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  1. #1
    BPnet Senior Member kitedemon's Avatar
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    NS Canada
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    DIY light tent for under $30 and 15 min construction.

    Hey Everyone,
    I have been watching all the light tent demos and DIYs and felt that I'd do a fast and cheap version. This is my first DIY so here goes.

    This was designed to be fast and super super cheap. I think there are better ways to do a light ten but nothing under the 30$ price point (including lights) My set up time including taking shots of the set up was under 15 min start to finish it was the first time I have do this too.

    What you will need:

    [IMG]Hosted on Fotki[/IMG]

    Foam core (a white stiff cheap board any white reasonably ridged board will work)

    2x 20x30 inches (I used 3 but one is just to sit snakes on) from the dollar store. ($3)

    1 30x40 foam core that was from the craft store ($4)

    A styrofoam take-away lunch tub (medium sized) that was free

    4 pins (I found them)

    Rubber band (found that too)

    Sheet of white paper 22x36 (you might need a bigger bit if you are shooting larger animals…)

    Vivatar 283 flash (yard sale item they wanted 20$ but I got it for 16$ they are 90 new) *if you don't know what trigger voltages are PLEASE look here! I cannot be held responsible if you cook your camera! (any flash will do TTL if you have it is best!) You'll need batteries!

    Use of a couch or a wall (I am an older guy and laying on the floor is hard on me now so I used a couch it is taller and I can sit on my butt!)

    Step one cut the lunch tub along the fold and cut away the closure flap. You need the 'bottom' bit it is deeper.

    Hosted on Fotki

    Measure the width of the flash head and cut one end straight down. Fold down the flap you just made and use it to help steady the whole works.

    Hosted on Fotki

    Insert the flash in (open end of the tub facing the ceiling!) and set the flash to 90 degrees (or if your flash only has 90 degrees you are done!) Tape, rubber band or connect the 'tub' on the flash head I used rubber bands but tape would work too.

    Hosted on Fotki

    Hosted on Fotki

    Insert the smaller foam core bits in between the couch cushions. Or use a chair or wall or something to prop them upright.

    Hosted on Fotki

    Paper you need to make a cyclorama or cyc it is very easy. Tape or pin the top of the paper to the couch (wall) and once that is secure pull the lower edge until you get a smooth curve you need to avoid hard corners.

    Hosted on Fotki

    I put a extra bit of Foam core under that paper so it wouldn't wrinkle when a snake was on it, anything will do.

    The large Foam core section should make a top of the box make sure that is is OVER you FLASH this is VERY important! The camera needs to be 'inside' other wise it won't work.

    Hosted on Fotki

    take a test shot to set your exposure correctly and set your white balance you should have the exposure set to make the background very light but not quite 'blown' out. You can away adjust things brighter in post.

    Bring in the model and start shooting check to make sure everything looks right every now and again .

    What is happening? The principle is easy the styrofoam tub is reflecting some light up and off the top of the box. This is bouncing off the sides and filling in the shadows. The tub is also partially translucent and that is lighting directly down out to the back and sides creating fully lit not very directional light. The use of the flash is about POWER! The Fluorescent systems just are not bright enough to get enough depth of field to have very much in focus with a macro system. I tried a few power settings and at the max power I was able to shoot at F/40 (smallest this lens goes 2/3 more than F/32) and 1/80th of a second.

    Hosted on Fotki

    This is Lucy she is one of our recent rescues she is quite healthy but has a birth defect and has a bit of a misshaped skull and only one eye, and is a complicated feeder…

    Hosted on Fotki

    This is Legion, he is also a rescue. He arrived dehydrated eye caps and had ticks. He is on his way to recovery now.

    Hosted on Fotki

    This is Orphelia she arrived with Legion and was in about the same shape. She has come a long way since she arrived.

    I hope this works for you!

  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to kitedemon For This Useful Post:

    MakiMaki (03-31-2011),redtail9610 (11-29-2010),Ridinandreptiles (12-15-2012)

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