October 1, 2012

The Down & Dirty Lighting Kit

Chris Lavigne


We’ve received a bunch of questions about our lighting setups recently. While we could give you an exact list of what we’re using for studio lights, it’s not so much about the equipment as it is knowing a few basic lighting techniques. Remember the video we shot on an iPhone? ;)

You don’t need to have a top-of-the-line lighting kit to make people look great on camera. Obviously it would be super sweet to have a 10-ton grip truck with a crew of gaffers at your disposal, but we don’t all have Lucasfilm budgets. And we don’t all have hours to throw at elaborate lighting setups! But not to fear, because if you’re making your own video, you can still look dapper without breaking the bank.

We went to Home Depot and spent less than $100 buying the essential ingredients for a basic DIY lighting kit for shooting an interview. We could tell you how to do it, but why not show you?

While this is NOT the be-all, end-all lighting technique, it IS an attainable and repeatable way to keep people on camera looking like humans. Sure you can go crazy with intricate lighting setups or even use the fabled “3-point lighting” to create some shadows and modeling on your subject’s face. But for business video, it’s the “Wistia Way” to shoot interviews with flat and even lighting. And although we use higher quality studio lights for our typical setup, we think the video proves that you can get down-and-dirty with a basic lighting kit and still come out looking fresh!

We did it, you can too!

The equipment list:

Home Depot:

  • (x3) Clip Lights - $9 ea
  • (x3) Daylight Color CFL Bulbs (buy different wattage options for flexibility) - $2.75 ea
  • (x3) Spring Clips - $2 ea
  • (x3) 12ft Extension Cords - $2.50 ea
  • (x1) Package of Clothespins - $2.50 ea


If you want to save a trip to Home Depot, here are Amazon alternatives:

How did you build your first lighting kit? What are your favorite lighting techniques and tricks?

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