The Intellytech MEGA-LiteCloth 3’x 4.5′ Foldable LED Mat Kit is a large, flexible LED light that has the versatility to be used for a wide range of lighting applications.
The light is Kelvin color adjustable from 3000K to 10,000K.
Intellytech has previously released 1′ x 3′ and 2′ x 2′ Foldable LED Mat Kits. The new MEGA-LiteCloth 3’x 4.5′ dwarfs both of those lights by a considerable margin. In fact, at 3’x 4.5′ it is one of the largest foldable LED lights available on the market.
Big size, small to travel with?
With most large lighting fixtures you can’t have your cake and eat it too. There is always going to be a compromise that you have to make, and this even applies to foldable and flexible light mats.
The Mega-LiteCloth is essentially 8 1×1 panels that are combined to create a single large lighting source.
The Intellyech 3’x4.5′ LED Mat folds down to a 14″x 16′ x 0.5″ square. The design allows the user to create, broad, bright, natural-looking light in relatively easy to travel with package that can be set up quickly.
I say relatively easy to travel with package, because you still have to factor in the size of the frame and the weight and the size of the power supply. This is the caveat to owning one of these large foldable LED mats.
The actual MEGA-LiteCloth 3’x 4.5′ weighs in at just 1.6kg (3.5lb).
If I was going to be traveling with the light and taking a lot of flights I would probably ditch the frame and simply use other methods to hold the light up.
Lots of power
The Mega-LiteCloth 3’x4.5′ LED Mat is the most powerful fixture Intellytech has ever made. It draws 300W and it can be run off camera batteries.
What do you get?
The lighting kit consists of:
- Mega-LiteCloth 3’x4.5′ LED Mat
- Mounting bracket
- Controller w/ attached battery plate (v-mount or gold mount)
- Carrying case
Now, you need to be aware that this case with everything inside it weighs in at 16 kg (35.2 lb). This isn’t too bad, to be honest.
The case it comes in is not too bad, but I’m not quite sure how it would handle the rigors of air travel. I can’t complain too much though, as usually a case this size would not be included as standard with a light and it would cost hundreds of dollars to purchase separately.
In my personal opinion, I think the case is too big for the light. It is long for one reason and one reason only, that’s to fit the fast frame. As you always need light stands I would personally put the fast frame in with my light stands and keep the light and power supply in a much smaller bag.
I can, however, appreciate why Intellytech wanted to give customers a case that could fit everything in it. The nice thing is, you can use it if you want, or if you prefer another option you can decide what works best for you.
If you are going to use the case then I would put other items inside there to maximize the space.
Controller & Power Supply
The Mega-LC has a controller with a built-in AC adapter. It also has either two V-Lock or two AB Gold Mount battery plates depending on which version you choose.
The power supply/controller is intuitive and straight forward to use. You can clearly see the Kelvin color temperature and output on the display screen.
While you can power the light from camera batteries, it’s important to note that two batteries are required due to the high power draw. Each battery should be at least 150Wh and 10.5Ah or higher. I tried using two Anton Bauer Dionic XT 150VM batteries on the light and it worked at 100% output without any issues. These batteries are 156Wh 14.4V batteries.
In a nice touch, the power supply/controller has built-in circuit protection, so if you try and use it with incompatible batteries it will shut itself off.
It is still impressive that you can power a light of this size from two fly safe batteries. You do need do be aware though that it is only going to work with certain batteries.
There is no sugar coating it, the power supply/controller is reasonably large and heavy, but in saying that, it really isn’t that big considering it is powering what is essentially 8 1×1 sized panels. I weighed the power supply/controller at 2.4 kg (5.29 lb).
Flexible and foldable LED mats are great because they are compact and lightweight, but they still require power like any other light. They can’t magically produce a lot of output without a fairly large power supply.
The Mega is ready for worldwide use via its universal 110-240v AC power supply.
