Here's a peek at what I've been working on...


Sound Modulator
Hey guys, I know I've been blabbering on about these lights for a while... so maybe I'm putting this up a week or two early, but I can't stand it any longer. I have to give you an idea of what I've been working on.

The final version will at least have the option of black enamel or powdercoat... 'cause these are pretty shiny... What I wanted to show is that these things will be tough as a hammer... and I also wanted to give you a peek at the special anodized aluminum that I'm using in the reflectors... which of course, is the very best reflective sheet there is. This reflector design/material nearly doubles the output of a single light! I'm taking the parabolic concept much further then Kino did on their ParaBeam...

I'm also working out some final ideas on stand mounting and what I can offer for a given price. As you may know, the reason I started this is because I don't think there are any good options out there for "affordable" location flos... that are still tough and functional.

So anyway, this doesn't show you much... but hopefully it at least tells you I'm not full of hot air on these projects.

CLICK here to view
wow, looks like you have something great going there. i commend your ingenuity.

I missed the past "blabbering"..what are you making? I see, affordable location flourescent lighting..
Matt, you are a busy man. How heavy are they? I think that would effect suggestions on how to put them on a stand. They do look tough.
Thanks Matt, I was just thinking about messaging you this evening to see how things were going. Those welded enclosures look bombproof. Any estimate on the final weight of the instrument (including barn doors)? The black powdercoat is a good idea because that diamond plate has a mirror-like finish. If the unit isn't too heavy, the best (and cheapest) solution might be to just bolt a standard baby plate to the back and let people mount the instrument to a grip arm. If you wanted to get slightly fancy, you could put on a plate with a baby swivel :

You could also have the option of just drilling the mounting holes for a user purchased Kino-Flo twist on mounting plate. It's expensive, but it does away with the requirement for a grip head + grip arm.

Or, you could just fabricate something yourself, Mr. Hardcore. :laugh:
Looks really good. I like it alot. I would really be interested in them if you had barn doors, and gel holders for them. But it looks really good and can't wait to see a finished prod.
Thanks for the support and interest guys! There's a reason that I've shifted my posting priority to DVXuser over the other boards I belong to... and this is it.

The reason I posted a little bite early is because I've been dying to just show SOMETHING as I've been talking about these lights... but you'll see that I'm addressing everything I can for such a small (and cheap) package. The video clip doesn't illustrate it very well, but this light is small. It's less then 6" x 6" x 23" (about 22.5)... and I could have made it even smaller, but I tested a lot of reflector shapes and sizes... and what I've found is that you can "horn-load" the light... so that a parabolic reflector multiplies the light before exit... the deeper box is really necessary for getting the most out of a single 55w biax tube.

As for weight, I expect these to be the lightest location flos you can get! At the least they'll be equal to the lightest... Right now it's looking like we'll be under 6lbs total... including onboard ballast and a mounting solution. If I fully load a unit with every possible option and you compare it to another system that's equally equipped these should win it. I'll give the weight of 'em down to the 1/10th ounce once they're done. I'm VERY aware that they must be light.

I've bought a bunch of material that's just sitting in my garage! Originally these were to be .080 aluminum... but after bending I found that .063 was MORE then adequate.

Strong? Just to test 'em a bit I did something I ALWAYS do when I build anything... it's like a stupid ritual that I have to do... like kicking the tires on a new car. Now let me emphasize that I don't want everybody to test this if they buy one... but I stood on the back with the light facing down. If I stood on the side of the mouth then I'm sure it would bend, but on the back it held me with no problem... and I'm 200lbs. I probably won't make that a habit.

Gels and Dimming. In this light the priority is on "cheap"... but I also want 'em to be good and functional. That's why the mouth of the light has tabs down both sides. This gives an easy point to clip gels... and with the size of the light one gel sheet will give you 3 equal pieces to clip to the face. I plan to provide a 1,2, and 3 stop gel with each light... and that will give you 7 stops of light control... and that's suprisingly effective as a dimming solution. It's pretty easy to balance key, fill, and background when each light offers 7 levels... and it's so simple to address.

Barndoors. I'm still working out details on this, but I think you'll be impressed with what I have in mind. Basically each end of the light will have removable wings that foamcore will clip to... and the foamcore barndoors will hold position with a nice, fat knob... that's easy to hand tighten/loosen. The reason for this is that barndoors are ALWAYS inadequately small... at least with everything but a Lowel CaseLight... so this way your barndoors can be 2' wide if you want... and you can easily cut them to whatever size and shape you need. I also plan to include removable eggcrate for the face of the light... so barndoors won't be as crucial anyway. I tested a dozen different types of eggcrate and I'll probably offer that in some options too. I've got a TON of it right now. My two favorites are a thin aluminum and a plastic honeycomb with parabolic blades... both black of course. The aluminum shunts light at 45 degrees to the top/bottom and sides... and the honeycomb shunts light to 45 degrees in every direction... and with that one you lose more lumens 'cause the blades are thicker (due to the parabolic).

