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When I first saw Jessee Rosten’s iPad portrait light array I will admit that I wrote it off as a goofy publicity stunt (which it seems to have done well at), but further analysis may have altered my opinion a bit. Who, in their right mind, would waste that much money on something that could be accomplished with better gear? Who cares? Seriously, if you’re putting together a photo shoot with a bunch of friends and you need some interesting lighting, why not borrow everyone’s iPad and mount them on some plywood for an interesting effect? Is it the best use of the technology? No way! Did it produce an interesting effect? I think so. [via DIYPhotography]

Adam Flaherty

I make cool stuff and write about other people making cool stuff on makezine.com. If you have something you think I should see, send me a tip.


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Comments

  1. Dale Wheat says:

    If you seriously compare this lighting solution to the costs of actual pro lighting, you can start to see how this might make sense, beyond a silly publicity stunt. Now compare the cost to what they charge for *programmable* pro lighting solutions, and you have a pretty good bargain!

    Could it be done for less? Certainly! Can you do it in an afternoon and have a dozen or so iPads left over for party favors after the shoot? I don’t think so. :D

    1. jason1729 says:

      Let’s see what I want from my “actual” pro lighting equipment. You tell me what kind of bargain cheap LED backlights are.

      1) Colour Rendition Index; I want to light the full spectrum uniformly not poor LED’s CRI.
      2) Colour balance; Ideally I want the same colour as natural sunlight, but no matter what, I want to be stable shot to shot.
      3) Freeze Motion; my portrait sessions are pretty dynamic, from having the models jump, blowing hair, etc. I did one cool shoot with buckets of milk splashed at her. I want strobes with as short a flash time as possible. Continuous lights are cheap and much less useful.

      So yeah, cheap LED backlights are cheap LED backlights no matter how overpriced.

  2. spur says:

    That original thought you had, “When I first saw Jessee Rosten’s iPad portrait light array I will admit that I wrote it off as a goofy publicity stunt”, yea, that was right, that is exactly what this is, nothing more.

    As for “Compare to actual pro lighting prices .. not a bad deal after all”, your forgetting how many orders of magnitude better a pro lighting setup would be. This is no better than a few white CFL’s and a sheet. Great cost to performance ratio there. ISO 800? yea, thats some good lighting….

    1. It’s an outrageous setup, for sure. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. You should be able to be outrageous if that’s what you’re going for.

  3. Simon says:

    It amuses me that most iPad ‘hacks’ are nothing to do with actually hacking the device. Generally most of them would work exactly the same if you substitute ’10 inch by 7.5 inch plank of wood’ for iPad. This one is a little different but really, you might as well use cheap LCD photo frames or recycled laptops. Am not quite sure why using iPads makes it cool?

    BTW, dead scanners scanner/printers are a good place to get bright white CCFL tubes and power supplies.

    1. I agree with you on the ‘plank of wood’ theory, but to say that you shouldn’t do X with Y is a little short sighted (not that you were implying, just putting it out there). Perhaps it’s ‘cool’ because they actually did it rather than just talking about doing it. Another reason could be that it was a novel way to ‘scratch an itch’. I know I’d rather watch someone attempt and fail rather than listen to them speculate, wouldn’t you?

      Good suggestion on where to scavenge CCFLs, BTW.

      1. Simon says:

        Oh yeah, the idea itself is fine and cool. I just get grumpy seeing iPad stories when the thing is so inherently non-makery if you get what I mean. People should definitely go ahead and do things even if everyone else says ‘huh, what’s the point?’. Most of things I do fall into that category actually. No time spent making is wasted :)

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