One of the hallmarks of amateur video is poor lighting. Or so I remember reading somewhere somewhere. Having produced some pretty crappy videos myself, I’ve been really looking to up their production value (see my main Youtube Channel). Being pretty cheap, I wanted something inexpensive to help me improve my lighting. Thus the DIY clamp light stand was born.
After seeing clamp lights (Less than $6.50 on Amazon with Prime) used for another lighting setup (seen below), they seemed like a great solution to try. I also had some CFL bulbs that I wasn’t using, so why not?*
Although I have some shelving that the lights could have been hooked to, this wouldn’t really accommodate placing the camera where I prefer to film. I instead built one out of 1 inch PVC pipe and used my bike repair stand (Amazon) as a very secure and adjustable base.
The part that normally grips a bike’s top tube is used to grip the pipe. This allows the light to easily be adjusted up and down. I’m sure a base could have easily been constructed with PVC, but this was easier, and heavier as well.
As can be seen from the first picture, the top of this device is a tee, with another piece of PVC coming out the side. A piece on either side would work as well, but I only have one light as of this writing.
After securely attaching the horizontal PVC piece, one issue was that the clamp lights tend to simply roll forward on a circular surface like this. My solution was to cut straight clamping surfaces as shown below. I used a milling machine, but if you don’t have one (likely), any sort of jig saw or scroll saw should work. The cuts don’t have to be precise, just something roughly non-curved to grip on.
As also seen in this photo, I looped the wire around the pipe, in case the clamp light did fall down. Hopefully this would avoid any lamps crashing on my head, although I suppose it’s possible the CFL could break from impact. *Which answers the possible “why not” question posed earlier.