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Home Depot Lights

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    Home Depot Lights

    I have some 500 watt Commercial Electric lights from Home Depot. I'm broke, and can't afford to buy lights for video, so I have to make to with these.

    I'm going to be shooting a short film in a month or two, and need to shoot some night scenes. What would be the best way to light a night scene? One scene is in a old basement, and the other night scene is outside of a house.

    I've been told to buy a dimmer for them, but can only find 300 watt dimmers.

    Any other tips for lighting regular day scenes would help also.

    Thanks so much in advance for all your help.

    The films website is

    For dimmers with more grunt check:

    They also have 500W halogen bulbs for $0.99



      Don't do it man, resist the dark side, just say no to work lights! I know its tempting "look 1000w for $50!" but its just not worth it. Unless you want it to just flood an outdoor scene at night, that's really the only legitimate use of those lights. So you don't have much money? That's fine. Go to Home Depot and buy those clamp light sockets, the ones that take normal household bulbs. You can get one of those that will take up to 300w bulbs for like $10. Get three of them. Now walk down to the bulb section and buy the 100w fluorescent bulbs that are Sylvania 3500k. They have 82 CRI which is enough. Then position those lights barely off camera. Those will put out enough light for most scenes using 3ccd cameras. Need more watts? Go buy a 250w 3200k photobulb and then put a frost gel on the front of it. That's the only lighting setup Robert Rodriguez used for 'El Mariachi' and looked great. You'd spend less than a $100 and have a good light setup.
      Formerly user 'shawneous'.

      "Every great idea is on the verge of being stupid."
      -Michel Gondry


        Thanks a lot guys, I'll definitely check into everything you posted!


          whats wrong with the work lights? i use em and they are great. mind you i just need to figure out how to attach some barned doors and some gels to change the temp.



            When you graduate from the worklight realm, you're gong to see a lot more possibilities with your lighting. Spend the money on something you will use forever and it only hurts once. Watch on Ebay for some old fresnels, I've landed a few 1k's for around $40 in the last few weeks. Even an ancient 1k fresnel is more useful than an open face worklight.

            For the night exterior scene you're going to want to put some blue gel on one of the lights as a backlight/rimlight, and you're going to want to control your keylight instead of having it just blast everywhere. If you must use the worklight you can control it a little with blackwrap (the industry name for black aluminum foil).

            What I'd really recommend is involving someone who knows a little about lighting in your project. You will learn a great deal when you make your film, and unfortunately most people learn how "not " to do it on their first attempt. Embrace the collaboration, and get a lighting guy to help you out.
            Director of Siren at, Essence of the Force at, and creator of Fightscenes For Motion Pictures at