Tag Archives: DSLR video light

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Shortly after posting the DIY Ring Light article, things got real quiet on this blog. I went M.I.A..... So a couple of friends came by and we decided to spend a few hours whipping one up. This is a very old DIY Photography project, but not something every household wants to have laying around the bedroom. There's no way to really break this thing down any smaller than it's designed, but since I have a bit of space in the warehouse, I thought it would be a handy thing to have around. Just another budget light to add to the collection of things, that throws some very interesting catch-lights. When i'm ready to use it next week, i'll share some of those examples.

Depending on how you plan to set this up, it might not be as cheap or be completed as fast as you think. So here's some things we did, tips for making it better than we did (the first time), and things to know:

This video that re-inspired me to tackle the project used a 2x4 sheet of wood. Since the ring itself was only going to be 2ft. round, we decided to start out with a 2ft. round table top. It was $16 dollars as opposed to an $8 dollar sheet of wood, but it was thicker, better wood, and already the perfect size with a rounded edge. The depth of the table also helped to recess the wiring which you want to make sure you cover the terminals up well, and prevent people from touching it. It was also a better quality wood with a smooth sanded finish.

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We laid out 12 basic Light Sockets and figured out how much of the inner circle we needed to cut out. It's a fairly large hole in the center, and if you want a perfect circle, you'll need a better saw than a jig. If you don't mind the unevenness of the cut, then a simple Jigsaw would do fine, with some further sanding. We used some decent gauge solid core wiring connecting each light socket in parallel. Might be over-kill but you want to make sure there's the least amount of resistance from lighting up 12 bulbs. We ended it with a 16 gauge pig tail (extension cord).

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Dimmer switches? Different dimmer switches are rated to safely carry a certain amount of watts. If you plan on running 40-60watt bulbs, remember that you'll be running 12 of them. Higher wattage Dimmer switches aren't super cheap. Now some of you might be thinking about going Fluorescent with this ring light to generate less heat, draw less watts, but not all FL's are dimmable. If you decide on using the dimmable type of FL's, each bulb can run about $8 dollars, and you'll need to buy 12 of them. Most LED Bulbs should have no problems being dimmable, but those can be fairly expensive in the hardware stores too.

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So we started out using 12 tungsten 60 watt bulbs and although we had a dimmer, we didn't throw it in. After lighting the unit up, we found that 12 x 60watt bulbs weren't really as bright as you'd think. Even if we had a dimmer in place, I'm not sure I would use it. I do plan on switching to the more expensive dimmable FL's, and can probably run some brighter bulbs. With brighter FL's drawing less power, I can throw in the dimmer and see if it needs to be used. With the Panasonic GH2 doing the photos and video, I found when the aperture was set to F/5.6 the Auto ISO wanted to be at 800. That might give you a better idea of how much light output you'll get from 12 x 60watt bulbs. If we were shooting at F/2.8 we could probably be down to about ISO 200 or better.

Paint it before attaching everything. Although the ring light adds a nice effect and an interesting reflection, when we tested the ring light against a pair of sunglasses, you can clearly see the wood table. Again, this doesn't show up with simple eye reflections, but will show up if you decide to use this against a pair of tinted glasses. You would need to paint the wood a flat black, and you should do this 'before' wiring things up. It's going to just take you more time if you have to take it apart and do it after everything is mounted.

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This 2 foot round ring light works best if your subject is close. The further the subject is from the ring light, the smaller the catch light is. If I were to use this, I would have the subject about 2-3ft away and shoot through the ring using my 70-200 lens. Once you have it built, you'll test a few things out and find what works, but if you want it to be noticeable, you'll move the subject closer.

Wiring was the most tedious part, not difficult at all, but was slow moving. We had to cut, strip, bend, and screw the wiring in place and when dealing with solid core, it's time consuming. Don't expect to have something like this all put together in 20 minutes - especially if you have to let paint dry. This project will easily take you a few hours, but well worth it. This is a different kind of light with a look and an output that would be hard to replicate. We had a lot of fun building it, and even more fun drumming up new ideas and sparked some creativeness. Definitely something I suggest every creative studio have, as you'll find plenty of uses for it.

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The video below shows an example of how this ring light was used. Notice the catch light in the eyes of the artist.

So what's next? How about a 2ft round 'Ring Flash'?? One very very large studio strobe. Now that the foundation is built, it would be easy to swap the continuous light bulbs to these special inexpensive 'Flash Bulbs'. This would provide a very nice soft even flash from a fairly large ring light source..

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find-price-button Screw On Bulb Flash Strobe Photography

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Wow, just caught a comment about the new Z96 DSLR Video lights being sold on eBay. Right now they are using my video review on their Z96 Video Light auctions! (you can see it on the top right of the image above). Very cool! Normally I worry about my reviews being used on certain items, but for this particular one i'm really honored to be recognized along with. It's such a great product and price which equals huge savings for such an important tool in the DSLR bag. I'm going to order three more to create a 4x4 panel and grab some additional Eneloop batteries.

I really put mine to a test this weekend when shooting for a wedding and I could not be more happy. Though it was daylight, I found myself constantly using the Z96 LED light the entire day to add additional fill inside these dim lit hotel rooms. Now it makes total sense why people are looking to use these LED lights off camera. You might have heard me say I never used the older 126 LED light at full power because it was quite offending and the spotlight effect is very direct. I kept the diffuser on the Z96 which diffuses really well and isn't as offensive and ran it full power most of the day for use as fill light. My Eneloops ran all day all night no problems throughout the whole event. The new Z96 LED is not only powerful, but power efficient. Although the Z96 LED video light can adapt other power sources such as Sony or Panasonic camcorder batteries, I suggest you go with the Eneloop AA's to keep the unit very small and compact instead of a big rock hanging off the back. For external long duration use, the Z96 even has a DC input to plug into the wall, Crazy! (wall adapter not included).

