DIY Color Gels & DIY LED Color Head


Looking to add a bit of color to your Photos? Throwing colored gels over a flash is the easiest way to add interest into what would normally be a boring photo. This DIY tip may not be color accurate to industry standards, but at least you can create an entire lineup of colored faux gels on the cheap. Using transparency film which is fairly heat resistant and durable (for overhead projectors) sent to a printer at your local Kinkos, you can print any color you need, in any size you need, and in any amount needed. Could be great to add a splash of color to your videos too. Check out more information over at Instructables:

My other DIY project:
One thing that i've actually been experimenting with and am finding excellent results have been the color changing LED light bulbs.


There's different versions of these high powered LED lights, but you'll want to go with at least a 5W for the most amount of power. Another thing to look for is the 120 degree beam angle so that it doesn't look too narrow. What i've found was that you need to use a few of these to really spread into a full background. For a talking head shot a single or two LED bulbs would work great in adding a bit of color. So far the 1 that I have is kick-ass for adding colored backgrounds to small product shots.

Here's a video from someone's YouTube using a 3 watt version.

The throw on these LED's are pretty far, and i'm seeing the color from even 10ft away. These are standard light sockets (E27), so building a 4 light head with the LED bulbs slightly spread apart is not a problem. I'll be using these twin E27 light socket heads stacked one on top of the other with a single light stand.

find-price-button E27 AC Socket Light Studio Mount Umbrella Twin Holder

With my new DIY LED head using (4) 5 watt color changing LEDs i'll be able to carry around a fairly small, durable, low power, low heat, no gels, multi-colored backdrop to any location. These bulbs can not only adjust color, but are also dimmable in brightness. It's a bit of cost up front, but if you consider what a multipack of Gels + Lights would run you, the convenience for adding color is well worth it (for me). Hopefully i'll get around to showing what my version would be like soon.

You can see how background color was used in these video examples (via gels + tungsten):

find-price-button E27 5W RGB LED Bulb Spot Light 20 color changing remote

17 thoughts on “DIY Color Gels & DIY LED Color Head

  1. Emm

    Post author

    @Mr.Brown - Yeah it may not provide enough light, and i'm not sure about a quad light socket that is all facing the same direction.

  2. Mr.Brown

    Hey Emm do you know if there is a "Quad Light Socket"? I'm interested in getting 8 of these so i can have 4 working together for "Purple" and the other 4 working together for "Blue". I want to be safe because i'm doubtful that 2 will give me enough color to light a room with color for a music video.

  3. allen

    I received mine in the mail. I wasn't as impressed as I expected to be. 5 watts is just not that bright. For as not-bright as it is, I wish it was batter powered. Anyone want to buy mine?

  4. Ghost

    Emm, I was putting together a 1x1 RGB LED Lite panel w/matrix controller until I saw the big boys come out with them. Holla @ me so we can rap about it, ur blog has inspired me to get back into DIY'ing it.

  5. Tony

    Ordered a couple of the remote control LED's... Only downside is the wait since they come from china...

    Can't wait to try them out though. Good find Emm!

  6. alonso

    Emm, I know this has nothing to do with this post, but you're the most responsive dude on the internet, so sue me.

    Question time: I'm new to the video fluid head world, and am using my school's manfrotto 501hdv.

    I just got a 394 QR plate for a macroslider I have, but am I correct in thinking that the 394 isn't compatible with the 501? OR is it?

    Thanks bro.

  7. @Allen - good deal if you are looking for the spot light style beam...that one has a 90 degree angle beam while some of the others had a 120 degree.

    These things are sick!!


  8. Emm

    Post author

    @HDSLR Cinematography - Interesting question. You talking about the glasses? I don't see why not..

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