Mounting. These will be stand mountable at the very least... and they will have the option of any position mounting... I may work out a stirrup later, but I haven't decided on that yet because it would complicate the barndoor setup. (By "complicate" I mean for the user, not for the design.)

Also you may have noticed in the clip that I got the German connectors that Kino and Mole use... and that was a big deal. I had to buy enough of those to build 250-500 lights... and I had to buy a fax machine just to BEG the guys to sell me that ultra-reflective aluminum (which normally has a minimum order or $1K... and I still bought $400 worth)... so the playin' around is pretty much over with...

Barry, I've been using the F810 (your link) for my other location flos for years! That's a great part but it's WAY heavy... too much for these lights... I've got two of 'em in pieces on my kitchen table right now... as I tried modding one for a possible mounting option... For my boom stands the 5/8" pin will drop right in... and if you lose the plate you cut the weight a lot... but I think most people have stands that end in a stud rather then a socket... and unless you get a DOUBLE socket you can't position the lights for TRUE "any position"... so maybe I should offer something cheaper that allows the light to be turned horizontal or vertical and then swivelled up or down... but for an extra $40-$50 I think most people would like any position and that would also give them a socket to place on a stud rather then needing stands that are the other way around.

The any position mounting adds $65 to my cost for a solution that I like better then Kino's lollypop thing... and the F810 would only add about $32 (shipping/mods)... but if I were buying somebody else's product I'd rather pay just a little more for a lot more functionality... Right now it looks like I should have something for under $199... and the full monte will be under $299... in this model. By next week I'll do some math and figure out what these are REALLY costing me... I'm pretty far over what I'd hoped they would be... and I'm not even accounting for all the R&D waste... but I honestly think these will be a bargain for the prices I'll start 'em out at... and any moderators of this forum can check one out for a couple weeks for FREE... I'll pay to ship it to you and to ship it back... because I think you'll be impressed... and you'll want to buy one anyway.
Foamcore barndoors. Brilliant.

As long as they are adjustable; hinges? What a great idea and cost cutting one at that.

You know, I might have missed this part; are these designed with certain bulbs in mind? Will they come with bulbs? Kino bulbs?
Outstanding work, Matt. I did notice the connectors when I saw that little red square release button. I'm confident you're going to have a first rate product because of your attention to detail. There's some small suggestions that I'll write up when I have a minute, but I'm looking forward to evaluating both units and writing up a review for the Articles forum.
John, I'm designing these around Kino's TrueMatch tubes, but you can also use any other 55w biax tube. An alternative would be Osram/Sylvania's StudioLine tubes... Gyoury uses those for their proprietary "wands". Apparently the Kino tubes have close to 10 points on the CRI scale... over the StudioLine tubes... and every site I've found so far indicates more lumens from the Kinos... considering they're in the same price range I'll be sticking with Kino unless I find some new pages to disprove the above info.

I actually considered doing a proprietary connection like the Gyoury, but I don't think that automatically raises the value of the fixture... considering you can use ANY 55w biax with a German 2G11 base... which means MOST 55w biax tubes... plus this keeps the selling price down as well as the cost to run it. Without the proprietary connection you can have both daylight and tungsten for $40... or exactly HALF the cost of the proprietary system.

Also, if you have never clicked a tube in and out of a Kino or Mole Biax then you don't know the pure JOY of how well these connectors work! I'll post a picture that shows the CRAPLOAD of connectors I tried out before choosing these. It came down to Italian or German... and they both make great stuff... it's just that the German connectors allow the tube to drop down into slots rather then push into holes... and when you feel how solidly the tube is held you'll see why these connectors took an EASY first place for me. I absolutely LOVE them.

