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I’ve made a personal vow to work on improved lighting on future video shoots. Laziness has usually gotten the best of my efforts at lighting in the past. Hauling a camera case, tripod, audio bag, and laptop bag around on shoots has been bad enough; I just couldn’t bring myself to add a light kit bag that dwarfs all the other bags.

The first step (and easiest) is improved lighting in studio shoots. So I brushed up my knowledge on basic three-point lighting techniques (thanks, Vimeo) and spent the better part of a day working on the lighting for an upcoming interview shoot.

While I had two great softbox lights ready to go with built-in dimmers, I had two background lights that didn’t have dimmers. Also, the light I planned on using for my back light did not have a dimmer, either.

So I headed to Lowe’s. After realizing they had no in-line dimmers for sale I did a quick search on my iPhone and found this video.

It saved the day. I put together three lovely in-line dimmers for about $60.

I modified the YouTube plan a little. My version used a heavier duty extension cord, and included a grounding wire for all three. Since the cords were thicker, I couldn’t tie a knot to keep the cords from being pulled out. Instead, I improvised a kind of stopper on the cords using an old mouse pad and some plastic pull ties.

So there you have it. Three dimmers later, I spent a couple of hours setting up my lights. Ready!

The harder job will be lugging around the giant light kit bag on remote shoots.

Maybe I should look into a mobile/travel light kit. After all, I saved a little money on the do-it-yourself dimmers!

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