Film and Video Lights

aputure amaran tri-8 light

Lights are crucial to cinematography, but unfortunately not all filmmakers have access to them. The good news is that there are now more affordable options on the market.

For those with limited budgets, I would start out with a light reflector. There are few productions that don’t have outdoor shoots, so you are likely to have an opportunity to use one. It is a simple and cheap tool that has a big pay-off.

Just as importantly, using a light reflector will get you learning about how to control the light – the key to cinematography.

You are welcome to check out my tutorial about the use of light reflectors.

Next step you might want to take is to get work lights – halogen, incandescent, or maybe even fluorescent. For a budget of $100-150, you can put together a nice set of lights of varied power – I recommend covering the 150W-1000W range. These lights don’t have barn doors, which makes controlling the spill of light more challenging, but you can improvise with a tin foil.

When you are learning, it is nice to have your own lights because you can take your time to experiment. So, despite their limitations, work lights are a pretty good option, instead of buying or renting more expensive professional lights.

If you want to see what a cool lighting effect you can achieve with just two cheap hardware lights, then please watch this lighting tutorial

As I mentioned earlier, there is now a lot more competition and, as a result, affordable options for professional film lights. Oftentimes, the lower prices offered by the unknown brands don’t come with a trade-off in quality. So, there are some bargains to be had.

If you are ready to upgrade from DIY hardware lights to a pro lighting kit, then there is one brand I strongly recommend – I use their lights all the time.

Aputure Light Storm LS C120t LED Light

The company is Aputure. They make high quality lights that have remote controls, high output, high color accuracy and durable build. And they are usually much cheaper than the top brands with similar quality.

I have reviewed a few of their lights already. Their Cob 120t and 120d LED lights can be the key pieces of your light kit, especially when combined with a softbox. I’ve reviewed these lights here.

Aputure LS 1s led light

Their Light Storm LS 1s/c LED panels have top-notch color accuracy (CRI 95), are silent but don’t get hot, and draw little power (around 150W) while outputting a lot of light (comparable to 1K tungsten).

You can see the full review here.

    Plus, here is a whole bunch of their latest lighting tools:

  1. Light Storm 300d LED Light (not available yet)
  2. Light Dome Mini softbox on Adorama, Henry’s, eBay, Amazon
  3. Space Light softbox on Adorama, Henry’s, Amazon
  4. Light Storm LS-Mini 20 lighting kit on B&H, Adorama, Henry’s

You can see all of them in this video

aputure amaran tri-8 light

Aputure Amaran Tri-8 LED light might be the best of them all. It’s a powerful and almost indestructible (bulletproof!) light. You can see my full review here.

Filmmaking Tips and Tutorials