Homemade Softbox Light Made from Shower Cap


Inexpensive lighting for photography and video

I recently had a very good experience shooting this short explanatory video with two standing professional softbox lights.

The experience got me thinking whether I could shoot a fairly good looking video with a home made DIY softbox light. This wonderful YouTube video showed me the way.

Here is the video I shot this evening using a homemade softbox light, covered with a white shower cap.

I didn’t use any fancy camcorder, either. The camcorder I used is a consumer Canon Vixia HF R300 camcorder — the lowest priced of the excellent Vixia line of camcorders from Canon

I’m pleased with result. Good skin tone colors. Here are some tips that might be helpful to you:

I mounted the clasp light on a stand that was about six feet from my head and about two feet higher than my head, pointing slightly down. I sat about three feet in front of the background to minimize shadows. (The farther away you are from your background, the less distinct the shadows.) To reduce the glare on my glasses, my friend John Pitt lowered the height of the camcorder until it was slightly lower than my eye level. Originally, glare on my glasses was a problem, but that technique minimized the problem.

John did some slight color correction in Final Cut Pro 7 to adjust the brightness of the lighting in this video.

If you’ll be shooting videos of this kind yourself, make sure your backdrop is sufficiently wide that it completely fills in the 16 x 9 aspect ratio of your camcorder. We had some problems with that in this video shoot, but John Pitt remedied that by using Final Cut Pro 7 to zoom into the video — which removed the unsightly left and right edges of the video field where the backdrop didn’t reach. It’s useful to also note that the camcorder we used to shoot this video shoots at 24 Mbps, which is a very nice data rate for a consumer camcorder. The higher the data rate the greater the detail you’ll see in your videos. To view this video in its best quality, choose the HD video screen quality choice from the bottom right of the YouTube video. You might also try casting this video to your television using a Chromecast.

Pretty good lighting for a DIY project, eh?


-- Phil Shapiro 09/3/15