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

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

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.

100 thoughts on “Glamor Shots: DIY Ring Light – Filmmaking & Cinematography Tutorial 8”

  1. Great video, thanks for sharing. Would you mind sharing the light setup for the wide angle shots with the band?

  2. Great video, thanks for sharing. Would you mind sharing the light setup for the wide angle shots with the band?

  3. @HBomb92 I used a piece of aluminium tube cuz my old tripod has a screw that sticks out so I put that into the tube… but you can use anything… depends on your tripod. Use a nut and bolt or hardware clamps etc.

  4. People that don't know what really goes on behind the scenes in filming or photography have no clue how important lighting is. It makes all the diff in getting beautiful shots.

  5. Thanks for this great tutorial, we had our first test with one we made, it came out amazing!! Will post once video project is done. Cheers!

  6. Thanks for this great tutorial, we had our first test with one we made, it came out amazing!! Will post once video project is done. Cheers!

  7. Thanks Tom! Your Tutorials are amazing, We built our ring light for under $70 and used it for our first Music video we shot for Lily Buonocore. Look forward to learning more cost effective ways to make high production quailty video.

  8. Just paused the video to comment here…..LOVE LOVE LOVE the tutorial…good job man……now time to continue watching 🙂

  9. I just built mine and it worked great for my video. It was outdoors under a cloudy rainy-ish day so the rings in the eyes weren't so pronounced but the color was awesome.

  10. Hey. Your videos are awesome.
    Imagine instead of a ring light around the camera you have a gold reflector with a hole in the middle.
    Now imagine 2 softboxes either side of the singer shining at the reflector.
    Would that work?

  11. I really appreciate the tutorial, the brief warning about electrical hazards was great. As someone who does electrical work I often cringe when tutorials don't stress safety around electricity. 0.065amps is all it takes to stop your heart.

  12. Hi Tom, I'd like you to watch my music video. I made a ring light and a dolly after watching your videos. The video is called "Breaking the Law" and is on my youtube page. Thanks for the inspiration and I hope you enjoy it.You're one talented motherf**ker. Also the video has a link to the making of the video.

  13. I'm noticing more and more industry directors watching these tutorials and using them on their shoots… I get excited because I know how they did it…

  14. Ok, I've seen tutorials on movie making talk about lights before and no one seems to ever mention fluorescent bulbs, is there a reason for this? Do they mess with the lens or color balance or something? Is it tradition or are they just new and unproven?

    The advantage of fluorescent bulbs are that they produce less heat and use less power but I'm wondering why video producers don't seem to use them.

  15. I like to know if there is a link to watch the full music video that was shot in this tutorial. I like watching and analyzing your work, I'm learning so much from them. Thanks

  16. Not a fan a of ring lights myself. I can only find them justified when you're trying to get reflections off clothing, otherwise both the flatness and the uncanniness of the luminaire's own reflection puts me off.

  17. They are used every day. Kino Flo is the most important manufacturer. They can't be any tubes, as normal tubes give a greenish tint. Of all sources, tungsten has the highest CRI (colour rendering index), close to 100, as it's a burning filament. But fluorescent is extremely close. The ones that aren't that good, and probably never will because of physical impossibility, are LED.

  18. There are no rules as to the distance this light can be used. Just depends on how strong the lightbulbs are that you use. If they're really strong you can really far away and the light will still work. But ideally you want to be around 4 – 6 feet from the subject

  19. I explain it all in the video. Get the dimmer box that sufficient for the amount of watts you'll be pulling. So depends how many lights bulbs and how many watts each. Add it all up. mine added up to 480 watts… so I had to get a dimmer switch that could handle that or more. So I bought a 600 watt switch. Then plug the cables into it. and them into each light socket and that's it!

  20. There's really no reason why the board itself would have to be cut into a circle. I'm building one and of course I'm aligning the bulbs in a circle but the board doesn't have to be circular right? Is there something that I'm not thinking of?

  21. Also you said 4 by 2 feet…. Just eyeballing it, I can tell that the whole in the middle of your board is almost 2 feet. Your finished product is definitely wider than 2 feet….

  22. Thanks! You can buy all the lights / gear I used here also. Check the links in the description of the video.

  23. You didn't say what you used to mount the light ring on. Is the hook at the bottom a stand to attach to something please reply.

  24. So if you were shooting dark skin tones would you use florescent instead of tungsten? I'm still not sure which light looks better on darker skin.

  25. Hi! Very interesting video! I'll try to do something like this ring light… but… How can it be used when shooting in motion, for example when camera is on the steadycam or something?

  26. is it posible to achieve the same look as this video with a small ring light, like the ones you attack in your lenses those led ones?

  27. This Ring Light is for only Glamor Shots ? or i can use this DIY Ring Light for something else ? thx you

  28. she's way orange and soft. it doesn't look like anything is in focus. I hope the final video is better than this. other than that, she's a hottie. who is she?

  29. Thanks for the info. I've been wanting to build a ring light.
    By the way, you kind sound like Oded Fehr.

  30. Your Tutorials are really advanced and helpful to shoot and really amazing Thumbs up to Tom Antos. Havnt learned this type of tricks before.

  31. Thank you, Masaccio! I never knew about a ring light. I am honing up as (older male) presenter. Thank you for the doll! Who is she? she indeed has the skin tones you wanted.

  32. Cinematographer Roger Deakins is a big fan of ring lights similar to one here, except that his tend to be larger.  He likes to hang them from ceilings or place them off to the side of actors for simple side lighting.  Geoff Boyle made his famous Simply Irresistible Pepsi  commercial with a single huge ring light.  Good instructional video, thumbs up.

  33. yo Tom, have you had a chance to try out the newer 18 inch LED? ring light?, it's also great for lighting any cinematic shoot. Great CRi.

  34. Great and very very useful tutorial. However, being engineer like to say that this is AC current and there is no + and – . And ground still should be covered with electric tape.
    You do this all the time and still alive ? 🙂

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