I have received an incredible response from the article and video series that I produced about the DIY Fluorescent Studio Lighting Set-up (See original video below). I have also received TONS of questions about the fixtures and how to use them so it is time to write a quick follow-up to pass along some very helpful information about the set-up and even some great solutions that people have sent to me.
Let’s start with the mounting brackets that I used for the T-8 fixtures in the Part III Video. I think this piece of the rig has caused the most stress for people who have tried to duplicate it. I used the mounting collars from some old PhotoFlex reflector holders that I had lying around my studio. I mentioned that you could also find these cheaply on EBay. The problem of course is that the ones on EBay were scooped up pretty quickly after my video came out and then nobody could find them.
This is where one of my subscribers – Rick Raulston from Jackson, Mississippi saves the day with a great solution…
Instead of using the 3-foot length of conduit, Rick used a short section with two conduit hangars mounted near the top of the fixtures. By filing down the studs on the tops of his light stands just a little bit – the conduit simply sits right on top of the stand providing a solid mounting support.
Rick was kind enough to forward some photos of his set-up, which I have posted here.
The only drawback to this solution is that your fixtures are vertical only, which for most people will not pose a problem at all. If you want horizontal fixtures – stick with the outline that I show in the Part III video – minus the PhotoFlex mounting collar.
Another subscriber, Angela Eichor, from Guthrie, Oklahoma made a modification to the mounting set-up using Helm Joints. Instead of using the conduit hangars, Angela mounted the helm joints right into the ballast housing and simply places them right over the stud at the top of her light stand.
Don, B who is one of my YouTube Subscribers forwarded a link to these Light Stand to Boom Arm Pivot Clamp Connectors that he found on Amazon.com for under thirty dollars each. The stock levels seem to be low on this item, however the Adorama Adapter Single Grip Clamp, Connects a Boom Arm or Umbrella to a Light Stand looks like it would get the job done.
All three of these versions provide an excellent alternative if you are unable to find the reflector holder collars cheaply. Thanks again Angela, Rick and Don for being kind enough to share.
Some other frequently asked questions about the DIY T-8 Fluorescent Studio Lighting Set-up
The question that has been asked the most is: What type of bulb am I using that allows me to shoot with fluorescents and daylight balanced AlienBees?
Answer: Daylight Balanced bulbs. Specifically – Philips 32-Watt 4Ft T8 Natural Light Linear Fluorescent Light Bulbs. These bulbs are rated at 5000K. Direct sunlight is usually stated as having a color temperature of about 5500-5700ºK. The flashtubes used in AlienBees units are daylight-balanced at 5600ºK.
What about fixtures with fewer bulbs? Some readers found the 6 tube fixtures to be too bright for their needs and or their subjects (people squinting because the fixture is too bright).
Answer: A few subscribers have tried this 4-tube fixture by Lithonia – with a good deal of success. It comes in below sixty dollars which is about twenty dollars less than the 6 tube fixture and has the added bonus of a wraparound diffusion lens.