Get a cheap shop-light from the hardware store. Mine cost about $9usd. Then use a can opener to carefully cut out the bottom of a coffee can. Epoxy that side to the rim of the shop-light. Done. A strong steel epoxy works best. I used PC-7. It hardens faster with heat, so after a day, I was able to speed up the cure by just turning on the light for a bit. (It does get hot! But it's safe to work with).

Best part is you can use coffee can lids to create different sized "focus caps", or cut-out shapes. I had to line the lids with aluminum foil to prevent light seeping through, but it works pretty well.

Albums: Misc Stuff

Comment by Don Carlson on March 11, 2014 at 10:30am

That is a pretty clever setup!

Here's some more lighting ideas for little spotlights, if you're interested:

A variation I like is a clamp-on aluminum lamp with a clear halogen bulb. You can point the brightest part of the bulb wherever you like. I'm interested in seeing what kind of beam your DIY light throws. 

Another trick is to block the light without with a stack of gels, screw in a clear bulb, and then turn the whole thing  around and aim one of the air holes of the aluminum housing at what you want to illuminate. That gives you a really small pool of white light and works for some things.

One of my favorite miniature lighting techniques ever was to get a 35mm plastic film cannister, cut a hole in it just big enough for a small dollhouse light, remove the bulb, push the light housing through the hole, and then screw the bulb in from the other side. The light doesn't get hot enough to melt the film cannister, and you can aim it like a little spotlight. Works best as a 1/8 scale spotlight for a theatrical stage set and you can hold the canister to a pipe-based grid with duct tape.

Like this, but maybe smaller. 

http://www.amazon.com/Darice-Light-Cord-Brown/dp/B00302F7EE/ref=pd_...

I got mine out of a fiber optic light toy, so it was about half that big, but the same design of corded lamp socket with small incandescent bulb.

For larger spot lights, though, I think you have the right idea!

Comment by Mike on March 11, 2014 at 10:37am

Hey, thanks! Those are some fantastic tips! :D

Comment by Don Carlson on March 11, 2014 at 11:00am

I'm not a big fan of waiting for glue to dry, or things to harden so that's how these little workarounds came about. Especially when I was in a hurry and had a deadline for the animation assignment in Will Vinton's class. You would not believe how many things you can do with common household objects when they are repurposed for other things. Let your imagination lead you, and you'll never be short of what you need- even when it's late at night and stores are closed,and you can't do more than stand in the same spot and twist your body for risk of bumping a light or the camera. THAT'S when you get really creative with what you use to finish the shot! Shortage of time, caffeine...All motivators behind Frankensteining things that weren't meant to fit together or be taken apart :D

Comment by Mike on March 11, 2014 at 11:13am

I think that's one of things that appeals to me most about stop-motion. You have so many options for what to use and how to execute something. You can take things that wouldn't normally go together, and frankenstein them (I use that quite a bit as well :D ) into a set or a character or a whole studio setup that looks like it belongs together. It makes sense together somehow. I really like that.

Comment by Lewis Crabtree on March 15, 2014 at 4:20am

Thank you both i'm just working on the lighting so this is just what i was after, thank you again

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