DIY Strip light, a work in progress

I wanted to have a strip light for my studio for a long time; unfortunately, I was always a little too low on cash to get one, and I still am. But I recently came across a few DIY tutorials, and I figured it wouldn’t be to hard to make one. I was right; it’s a lot of work (which is why it’s at this point still a work in progress), but not very difficult.

A couple of months ago I bought two cheapo studio strobes, these guys: http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B005SNUJCI/. I wanted to design my strip light so it would fit over one of these. Unfortunately that means no modelling light, but that’s something I accepted back when I bought them. The price was right, and I also wanted something that’s portable because one of the things I offer as a photographer is to take portraits in people’s homes instead of my studio. So they fit the bill. For this project I thought they would be better because it would be easier to attach my new modifier to one of these than my big studio lights. Also, the box that I used wasn’t very big; it was long, but thin — it was a box from a paper background.

My main inspiration came from this tutorial: http://www.diyphotography.net/the-diy-strip-light.

The box used in the tutorial above looks like it was a little wider than mine; when it was whole, mine was only about 9 cm each side, so I cut it open along the seam so that I would have five sides plus the front instead of three. I spray glued aluminium foil on the inside, then cut out two end pieces and put foil on those as well.

I didn’t start documenting every step with a picture right away; here’s what it looked like when I first thought to get a camera (my smartphone only) out:

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On this picture it has the top piece already in place; I took it while I was waiting for some glue to dry on the bottom piece:

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For stability reasons I made the bottom piece a little longer than the top piece; it’s actually sticking out at the front a bit, and I put a bolt in which goes into the umbrella holder on the light:

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This was just for testing purposes; when I’m done I will replace the bolt with one that isn’t threaded all the way; then it will be easier to tighten up the screw that holds it in place.

After I put the bottom piece in place I thought it’s time to test it, but when I put it on I realized that it’s not very stable; without support it’s at risk of toppling over backwards, so I came up with a quick solution:

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The box can now sit on the clamp, which stabilizes it enough to be usable:

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Here’s what it looks like on the inside after put in place:

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I still have to figure out what kind of material I want to use for the diffusor, and also how to best attach it. It has to come off, because if I need to plug in the sync cable or the radio receiver, I have to do that from the inside. The solution is probably gonna be Velcro. In the meantime, I really wanted to test the light quality, so I put on a white kitchen towel, held in place with clothespins 😎 .

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Not very professional perhaps, and not exactly the way I would do it for a customer, but to test the light quality it worked just fine. And, I have to say, I’m quite pleased with the result:

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(Never mind the model, it’s the light quality I’m pleased with 😛 .)

Now, apart from the diffusor, I still have some tweaking to do, mostly about stability. And when I’m done I’ll paint the outside black so that it won’t look cardboardy anymore — after all, I’m trying to make a name for myself as a professional photographer, can’t have cardboard light modifiers in the studio 😛 .

Edit: See part two, I’m done!

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