Kristian Glass - Do I Smell Burning?

Mostly technical things

Desktop Lighting

I like a lot of light at my desk. It gives a better picture when I’m on video calls, and I think the light increase helps my mood too.

Now, I’m a bit of a lighting Philistine. I have friends who definitely have Opinions about colour temperature and brightness, whereas I grab a pack of cheap LED bulbs from Amazon whenever I need some and as long as they vaguely match what I have already then it’s fine for me - but I figured I’d just make a stab at something on my own, and then get feedback afterwards from people who know better. So here’s what I’ve got:

A while back I picked up a neat little lighting kit: two lamp heads, two small tripod stands, two bulbs (“daylight balanced” 5500K 45W).

These were great, but the tripods maxed out at around 40cm high, leaving the bulbs level with my monitors which could be quite hard on the eyes, and the tripod bases and my desk clutter in combination meant they frequently got knocked and moved, or found themselves held up by the wall.

Inspired by Ethan Schoonover and some prompting from George, I decided to go for a bit of an upgrade.

Amazon had some decent-seeming desk clamps and grip heads, and my local Homebase had relatively cheap (~£3) 1m lengths of 1mm thick 10mm diameter steel tubing - of which I picked up four: two verticals, two arms.

Result? The lights are now much more pleasantly located, and I’ve got a bunch of desk space back!

The grip heads feel somewhat overspecced - they weigh about 700g each (I didn’t really appreciate what I was buying) - but given the failure mode is likely to involve a lamp crashing into a monitor / laptop / iPad, I’m ok with that.

The vertical poles are bending by a few degrees - the lamp heads aren’t especially heavy but they don’t have any counterweights - but they don’t seem likely to fail so I’ll probably just leave them as they are. If I add any more equipment, thicker poles seem relatively inexpensive.

The main thing remaining to sort is some kind of diffuser/softbox setup - right now the light is quite harsh so something to soften it a little and direct it away from my wife’s desk would be great - the problem so far is that everything small seems to be built for a camera flash, and everything built for a lamp seems huge

But, it all generally works well enough and I like it