Saturday, May 8, 2010

HomeMade Gear: The Cortez SoftKick

 I was actually tweaking with a really old small light housing and harness for a few years now; the light itself seemed to be a 100W flood light that was for news studio production. For the longest time I could not get "News Light" to work properly. When we finally sliced and diced its power supply and got it up and running, we realized three things: (1) The light itself needed to be plugged in to some type of power grid, that (A) I wasn't willing to buy and (B) why the hell would I buy it. (2) The lamp is this thin 100W lamp that is not even made anymore nor is there a manufactured equivalent. (3) The only thing of real value in the "News Light" was the light housing assembly itself (shape of the housing, the reflective - textured aluminum inner housing, bracket for mounting to stands).

Fast forward a few years later, and here I am looking to add another light that I can have some decent control over to my collection. On a few projects recently I have been using standard clamp on lighting (can be found at Home Depot; uses standard screw-in bulbs of varying wattage) to add variation or 'kick' here or there on an object or person. I won't go into to much technical detail because I think Scott explains it really well HERE.

Store bought CLAMP ON LIGHT (socket, clamp and housing) reference:

The lights themselves are handy. But the drawbacks for me have been: the inner reflector, I feel is very harsh and the clamp mount assembly can occasionally be annoying and flimsy.

I basically took apart the clamp housing and reflector, took the bare socket and cable, did some very minor drilling and cutting on the New Light housing, then transferred the clamp-on harness and secured it into the News Light housing.

NEWS LIGHT HOUSING with high rated internal socket and cable from the CLAMP LIGHT referenced above:

I put in a Reveal 60W G&E bulb (fairly inexpensive with a 'cooler' color temperature) and I am very happy with the results. The aluminum textured inner coating creates a softened yet even light. It is perfect for a slightly off camera rim light or kicker and it can mount to my light stands and adjusts easily. It is secured and functions like I hoped; I'll use it in whatever I work on next. Stay tuned!

I've been using the 60W CFL light bulbs with a 5.5K color temperature and it works great as rim light and even a soft fill light.


Scott Eggleston said...

Nice! I look forward to more details (like how you built it) as well as video showing the light in action. Looks solid.

Vincent_C said...

Thanks, I'll try to get some samples up at some point soon. Mainly it was a chance to take a non-functioning light, utilize it's housing and give it another life.