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

I'm not sure what I want to do next... this last batch kicked my ass. I think I had too much other stuff going video-wise.

I really like the idea of dimming, but the extra cost is something I'm unsure of... meaning I don't think people would be too excited to pay it... but I'm considering a lot of options in all areas. Code's post about the BlueMax tubes is intriguing... but I'm not to eager to return to a large fixture... so more then likely I won't ever go down that road again.

With the last few lights I've sold I included 7 Lee Gels cut from a "quick roll" so they are the perfect size... and this gives the end user THIRTEEN levels of dimming PLUS frost AND 3/4 CTO! And all that while keeping the costs down. I think for the buyers at this level that really solves the dimming issue w/o the extra cost.

I actually have some ballasts set up for dimming flos... but they cost me about $150 each! So imagine what that does to the bottom line... Sooner or later I'll put them in something for myself... but I just don't expect that to be a popular light. I think the appeal for my buyers is in getting something that meets the quantity, quality, control, reliability, durability, convenience, and all temperature performance needs of a location fixture... while still being dirt cheap.

Some days I envision a 2, 3, or 4-bank independently switchable... and I'll probably make some really odd stuff for myself... then I'll post that in a new thread and see if people want 'em.

The dimming flos I've done are science experiments on breadboards and counter-tops... so far nothing "permanent"... I just wire up the boards and check out the results. So far I've done dimming flos with rotary pots and digital address pots... I was really excited about the digital pots because you simply punch in the number and it stays there until you change it... this is great for repeated shoots... if you have multiple shoots over a week you can just notate the number and punch it back up again when you return to that location. Sounds cool no? I thought I was going to set the forum on fire with that light... but like I said the price was getting so high that I put it on the back burner... I actually wired that one up a full YEAR ago!
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My understanding with diming flos is that you should not because it causes a shift in the color output or something like that. But I am not for sure on that.

As for bulbs, they do not have to be 48" long!

BlueMax™ 5900 24" F20-T12 MB

Length: 24 inches
Diameter: 1.5 inch
Wattage: 20 watts
CRI: 93
Kelvin: 5900
Lumens: 840
Pin Configuration: Bi-Pin
Hour Rating: 14,000 hours

BlueMax™ 5900 18" F15-T8 MB

Length: 18 inches
Diameter: 1 inch
Wattage: 15 watts
CRI: 91
Kelvin: 6500
Lumens: 800
Pin Configuration: Bi-Pin
Hour Rating: 14,000 hours

BlueMax™ 5000 22.5" F40-T12MB 6" U-Bend

Length: 22.5 inches
Diameter: 1.5 inch
Wattage: 40 watts
CRI: 91
Kelvin: 5000
Lumens: 3200
Pin Configuration: Bi-Pin
Hour Rating: 30,000 hours

Then there is this bulb:

18w Replacement Bulb Flex Arm/Instant Touch

Use for: UltraluxTM Flex Arm Work Station or Instant Touch Desk Lamp
Wattage: 18 watts
Length: 8.50"
CRI: 91
Kelvin: 6500
Lumens: 1,200
Life: 10,000 hours
Model: PL189165
Not sure if you can use this one, but it has decent output and is short as all get out!

Or beter yet:

55w Replacement Bulb Desk/Floor Lamp

Use for: UltraluxTM 55 watt Floor Lamp or Desk Lamp (not for use in any other brand of lamp)
Wattage: 55 watts
Length: 12.25"
CRI: 91+
Kelvin: 5500
Lumens: 4,300
Life: 10,000 hours
Model: UL559155

IT's wider but has the 4 bubls and look at that output! Just need to figure out the pin setup and maybe the ballast.

I am going witht the 48" setups for now due to ease and time contraints. But my next set of lights will be smaller.

Good luck!


I just got one of Matt's lights last week. They are the real deal not only because of their workmanship but also with Matt's detailed responses and sincerity.

Like others have said, these lights are great additions to any light kit.
Thanks 908... I'm glad you're happy... I hate to come across like Orvil Reddenbacher all the time, but that pretty much sums it up. All I really want out of this is to hear that you guys are happy with your purchase.

Now this is not indicitive of the usual state of my garage... but I was up really late last night testing some on-cam lighting and some people have wanted to see a direct comparison of the LOA DIY light versus the current flo project... I've mentioned doing this before, and I've offered some mild criticism of the LOA DIY because of it's size and fragile nature. I built 5 or 6 of those many years ago and they got me by for a long time... I used to think they were the greatest thing ever... but this little clip will show why I gave most of them away and retired the couple that I kept. Keep in mind that I was constantly doing location interviews for corporate and documentary clients... so I wanted a simple, effective, instant setup light that could take a lot of abuse and keep on working no matter what, and thinking like an engineer I loved the idea of "free power" from a reflector... tubes generate heat, reflectors don't.

That's the simple history of how the current design evolved.

Lights of America Comparison
220 option?

220 option?

Hey Matt,

Really digging the mic cables - beautiful work. Now I read through this thread and I'm wondering if you have the ability to make your lights for 220 volts for use outside the US? I know it's a stretch, but I figured I'd ask.

Thanks again!
I'll probably have universal voltage ballasts integrated at some point... maybe even in the next run.

I have a lot going on right now on the video side of things. Unfortunately I am sold out of the lights you see in this thread... and the future direction of these lights will be up in the air until May 20th (at least). I'll be shooting a doc in Haiti for a couple weeks... but I'm planning on a few cool ideas for budget lighting... as well as some changes on the lights in this thread.

My goals are to produce several lights to cover budgets as low as $100 (they will be NOTHING like the current lights) and keep a light similar to this one (but with some material cost reductions... like no more diamond plate shell) priced under $200. I want to make the current design weigh even less then it's current (already light) weight, and I want to figure out a few ways to cover basic lighting tasks in the absolute cheapest way possible.

Honestly you can't ignore Coder's post up there... so I'm investigating the true output of those tubes. Some of the companies that produce SADD therapy lights claim super high lumen output that you later find was measured at a closer distance... or CRI graphs that aren't accurate... With that post up there I can't ignore the possibilities so I'm experimenting with their tubes to see what I come up with... if something is better for equal cost or just as good at a lower cost then I won't stick my head in the sand.

I try to stay very aware of what's going on in the lighting industry and I'd like to continuously come up with new ways to do things so I'm taking a little break to be sure that whatever I offer to you guys is EASILY the best bang for the buck... I don't want it to even be debateable.
WOW! I am totally impressed with all these kinds of DIY projects that you have accomplished over a year or two. First the Musilux (let me know if I got this wrong, I've been reading here ever since May 06 and just signed up), then the Flos. Matt, you get my gold medal. The adjustable dimmers is a sweet feature that you have implemented into the lights along with the detachable power cable. Keep it up!
Let me know as soon as they are up for grabs. I my have to scrape a few bones together but hay....These are pretty impressive