title low budget film lighting tools

7 Low Budget Film Lighting Tools

Whether you’re an experience grip or production lighting is something that you haven’t really given much thought to just yet, chances are you have or will be sucked into buying unnecessary film lighting tools that cost much more than you intended to spend. That’s why we’re showing you some low budget film lighting tools that will make your production top-notch without breaking the bank.

Follow along and save yourself time, money and frustration.

1.  Reflectors

Whether you shoot indoor or out, a reflector is your best friend. If you don’t have budget for a reflector, consider a whiteboard. Both can be used to bounce the light from your light source to your subject and a whiteboard, literally a piece of poster board from the dollar store, is nearly free.

2.  LED Panels

Lighting Setup

LED panels can be found for very low cost and are great for providing background lighting or accent lighting and special lighting. It’s best not to purchase LED lights for your primary light as the cheap options tend to have poor Color Rendering Index and may make the skin tones of your subjects appear unnatural.

However, an LED panel or LED camp lights and LED candles can be used to produce accent lighting for very low cost.

3.  Lighting Stands

Don’t trick yourself into thinking you need a bunch of these as, if you’re willing to get crafty there are other alternatives that can be worked with for much lower cost. However, lighting stands are one of those low budget film lighting tools that you’ll need at least one or two of.

Get a strong stand that will last you a while and that can withstand the weight of various lights, this way as your budget grows you won’t have to replace your stand if you get heavier lighting equipment.

4.  Clamp Lamps

Clamp lamps are extremely inexpensive and can be used to provide accent lighting or background lighting as well as even key lighting when positioned correctly. Just remember that these can get very hot, very quickly so be careful using them around objects that could pose a potential fire hazard.

5.  Flashlights & Other Practical Lighting

practical light

Practical lighting tools including flashlights, lamps, and even candles can be used to produce illumination that adds a great effect to your set. With a little creativity, you can include lights that would actually be expected in the scene and which cost you next to nothing if you shop around.

You may even have some of the lights on hand already and not need to purchase separately.

6.  Bed Sheets

For low budget light diffusion, use bedsheets. We all have bedsheets laying around, and if you’re on a super tight budget, your local department store surely has a set of bed sheets that you can purchase for under $20.

Silk Bedsheets will provide you with the most diffusion but they are also much more than $20 a pair unless you can find them used. Experiment with sheets of varied thickness and fabric style to get the diffusion you desire for your film production project.

7.  Diffusion Fabrics

Diffusion fabrics can be rather expensive if you purchase the fabrics that are actually made, marketed and sold for the purpose of diffusion. However, you have several options if you’re shopping for diffusion fabrics on a budget and you’re willing to think outside the box.

Popular material options include: muslin or cheesecloth, Magic cloth and full grid cloth. However, a black fabric, nylon cloth and various other fabrics may also work for the purpose of diffusing light on your scene.

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