There were photographers on site also who were really impressed with the Z96 LED light, they kept asking me where to buy it and looked pretty stunned when I mentioned the price. I guess they don't read Cheesycam for the cheap deals we find and share. The photographers used as much natural lighting as possible, but when they saw how we were using the Z96 as a fill light to balance exposure from the backlighting, and also used it as a 'catch light' in the eyes of the bride during close ups, the photographers were all over it! We also use the LED lights hovering over the brides jewelry when doing close close macro shots. The extra lighting gives an awesome sparkle to rings and provides a white reflection in the silver. I had absolutely no problems with this light. Feels very very solid, the position on the adjustable neck held strong (which was important as we waved the camera around over a wild dancing crowd). I threw this light into my bags as we moved from location to location without worry of cracking or breaking anything. It's again, really solid.

As demand grows, and as popularity follows on the new Z96 LED video lights, prices are always subject to change. I have no doubt that this will be the most common Video light for any event videographer DSLR or not, and I think it's very cool that they considered using my video review. Awesome.....

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click to find Z96 Dimmable DSLR Video Light

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Some new things came in, and i'll be talking about them soon after I test them out. First up is the Z96 LED light that many are saying will be replacing the popular 126 LEDs. I'll test it out to see what the build quality is really like and compare it against the 126 LED (which I own three of). I received my Z96 LED light from this seller..

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click to find Z96 Dimmable DSLR Video Light

Secondly is the Yonguo Live View Shutter Remote. This mini LCD is supposed to display the Live View from your camera in case you're setup on a crane / jib, or or on a Palo Alto adapter. The mini LCD also has a few button options to fire off your cameras shutter. I went ahead and purchased 3 cables 5D Mark II, 7D, and a T2i cable to test against all the cameras to see how it works. I grabbed my Remote LCD Live View Shutter Cord from the cheapest seller found in this article here.

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click to find Remote LCD Live View Shutter Cord

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@TwitHerb emailed me about a set of DSLR LED video lights he's looking into buying, and also provided me some links to some forum discussions, and other websites. Let me start by just pointing out that i'm not trying to be mean here, but it's kinda funny. This information is already circling the Video forums, I seem to be the late bloomer on this product, and I was just pointed it out to it.

As with technology things change every few months and the oh so popular 126 LED light now has a new competitor (or replacement). Labeled as the Z96 LED light (it has 96 LEDs) there been several tests against the 126 LED and though it has fewer, seems to be the top performer. So, in summary the 126 is phasing out, the new Z96 is in. Roughly about the same price, about the same features, looks a bit smaller, but overall they are saying the Z96 is a better performer.

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Here's the part where i'm trying not to be mean. Above, is a very good video demo showcasing the product, and watermarking the video back to the website where these LED lights are sold for $296 dollars. Below, is what these LED lights are going for coming out of eBay found here. In order for the eBay sellers to market the product, these sellers are using the guys video above.

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I wonder if they sent him a gift basket? So basically this guy over at LCD4Video has just helped out by doing some clever video marketing for eBay sellers. Who knows how long this video will be posted in the auction, but check it out. Oh and If you haven't already invested into a set of DSLR LED video lights, these seem to be the ones that are the hot topic right now. You can find the new 96 LED DSLR Video lights here via eBay.

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Update!! You Can Find the Popular 126 LED DSLR Video Light Kit Here!!

This video was created by Dereck Willis about the Cheap LED lights everyone is buying, but is causing some controversy about the Whining noise at the end of his video.

I love these lights, and so do all my friends who have purchased them after me. Because of all the controversy, Here is my official test showing my results.

First test: I'm using (3) Three LED lights next to a Zoom H4n
Second test: was with the light mounted to the hot shoe using the on Board microphone on the 7D.

Not sure how Dereck ended up with a whining noise, but I did not get anything at all. The only thing I can think of is that towards the end of his video, he was standing next to the light. He was using a Lav Microphone that may have picked up 'Electrical Interferance'. The lights themselves don't emit any noise. I did not get any interferance in my results.

Check out MY video review below to dispell any myths. I think these lights are great, and I'd love to hear comments from others out there regarding these lights. If you're interested in purchasing these awesome LED lights, you can grab them from this article here: https://cheesycam.com/?p=523

Update!! You Can Find the Popular 126 LED DSLR Video Light Kit Here!!

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Update!! You Can Find the Popular 126 LED DSLR Video Light Kit Here!!

Holy moly. I posted about a 126 LED DSLR Video light not so long ago, and everyone's been thanking me for that tip. The only problem was if you wanted a great price, you had to deal with Hong Kong shipping which is umm..let's just say VERY SLOW. Today i'm ordering a few more for some friends, and I found this awesome USA seller. (Means faster shipping!). This USA seller has sold several, has gotten awesome feedback, and sells it for cheaper than the Hong Kong one I bought before. Grab a 126 LED Dimmable DSLR Video light from USA seller now! Awesome!!

Update!! You Can Find the Popular 126 LED DSLR Video Light Kit Here!!