Dec 21, 2007, 12:07 PM - Backlighting a film cell display
I am looking for information on how to backlight a framed film cell display. I am thinking of buying a display that will have 10 cells and be about 8x10 (not counting the frame's dimensions). But before I do, I'd like to find out if backlighting is something I can do myself. How difficult/easy it is? Just so you know, my level of know-how with electronics borders on zip, zero, zilch, and nada . But I really want to do this if at all possible, so any information or suggestions would be most appreciated!
Dec 21, 2007, 2:04 PM - Re: Backlighting a film cell display
Back lighting is best done using fluorescent lighting or leds due to heat causing problems if you don't vent the box properly. You can use the lamps you get from the hardware store and mount them edgewise or use leds. The hard part is getting everything to light properly as the distance from light source to film will effect the look as well as the "color" of the light source. You want a lamp or led as close to daylight as possible. Experiment and see what works before building your box. I have built the big back lighted boxs called Signs for almost 40 yrs and have run into all kinds of kinks and tricks to cure them if you need some help.
Easy way would be to find a light table or light box of the correct size. Something similar to this
Last edited by Great_Bizarro; Dec 21, 2007 at 2:06 PM.
Dec 21, 2007, 2:05 PM - Re: Backlighting a film cell display
Have you thought about one of those flat lights that doctors use to view x-rays? I'm sure smaller ones are made and could probably be modified for a cooler look.
Dec 21, 2007, 9:57 PM - Re: Backlighting a film cell display
I haven't done it myself, but I have been looking at using Electroluminescent Sheets to backlight things like this.
Dec 21, 2007, 10:07 PM - Re: Backlighting a film cell display
Great info and suggestions! thanks!
I'm gonna check out the links you've provided and see what's what! thanks again!!
Dec 21, 2007, 11:03 PM - Re: Backlighting a film cell display
Check out the following thread. It is for building lightboxes for posters but it should give you some ideas for your 8x10 box.
For a cheap source of light, try White LED Xmas lights. Costco also sells LED light sticks.
Last edited by ictvuser; Dec 21, 2007 at 11:04 PM.
Reason: Correct link
Dec 21, 2007, 11:27 PM - Re: Backlighting a film cell display
FWIW, beware of fading your film frames from prolonged/frequent exposure to light.
Dec 22, 2007, 6:03 AM - Re: Backlighting a film cell display
Yeah, fluorescents have some UV's -- worse when brand new.
Dec 22, 2007, 8:00 AM - Re: Backlighting a film cell display
I would think you could get a small strand of LED christmas lights (white ones) and staple them to the box behind each cell.
Keeping my lousy nickname
Dec 22, 2007, 10:16 AM - Re: Backlighting a film cell display
Know that EL sheet fades with usage. If we are talking about the same stuff that is used for EL lightsabers, then it has a life of around 1000 hours - this means that if it is lit 24/7, then it will be half as bright within two months. On the other side, it provides even brightness all over its surface.
One problem with bulbs and simple LEDs is that they are point light sources, that should be diffused, or you will notice a gradient in the image. You can diffuse the light by pointing the light source against a matt white background a little bit behind the cell, and/or having a diffusing filter right behind the film cell.
There are LED modules on the market now that have many small LEDs in a matrix for illuminating a small surface, such as backlighting in a LCD display, but they are not as easy to come by and they are a bit more expensive.
For lighting a film cell, I glued a half-cylinder of white paper behind the cell, and lit the inside from each end with "Neutral White" LEDs.
Last edited by Darth Lars; Dec 22, 2007 at 10:19 AM.
Dec 22, 2007, 10:36 AM - Re: Backlighting a film cell display
Wow! More great suggestions! Thanks for the input everyone! I really appreciate it!
Mike, thanks for the pics! your display is exactly what I had in mind! what brand of EL sheets did you use? How often do you have the film cells lit up? As Treadwell and Darth Lars mentioned, there are issues will both light and film cell degradation. I don't plan to have mine lit 24/7, but would certainly like to have them lit quite often! I guess if you have a full sheet and cut strips from it, then you could just replace the strips every so often without much difficulty!?!?
Well, this is looking more doable all the time! Thanks again everyone!! Happy Holidays!!
Dec 22, 2007, 11:13 PM - Re: Backlighting a film cell display
Mike... who did you purchase your EL from?
Last edited by Rebelscum; Dec 23, 2007 at 6:02 PM.
Dec 23, 2007, 4:05 PM - Re: Backlighting a film cell display
Wow I have that same display. I used a shhet of white paper backing and went to craft store and picked up some of the small led's in the wedding section. There are like 20 on a strant and work well if spaced around the edge of the film cell.
Dec 30, 2009, 1:12 PM - Re: Backlighting a film cell display
I just got a framed film cell for x-mas. Has anybody done this recently. This thread is two years old. The new x-mas led light seem promising.
Dec 31, 2009, 1:58 PM - Re: Backlighting a film cell display
I am looking into making something like this myself. I just picked up a few small bags of 35mm clippings. Most seem to be from trailers, but I haven't looked at all of them yet. I plan on avoiding florescent lighting as the backer because it is basically a UV light with florescent powder on the inside of the tube to be illuminated. I was thinking of using milk plexi for the backing and individual LED's for each slide. I picked up some inexpensive shadow boxes at Target and Big Lots, as well as some Craft supply places.
Dec 31, 2009, 8:58 PM - Re: Backlighting a film cell display
Aug 18, 2011, 1:32 AM - Re: Backlighting a film cell display
How would you achieve something like this
Aug 18, 2011, 2:23 AM - Re: Backlighting a film cell display
These are great ideas! I've got tons of cell's from Star Wars (original), CE3K, Akira, All the Trek's and many more!
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