it to the small screw on the sheet, this grounds the aluminium allowing us to use it as a negative conductor. The red wired can have certain sections exposed and soldered to the positive tabs on each of the LED strips. With power inputs now sorted, we need to work on controlling the colour temperature. 
  • Take 3 LED dimmers and mount them onto the other end of the semicircle and wire up to the LED strips, once done add some knobs then a 12-volt power adapter and plug it into any one of the 3 power sockets. The dimmer will now be able to control each of the colour sets individually.
  • If you notice these are difficult to look at directly and leave a strong afterglow in your eye. To prevent this, we need to diffuse it with a diffusion sheet which will spread the light over its entire surface making the magnitude easier on the eye.

Use some medium thickness acetate to support the flimsy and floppy diffusion sheet, to attach it in place use strips of low-density PVC plastic.

To finish this off, you can use PVC arches to clamp over the acetate and trim, down any over lapping acetate. 

There you have it, your very own low-cost DIY studio lights, mount them on a wall or a light stand or just use them as it is. 

Happy lighting to you and your videos!

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