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JB Earl

Light mat suggestions

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Im looking for everyones favorite ways to use mats or panels in the 9 x 18 size. I have a bunch that are 1x2, and I use them like Kinoflos (2 and 4). But the 9 x 18s are an odd size. Do you put them in soft boxes? Or a couple through a 4 x 4?

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I rarely soften the smaller ones, because it makes more sense to start with a bigger mat for that. Most of the time, I use them with a grid and on two gobo arms extended way over the edge of the frame if I want a little edge on someone or if I want to have small accents somewhere in the set.

 

btw: is anyone else having problems with the build quality of the litemats? The first time I used one I thought someone soldered cheap knock off connections on but it seems those are the ones it comes with. Not really reassuring... Had one fail on me in the field, the rental company told us that was only the third time that mat had been rented.

Edited by Alex Sprenger

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I rarely soften the smaller ones, because it makes more sense to start with a bigger mat for that. Most of the time, I use them with a grid and on two gobo arms extended way over the edge of the frame if I want a little edge on someone or if I want to have small accents somewhere in the set.

 

btw: is anyone else having problems with the build quality of the litemats? The first time I used one I thought someone soldered cheap knock off connections on but it seems those are the ones it comes with. Not really reassuring... Had one fail on me in the field, the rental company told us that was only the third time that mat had been rented.

If you're referring to the first generation of Litemats with the green connectors then yes the build quality isn't the best. At the rental house I work at we purchased the newer generation (Litemat + series I think) and they are much more reliable than the previous ones. Also sometimes the connections would slip out from the connectors and you'd have to re-insert them into the connector with a small tool in the kit.

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I treat litemats like this:

  • Need to stack a few on top of themselves to shoot through a 4x4 frame of diffusion? Simplify the set-up and use a bigger head like a litemat 4. My goal is to have less footprint with my grip and electric
  • Need a light in a weird position? The litemat 1's are great for taping into ceilings, small corners, etc. If the source is too "hard", then I typically add a cut of diffusion on it, like a 250 or 251.
  • Litemats are great for car interiors, especially if the car is moving. They can run off most voltages a car can give through the cigarette liter or can simply use an industry standard battery. Again, they're light weight makes rigging on the car easier.
    • Careful, the bigger the light mat, the more it'll act like a sail. The downside to how light they are is that they're not as strong or sturdy.
  • I use a color meter to dial in the color temp of my litemat. The more recent versions have a more precise system to dial in color temp and color correction, but the most commonly used older models are a crude physical knob that isn't precise at all.
  • I keep the proper screw drivers in a bag with litemats, particularly the 1st and 2nd generation ones. They have the terrible green connectors that can only last for so long. They need a tiny screw driver and wire cutters to fix; the last thing I want is to need those tools on set and not have them.

That's what I can think of the top of my head!

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Contrary to seemingly everyone, I kind of like the original head cables. The Phoenix connectors are of course a pain in the ass (I've been recommend THESE as a means to end the constant slipping / stripping of the wire), but the cable being lightweight and flat has a lot of uses for hiding in places / running cable under doors, etc.

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I'm using 24 volt daylight 1x2 and 1x3 mats on frames direct as keys. I usually place one next to the other to wrap with. I love these things so much, I'm using the book light set up less and less. The mats are major space and time savers. Why bounce when you can have a large flat, soft, evenly radiating source?

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