It usually takes more than one shoot to get me to commit to a piece of gear but after using the LiteMat just once, I knew it was something that could be used on almost every shoot. For Part 1, I want to go over the first impressions and tech specs to give you a general overview/feel for the light. Let’s dive into that now.
LiteMat is this amazing product from LiteGear which gives you a high output LED fixture that only weighs a couple pounds. One of the things, other than weight, that make these stand out is the soft box that velcros onto the light fixture. This puts the diffusion 2-3 inches away from the LEDs. You have the option of 1/4 grid, 1/2 grid or full diffusion to velcro on. Additionally, there’s an egg crate that can velcro on at the end to help with light spill and give you more control of the light. My problem with other panels is that they just spill everywhere.
The cases are also a well thought out design. Easy to carry, everything fits, and lightweight. Makes the light even more attractive when you have multiple locations in a day to shoot in. Speaking of portability, the LiteMat 1 can be powered via Vmount battery.
***As I am testing I did have a few issues with battery power. The Switronix XP-L90S worked fine but my BlueShape caused flickering after 70% then shut off around 80%. I called LiteGear and immediately talked to someone which is great. There are a few options and the problem lays in the output of the battery and input of the dimmer. I can upgrade the dimmer or get a voltage regulator. However, the Switronix battery has been working fine so I will hold off on those options. I was informed as well that the 2L can be battery powered with the mention solutions which is pretty amazing.
They utilize Kino mounting plates which makes it easy to rig overhead for a soft top light or to arm out for a hair light. To me, this makes the light even more versatile.
So far, these are awesome lights that work in a wide variety of situations. Looking forward to doing further testing and putting together my thoughts for Part 2. For now, here are my initial findings on each light.
The LiteMat 1 is a led panel on steroids. at 21″ long and 11.5″ tall it only weighs 2.3 lbs! Making it unbelievably easy to rig and move around. The output on this is great too. I decided to go with the daylight version to get maximum output. Not to mention, I feel I am always shooting with natural daylight coming from windows and utilizing HMIs. According to LitePanel’s website, they get a foot candle (FC) reading of 67 at 4′. I wanted to get a better understanding of the output from this light so I set my light meter at 500 ISO, 180 degree shutter and 24fps. With no accessories, here is what I got:
For me, that’s helpful to know what my subject, or background will be with this source light. Most of us will be adding the amazing soft box feature with our choice of diffusion. So below is the same test but with 1/2 grid.
This was extremely impressive to me. Again, this was all at 500 ISO so at 8ft, I can get a soft, natural looking key light and not have to be wide open on my primes. Let’s see how this compares to the LiteMat 2L.
What attracted me most to LiteGear was the 2L. It has a similar output to a 4×4 Kino Flo. Similar output and there’s no ballast, it dims, and weighs 3.5 lbs. The daylight version pushes 5846 lumens. The size of this is 40″ x 11.5″ so still portable and makes for a large source key light, soft hair light and even rim light. Just like the LiteMat 1, I did my own light meter testing:
Now this is just an overview and tech specs of the lights. We will dive in deeper in Part 2 of the testing and see what these look like on skin tones and how well it matches daylight coming in from windows.