DIY Spiderlite and Softbox

This one’s for the video/photo geeks. Back at my last gig we used a pile of Spiderlites, which are pretty easy to use and relatively inexpensive lights that accommodate five bulbs, switchable in banks, that can be either incandescent or fluorescent. They’re not super-cheap–several hundred dollars–but for flexible continuous lighting they’re not bad.

Lighting is really the key for anyone who wants her indoor video (or photos) to take the next step up in quality and go from looking like a home movie to something shot on pro-grade cameras. Too many people stress about getting the best HD camera without realizing that without decent lighting your so-called HD footage won’t look any better than half the videos on YouTube shot on cheap camcorders.

But you don’t have to break the bank to get decent lighting, especially since Spiderlites use essentially the same compact fluorescent bulbs you can buy at the discount store. One way to go about it is to simply get an inexpensive reflector lamp from the hardware store, with the caveat that you can only get one bulb in a lamp, which may not be enough light.

So I was impressed to see this DIY Spiderlite put together by blogger Alex Campagna. It does require some woodworking skills to replicate, but I bet with a little ingenuity one could work up something similar from different materials. The base parts — the sockets and bulbs — are inexpensive and easy to get. (via

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