Update May 5, 2013: Instead of pre-packaging the DIY kits we released last year, we have decided to just provide links to the most important parts so you can order them directly from the suppliers.
This is partly due to a whacky economy and the flukey availability of a good controller, but also that we are so tied up with an extremely large, year-long video production, we just don’t have the time to source and assemble the DIY kits. If things get back to normal, there is a slim chance we might re-engage them. For now, you’re on your own!
DIY Controllers & Rings
Listed below are links to the major components. If you are not comfortable with soldering, wiring, retro-fitting, drilling, and general DIY experimentation, we recommend either buying a new Reflecmedia or Datavideo ring setup, keeping an eye on ebay for a used one, or tracking down another of the many options that are out there.
The prices listed below are retail and do not include any shipping costs.
$12 ea +/-
Note: You do not want the ring of LED’s to be too much larger than the diameter of your lens glass, nor too far fore or aft of the lens glass, or you may run into halo and/or shadow problems.
We used the AE100-G33 & AE100-B33 rings in our previous Complete System, as well as the DIY kit. Their O.D. is 100mm and the I.D. is 84mm +/-. You want the ones with the WHITE front board face. These have a beautiful lime green color, whereas ALL of the other “Angel Eye” rings we tested (and we tested dozens, from all over the world) had an ugly Cyan colored green. The blues are all pretty good across the board.
Do not go smaller than the 100mm rings… you will not have enough output. The 100mm uses 33 of the SMD 3528 chips and gives just enough light output to properly illuminate the backdrops for most shoots.
We also tested the 120mm ring and it actually had slightly less output than the 100mm ring. If you work on very large sets (40ft or more), you might look into other ring options.
There are bazillions of PWM LED & motor speed controllers out there. Most of them flicker or have “camera-visible” scrolling bands, even the pricey U.S. made military-grade versions from Rane, and are not really useful for the purposes of LED chroma key. Finding one that has just the right PWM frequency is difficult.
The cool little black aluminum PWM controller we were using in our previous DIY kit was awesome, but has suddenly become unobtanium–China just quit making that one entirely, literally overnight. The ebay link we had for them suddenly had a different picture and very slightly different specs. Plus, it’s UGLY!!! Nonetheless, you can do an ebay search for “12V-60V 15A DC Motor Speed Control PWM HHO” and you will likely find it. We have NOT tested this new version, yet.
Below is a link to another one that “looks cool”, and might have potential, but we have not tested this one personally yet, either. Once we have, this link will either get bigger, or disappear.
We were also very happy with these types of boards, using something similar in our hand made Complete System controller boxes:
Must be voltage regulated! This is just one of many sources for these types of power supplies – 12V, Regulated, 1A or more:
We used these in our Complete System for mounting the white 100mm superbrightled rings (they just fit inside of the outer lip, and will mount to a 72mm lens thread).
The LED ring is mounted to the adapter ring with tiny strips of strong 2-sided tape. We used the 3M VHB .090 Gray 1/2″ – Part #8127A87 @ McMaster-Carr
We drilled a 1/4″ hole in the back of the step ring for a rubber grommet, so the lead could pass through safely and act as a strain relief. Since the sheath can’t protrude up into the ring, we would CA the sheath just as it passed through the grommet (on the LED ring side) and then right-angle the red/black wires about 1” to the side where they were soldered to the 2 ring terminals (they were soldered prior to feeding the rotor wire through the grommet). This is a tricky manuever and you may want to find your own way of doing the wiring through the step ring.
Nonetheless, we used the 9307K35 grommet at McMaster-Carr
50ft – $10
This is a great, 3-conductor, .140” diameter wire. It doesn’t tangle or twist easily, and is very durable. You only need to use the red & black wires. Ignore or snip off the green one.