The only real reason for dimmers is to perform light cues, as in a stage 
production. To simply adjust intensity on the subject, just move the lamps 
closer or farther and let the inverse square law adjust the illumination. If 
you need to have less bright lighting in a fixed smaller space, the easiest way 
is to have a selection of different watt lamps (i.e. what muggles call 'bulbs') 
in your kit that you switch out into your instruments (i.e. what muggles call 
'lamps'). If you're basing the kit on on hardware store halogen utility lights, 
these generally take a generic size halogen lamp, that is, you can probably get 
lamps that size in 250W, 300W. 500W etc.  Easier and cheaper than trying to rig 
up dimmers. The dimmers also create a lot of counter-EMF and can play havoc 
with electronics plugged into the same circuit.

An amazing resource for specs and cross references of projection and studio 
lamps is Don's prices are competitive on some items, not on 
others, so check the other online sources such as top bulb. If you're shooting 
video, you can, of course, put just about any kinds of lamps in your kit as 
long as they match without worrying about color temperature, since white 
balancing the camera will take care of that. For tungsten film, of course, you 
need 3200K.

If you do have hardware store lights with the protective grids and glass 
shields in the front, take those off. They just add weight. Mever touch a 
halogen lamp, hot or cold, with your bare hands -- the oil from your skin will 
stick to the glass causing uneven dispersion of heat, shortening the life of 
the lamp. You can affix 'softspun' or other non-flammable diffusion material to 
the from of the instrument with wooden clothes p[ions (the spring kind). 

If tried fitting barn doors to hardware store worklights, with not very good 
results. If you need to control the beam, the best bet would probable be making 
some kind of jury rigged snoot out of an aluminum clothes dryer vent, aluminum 
roof flashing pieces, held together by aluminum tape or maybe pop rivits.

A possible upgrade for a DIY light kit is to order the mount parts for a Lowel 
V-Light, I think it's called a Lowel link (??) which will make the light easier 
to position and provide a spot to attach an umbrella.


On Oct 28, 2011, at 10:49 AM, Kevin Timmins wrote:

> Hi, I'm trying to make myself a frugal 3 point lighting system with one 1000w 
> work lamp and two 500w work lamps. I got a three nice light stands and 
> everything is solid and stable. As you can imagine being able to emit that 
> much power is very useful at night but ideally I want to tone it down if I 
> need to. Then I thought, hang on surely I can put a dimmer on these babies 
> and then have full control over a powerful lighting system to get perfect 
> exposure. Now I'm having some trouble locating dimmer switches that are rated 
> up to 500w (let alone 1000w). I'm in the UK and the max I've found is only 
> 250W an they are pretty nasty looking things :(
> Does anyone know where I can find some dimmer switches? Also can anyone 
> foresee any problems I might have putting a dimmer switch on halogen 
> floodlights? I'm no electrician but assume it's one, possible and two, should 
> work pretty good.
> Please let me know.
> Thanks 
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