Barry, I'll hook you up. If you want a pair of 'em to test then you got it... I really want people to see how well this system addresses the most basic needs that I've always struggled with on these spontaneous shoots. What would be ideal is if you give me a chance to address any criticisms that you may have after a week or so... and mostly I want you to assess the real value of these things. I have a friend who has watched the idea develop and she thinks I'm way too cheap... but the first batch is gonna' go cheap no matter what... I just have to figure out my cost per unit and add a little to that. I'm hoping that after I sell the first batch I'll get a little buzz going... stress LITTLE. I'll be ready for whatever demand may come... but I don't want to get locked into this single design... the work I've put into the twin-tube dimming unit is much more significant... but the reason that I shifted my priority to this is 'cause I think the demand for something of this caliber (at a low price) will be so high... You'll have one or two of these to check out within two weeks for certain. You can email me with shipping info at your leisure between now and then.
Cool. I have no problem with giving you my feedback before I post anything. I'm not trying to play "gotcha", but highlight what looks to be a good product for our members.
Very exciting - I can't wait to see the final design along with the review. Thanks Matt for all of your work. I think that you are on to something and will do well with a great product at a reasonable price. I can't wait to hear more ...
This looks hella cool, as does your description of the german connectors - you just can pop them in and they stay there via pressure or? Whatever, I hate fiddling around with lights and getting frustrated, sounds sexy.

Keep up the good work
Here's a little more video while I'm killing time waiting for my metal brake (for bends) and a few other parts that will wrap this first model up. By the end of next week I'll be testing the first 10 of 'em... and getting back to some of my more elaborate ideas.

This clip doesn't really show all that much... I was going to show the pile of drawings, aluminum chips, and bent rejects... but I guess I'm just getting impatient after these past couple months... so I'm just posting video for the hell of it.

One of the things that I really did want to stress in this clip is the superiority of the aluminum reflector that I'm using. This stuff wasn't cheap or easy to get... 'cause it is THE best stuff there is. The little video doesn't do it justice... you can see what WAS the best aluminum I could find on the left... then in the center is the professional reflectors that I ordered (planning to mod them)... and then on the right you can see what ULTRA pure aluminum anodizing looks like! It's in a league of it's own. The other thing I wanted to show was the toughness of these lights... I'm 200lbs by the way... but if you get a light from me there's no returns due to crushing it by doing something stupid... although what's more stupid then jumping on your lights?

CLICK HERE for another pointless clip... as I count down the days until NEXT Friday.

I just put up a couple pics for anybody that's having trouble with the video... the top pic is the fixture body... and under that is a pic I took to illustrate why I'm so impressed with the reflector material.

Thanks for the update. I'm sure that you'll do well selling these. But if you don't you could always market them as the next wave of exercise equipment. :cheesy:
Okay here are a few manufacturing questions. How much do you realistically think you can sell these for? Seems like a lot of time goes into making one. What about weight. all totaled how many pounds do you think these might weight? Seems like the diamond plate is going to make these awful heavy. And key question is about the ballast? Reliability is probably the most important factor in fluorescent ballasts. What's your plan on offering a reliable ballast? I say this because you will have a huge headache when ballast start to fail and you've got a garage full of fixtures that need to be fixed. Maybe the best bet is to make the fixture and tell folks to buy the ballasts from as their ballasts have less than 1% repair rate.
Walter, you've been the first to chime in with negative input out of all three forums that I belong to... first in my other thread and now in this one. What do you have against me?

I'll make it clear to any potential buyers of my stuff what they're getting... and considering that many people... myself included... have made due for YEARS with home-brew lighting I don't think it's a big risk to buy something that's way better then any home-brew stuff... and half the price of the pro stuff.

This project is about bargain-priced alternatives that kick ass... I'm not doing this to hurt (fill in the name of your favorite light company).

If you're hesitant about the quality/competence of my work then by all means please don't buy anything from me! I don't want any customers that I have to convince to try my lights! I can't stress that point enough... to EVERYBODY.

I will not use any sales tactics what-so-ever... I will ONLY show what they do, explain what they are, and let people make up their own minds. If somebody indicates they are "on the fence" between my light and another brand I will PUSH them to the other brand! I'm doing this for my own enjoyment and to HELP people... and if the customers I get take the fun out of it then I'll keep a few for myself, make them to order only for people that "find me" through these threads.

I know that it looks like these lights are a lot of trouble to build. You know why? They ARE! I won't be making any money on these anyway... I'll have to sell something like 40-50 of 'em just to break even. Nobody else would consider doing this! For the prices I'm planning to ask it's a BAD business idea 'cause it's not worth it unless you LOVE it... but I do, and I'd like to see my little ideas used by other DV enthusiasts. (Note that I didn't say "professionals"... I honestly don't think somebody of your professional caliber will even consider my lights.)

In case I haven't made this clear previously... these will be some of the LIGHTEST weight flos out there. The material I'm using is under 1lb per square foot and there's just over 2 square feet of material in the first model's shell... All together we'll be under 6lbs on this unit... INCLUDING onboard ballast... I won't know the exact weight until the first one is 100% done.

When I get the first one totally done I'll post the exact weight.