Glamor Shots: DIY Ring Light - Filmmaking & Cinematography Tutorial 8

Uploaded by polcan99 on 21.04.2010

Hey. Welcome to another filmmaking tutorial. My name is Tom Antos and today we’re going
to talk about the use of ring lights in music videos and commercials.
More specifically, we’re going to be working on a performance shot from a music video.
We’re going to go from what you see here...
To this.
This is a close-up for a performance shot that I planned to edit and cut to,
obviously, to other shots. But, before I start talking about this actual set-up
- because it is pretty simple. Literally, I’m using only three lights.
I want to talk to you about the actual ring lights. What is a ring light?
Well, a ring light is any type of a light that you can wrap-around in a circle
around your camera’s lens. So that, this way it almost looks you have
a very uniform light coming straight from the camera’s point of view.
And what that creates is, it creates very even shadows everywhere on the face.
It almost creates this kind of washed-out look. And another thing that it does, it adds
these very unique, specific reflections in the eyes, lips or any reflective surfaces.
It adds this kind of a glamor look. Ring lights are actually used a lot in fashion photography
and they’re used in music videos and commercials.
Here is an example of a ring light. Basically, this one is actually a set of
twelve light bulbs that are arranged in a perfect circle.
And then, we basically put the camera right in the middle of it and point it at our subject.
Now, when it actually comes to purchasing or renting a ring light, it can be problematic at times,
simply because they’re not that popular. So, they’re not that easy to find out there.
There is a lot more ring lights designed for
still flash photography than there are for music videos.
So, what a lot of times ends up happening is, cinematographers who work on music videos,
they will basically build their own ring lights. The one that I’m using in this example,
I think it cost me around $50-60. It can be built out of basic things that
you can buy at WalMart or any hardware store. And I’m actually going to show you
at the end of this tutorial, I’ll show you how I built my ring light
so that, in case you wanted to do it, you can build it and start getting the same kind of results.
When it comes to the actual set-up for this shot
it is very basic. I point the camera straight-forward at the subject.
And I also put the ring light around the lens.
I put it a little bit in front of the camera, but it is exactly from the same point of view
as the camera. And I’m actually shooting through the hole
in the ring light. And then I turn on the ring light up here.
I adjust the exposure. I darken it a little bit.
And it already looks pretty pleasing, but then I have one of the assistants there
turn on a back light, there on the left side. And then, I have him go and turn on
another back light there on the right side. The two back lights have been gelled with
this slight blue gel, just to give it a different temperature... a very distinctive kind of look.
And the ring light itself is tungsten,
so it’s a very warm light, which looks good on these kinds of skin tones.
And that’s pretty much it for the set-up. This is how it looks.
And then... then you can do a little of color correction, just to adjust the colors to exactly
how you want them to be. Even though, I think, it already looks pretty good.
So, what exactly do you need to build a ring light?
Well, I built my ring light out of these items:
First I got a 4 by 2 feet piece of wood. It was about half an inch thick.
That cost around $8. Then I got twelve light bulbs.
Each one of them was 40W, which, altogether, the ring light gives you the output of 480W.
And that will cost you around $20, for those kind of light bulbs.
Then, I bought twelve light bulb sockets, just white, plastic, simple light bulb sockets.
Those are about a $1.50 each. Then, I bought a dimmer switch.
The one that I got is rated at 600W. And, knowing that I’m going to be using
twelve 40W light bulbs, altogether it’s going to be 480W, I know that it’s going to be...
the dimmer switch is going to be good enough.
But if you, for example, using stronger light bulbs, let’s say 100W light bulbs, and then,
altogether, you’re going to end up with over 1,200W, then, obviously, you have to
keep in mind that when you get the dimmer switch, you need to get something that is stronger.
That is at least 1,200W. The dimmer switch will cost you around $8.
Then, a switch tray. You know, the metal container that you can mount it (the dimmer) into.
And then get some screws. Like a pack of screws: $3.
And what else? Yeah, you should get around...
maybe ten, fifteen feet of 12 gauge wire. And that will be used to connect
all the light bulbs together. Yeah. Total, I think, my light cost around
$50-60, so it’s nothing that crazy. And then, what kind of tools will you need?
A jigsaw, or any kind of saw, actually. And a screwdriver. A pencil.
And that’s probably it. And your hands.
Now, I will give you guys a little bit of a disclaimer / warning.
If you are one of these people who has two left hands and sometimes accidentally nails
his feet to the floor... while building a deck, for example, then you might want to
think about not building your own ring light.
But if you have any kind of basic knowledge of electricity, I think it’s pretty simple.
It seems pretty simple to me. But then, again, as I said, there is a chance
that you could, you know, have some sparks flying and you could start an electrical fire
and burn your whole house down. So, just keep that in mind.
OK. So, basically we start with a piece of wood
and you want to cut out a circle. Make it as big as you can fit on
the piece of wood. Then, you want to cut out another circle
inside that circle. Just make sure that’s big enough for
your camera lens to go through. If you want, you can make it slightly bigger,
so that, you know, in case you put the camera farther away, you have more options.
Then, another... you drill holes for all the light bulb sockets, so that we can feed
the cable through. Then you pull the cable through all the holes
and attach it to each of the light bulb sockets. And it’s pretty basic. You know,
plus to plus. Minus to minus. And then you attach the ground wire together
and feed it through all the lights. Then, at the end of the cable that connects
to the... to the dimmer switch, again, just plug it in.
That’s kind of basic. Most dimmer switches come with instructions.
And then you want to connect it to an outlet plug... that you can also get
for around $2 at any hardware store. And that’s pretty much it.
And then, once you plug it in, you can then adjust the switch
and adjust the brightness of the lights. That’s a cool thing if you do get a dimmer switch.
And then, you just pretty much point it at
your subject and put the camera and the lens and aim it through the light.
And that’s pretty much it. You have yourself a ring light. And you can
start using it in your next video, music video or commercial or maybe even a film production.
I hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial and if you have any questions, suggestions, comments,
feel free to leave them here on this video or you can send me an email
and I’ll try to respond to as many of you guys as I can. Thank you and bye.