$4.98 Light Tent Project

Discussion in 'Commercial/Product photography' started by RacePhoto, Apr 22, 2007.

  1. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    First of all, the total came to about $23 after I bought lights and bulbs, but how would that be an interesting topic title? Besides, it's a stretch, but the light tent only cost me about $4.98 - So There! :wink:

    [​IMG]

    It needs work. I need to get more light or figure out how to expose better so the background isn't yellow. Suggestions welcome.

    Keep in mind, this was done "for fun" before I build a larger version, that should be functional and not a toy. But it does work! :lol:

    http://pages.prodigy.net/peteklinger/498/

    You can see all the steps in photos, from parts to finished project, including some hasty images to test it. This light tent folds up to about 8" in diameter.

    I have a feeling that even the thin pillow cases are too much and block too much light, for "100W" florescent bulbs. Well, it is experimental, isn't it? :mrgreen:

    I used a pocket camera but even with a good camera I need to figure out how to get the light balance right, before I shoot the pictures. Less to fix afterwards.

    Help Wanted!
     
  2. JDP

    JDP TPF Noob!

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    I like it! I remember wanting to try something similar - in one of my Make magazines they have the HOW TO on making a light tent from an Ikea clothes hamper hehhe
     
  3. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    First on the list of changes is get daylight balanced lights. Now I have enough different light bulbs for a home. My old ones where too big, or too dim.

    Inside of the lamps is black plastic. I'm trying to decide whether to paint them Silver or White. ;) or possibly remove the shades altogether and make some trumpet reflectors.
     
  4. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Try setting your camera's meter on spot or spot average. If you read for the subject it should blow out your background. There should also be a tungsten wb setting somewhere. Play with the exposure. You may have to over expose. Most cameras these days have all the options you need.

    Love & Bass
     
  5. JDP

    JDP TPF Noob!

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    You know, for my light tent.. err, light box I guess... I used daylight balanced GE Reveal bulbs. My WB couldn't really figure out how to deal with it, and I always ended up manually fixing it PP. I used just regular bulbs, and the camera could figure out what they are and corrected for it by itself. So I'd give it a shot with both.
     
  6. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    Two answers, one message.

    I went to the store and bought Daylight bulbs. I'm sure I could have balanced for the lights I had, but my point and shoot camera, doesn't. (don't ask me why it matters, I don't know?) Tried the DSLR and the results aren't as good, so I know it's just me and learning more.

    DSLR was set for spot metering. But I've been shooting pretty small stuff and with all that white, maybe it's getting fooled. I will try some tests and over expose. Cleaning up the background takes too long, especially those little grey shadows. :lol:

    I'm thinking now that a bottom light would be just the answer for all of this. Maybe a lower wattage back light and bring the side lights more forward. Or maybe I can find my AC powered dual head strobe and stop all this foolishness. ;)

    Once I get a good exposure, I'll be able to repeat it. For now it's just fun and games. Did this one tonight while I was moving the lights around and making more test shots. Point and shoot camera. ET is 3 1/2" tall.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. AdamZx3

    AdamZx3 TPF Noob!

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  8. Leigh

    Leigh TPF Noob!

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    I just posted a in another topic asking if anyone knew how i could build somtheing like this!! Wish i'd read this first, its awesome!!

    Well done!
    I'll be getting my boyfriend to bring home some pillowcases from the hotel he works at now!!!
     
  9. Karimala

    Karimala TPF Noob!

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    What I love about this light tent, unlike most other home made projects that use boxes or pipes, is that it folds up for easy storage. Great for those of us with limited storage options.
     
  10. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    Pillow cases or sheets, even if they were free, are a little too thick. They don't let enough light through.

    Still looking for the press strobes, which should be brighter, but it's going to be some time before I can hunt in the storage again. :x

    Bigger is better, because moving the diffusion back from the subject will produce a softer lighting.

    I'm thinking that building diffusion hoods for each light, may make the whole need for a light box, unnecessary. Just another idea.
     
  11. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Just so you're clear, the opposite is true. Soft lighting results from having a light source that is relatively larger than the subject. The larger it is RELATIVE to the subject, the softer the light. Moving it closer will make the light softer.
     
  12. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the correction.

    The problem I'm having is that the lights are too close to the tent sides, so the light has hot spots, or concentrations, instead of a soft overall lighting. That's because when I move them further away to get even lighting, they are very dim, the pillow cases are too thick.

    If I want to shoot something larger than a cup of soup, it will have to be a little bigger. :lol: But the mini tent works well for small objects.
     

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