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Gus Landt

How to make a cheap light box

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Looks like I need to get better lighting and I'll be good to go.

 

As for backgrounds... I picked up those really nice textured cloth backdrops from thread X and they are SW33333T.

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On my light box I used Grey Cardboard in the back to get a darker neutral color. I use a Daylight desklamp and instead of another fixture I use a reflector (an old hard disk platter, I'm a tech so sue me). This way the light is all the same color temp. By adjusting the distance I change the ratio of the light.

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I looked into getting a small tripod for my camera but the infernal contraption's mount is off to one side and the weight of the camera inevitably cause it to lean to the right. I think I might fabricate a harness of some sort and use my portable machining vice to hold the damn thing still.

Edited by Girot

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I have a small tripod and my camera's mount is off to the side. It is strong enough to hold the camera and not lean. On the other hand I get good picture handheld with my lights. I did use the tripod before I started to use the light when I just used ambient lighting.

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I've never had any luck with tiny tripods other than the Joby Gorillapod. You might consider using a sandbag (like those used for bench-rest rifle shooting) or a bag of rice to stabilize your camera if you're not going to get a real tripod.

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I have a cheap old 1970s tripod I inherited. Sometimes it leans, so I just shorten one leg :) Or orient the camera with the lean and use the vertical pivot adjustment to compensate.

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I put together my own lightbox recently. It makes a big difference for such a small investment.

 

Ingredients:
2 cardboard boxes from the recycling,
3 sheets of parchment paper,
1 lighting fixture taken from a broken lamp,
generous amounts of duct tape,
1 load-bearing popsicle stick.

 

lightbox.jpg

wizard-lightbox.jpg

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if all you want is just something small to take pictures of minis, might I suggest a 4 liter/gallon milk jug. Jut the top and a side off, and there you are.

lightbox2.jpglightbox1.jpg

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How about one made out of a milk crate?

 

8569825328_42ca4afc8e_m.jpg8569825098_7f71460c7d_m.jpg8568727655_031c8d9dda_m.jpg

8568727559_64a3a273c1_m.jpg8569824764_879865ee72_m.jpg

 

I took a milk crate, a jigsaw, a can of white spray primer for plastics, a 3/16" square dowel, some staples and a square yard of white muslin fabric to make mine.

 

I started by removing 3/4's of all of the side panels with a jigsaw. Then I applied two coats of white primer to the milk crate. O ce it was nice and white, I cut the dowels to fit the channels around the base and the top frame, and attached them with no. 4 brass wood screws. I pulled the fabric taunt and stapled it to the anchored dowels, a quick and dirtyy lightbox. I'll post completed pics tomorrow.

Edited by chaosscorpion
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With that design, you'll have one of two problems:

 

1) Not much light on the front of the figure, since the light is coming in from midway down the box.

 

2) Figure very close to the back wall of the box, which can cause shadow problems.

 

Light boxes are mostly intended to give nice, smooth light gradients on smooth, reflective surfaces. Classically, they're used to shoot jewelry, watches, perfume bottles, whatever. Miniatures are generally not very reflective once painted and they are small relative to the size of normal lightbulbs. If you place the lightbulbs close to the figure, you really don't need much (or any) more diffusion.

 

One light at 45° on each side of the figure, just out of frame, and a nice, curved, gray background are all you need.

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Start with a neutral background such as Grey if you want a catch all. If you want to go with a colored background per image and not worry about having the same background let me know via this post and I'll look for my "background color vs mini color information.

 

I'm mobile right now and don't remember net all the recommendations

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