Home-made lighting solutions (part 1)

For that crisp edge light...

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If you have been watching Lindsay Adler's recent classes on CreativeLive** you have seen the results of using barn doors on your lights. When used on kicker lights from the back they give a nice crisp edge to your subject and let the rest of the image go dark. On the last show, Seeing and Shaping Light, we briefly mentioned making your own barn doors because there might not be specific barn doors made for your brand of lights or you might not want to spend a lot of cash on a set of barn doors that you won't be using every day.

My solution involves a pair of relatively inexpensive Manfrotto Multi-Clips** and some black cardboard, heavy cardstock, or foamcore cut to around 8"x10".

Below you can see some photographs of commercially made barn doors (with 4 doors and with 2 doors) and you can see the DIY version using the Multi-Clips and black cardboard. Below these photos is the lighting diagram for the above image.

PS: another option mentioned is forming barn doors (or snoots or flags or gobos) out of Cinefoil**, which is a heavy duty black aluminum foil that you can bend into the shape you want.

Barndoors with four leaves/doors

Barndoors with four leaves/doors

Barndoors mounted on a 7" dish reflector

Barndoors mounted on a 7" dish reflector

Barn doors with two leaves/doors

Barn doors with two leaves/doors

The Multi-Clip and black cardboard

The Multi-Clip and black cardboard

Mounted on a 7" reflectos

Mounted on a 7" reflectos

Mounted on a 7"reflector on a strobe head

Mounted on a 7"reflector on a strobe head

Close up the Manfrotto Multi-Clip used to make the home-made barn doors

Close up the Manfrotto Multi-Clip used to make the home-made barn doors

Barn doors don't have to be restricted to only working with small lights and hard reflectors. I also use the Mulit-Clips and foamcore to create barn doors for my softboxes and strip ights to help control light from spilling into areas where I don't want it. Here I show a barn door solution for use with my Westcott strip box**. The spring clamp is there to balance the weight of the foamcore so the box doesn't spin in its speedring.

Barn doors don't have to be restricted to only working with small lights and hard reflectors. I also use the Mulit-Clips and foamcore to create barn doors for my softboxes and strip ights to help control light from spilling into areas where I don't want it. Here I show a barn door solution for use with my Westcott strip box**. The spring clamp is there to balance the weight of the foamcore so the box doesn't spin in its speedring.

Parts 2 and 3 of home-made lighting solutions are coming soon. As the barn doors are mounted right at the light, the shadow edges they project are soft edged and not very controllable. The next couple of posts will show two ways to simulate spotlight effects with harder shadow edges using one strobe head and modifiers made of items you might already have available around your house or studio. Say tuned...