The controller also lets you select a variety of effects that you can choose to use:
- Lightning 1
- Lightning 2
- TV Screen
- High/Low Beam
- Double Flash (Hazard)
- Warm Breathing
It is nice to see a flexible panel light with effects. I can’t recall any other flexible lights off the top of my head that can do this.
The Mega can be set up to a DMX512 board for studio use. Additionally, all units can be controlled via the optional LC-WR Wireless Remote. You can choose to control a Mega individually, or by syncing them together for simultaneous control.
The power supply/controller does have an in-built fan that is always on. It does make some noise and whether you will find it an issue will depend on what you are using the light for. Intellytech does sell optional 20′ or 32′ LiteCloth Extension Cables that go between the light and the power supply/controller so you can move the unit further away from the light if need be. I would recommend getting one of these.
The overall build quality of the Mega is pretty good. The power supply/control unit is robustly constructed and all of the connections are good.
The fast frame has been designed to be lightweight and portable, so Intellytech has had to compromise between weight and rigidity. While there isn’t anything wrong with the frame, I still think you need to treat it carefully if you want it to last for many years.
The biggest concern I have when it comes to build quality is probably the attachment pin that is on the fast frame.
All of the weight of the light and the fast frame is getting put onto this attachment pin. The other problem I found is because this center bar with the attachment pin isn’t in the center of the frame, the light would always end up leaning slightly to one side.
The included mounting bracket is reasonably heavy duty and it does allow you to angle the light in a lot of directions.
I think it makes a lot more sense to use a boom arm or light stand with a clamp to hold the frame. I actually think Intellytech should have included a couple of the clamps that come in their Fast Frame Scrim kits.
Set-Up Time & Usability
The biggest downside of using most flexible or foldable LED lights is that they are a pain to set up. You normally have to construct up frames and mounts and then hook them up to controller units and power supplies. The Intellytech uses a quick and intuitive frame. The included frame uses a similar design as Intellytech’s Fast Frames. It simply folds and unfolds into place, requiring no assembly.
It can be assembled in seconds and there is only one locking mechanism that you need to tighten on the frame.
The LED Mat then attaches via grommets to the Frame.
I love the design of these Fast Frames, and it is one of the main reasons the Intellytech FF-5×6.5’HC Fast Frame Scrim Diffuser with Grid and Diffusion is one of my go-to lighting tools.
If you are working by yourself or in a small crew you need to be able to set up lighting quickly. The Mega Litecloth is not something you can set up in 60 seconds, you are going to have to factor in around 3-5 minutes to set it up, slightly longer if you want to attach the diffusion or honeycomb grid.
I found it quicker to just keep the tie downs that attach to light to the frame on the Mega Cloth’s eyelets. If you are using the light by yourself it is easier if you attach the top two corners first and then work your way around.
If you are using the light in a vertical orientation you only need to use four of the tie-downs. If you are using it in a horizontal position, then you need to use all of them.
The diffuser is very quick to install. It just attaches over the frame on all four corners.
You also get a honeycomb grid in the kit. The problem I found with the honeycomb grid is you can’t really use it with the diffusion. You need to use one or the other. I tried putting the honeycomb grid over the top of the diffusion, but it doesn’t fit.
One of the downsides, as I mentioned earlier, is you have to carry around the large controller/power supply. The included case the kit comes in certainly isn’t small either. The nice thing is you don’t have to use that case and I found myself more times than not packing the light into a smaller bag.
I found that you could use the light by just hanging it or attaching it to one or two light stands and not use the frame. The position of the light will still stay fairly flat even without using the frame. The only downside to doing this is you can’t attach the diffuser to the light.
As the MEGA is so large you can also fold it around into two sides so you can effectively light two different directions at once.
I also found it was nice to use it where you only fastened half of the light to the Fast Frame. This way you can create a nice angled lighting source. You can also dangle the diffusion at the back and sort of create a defacto book light. There really are many ways you can use it.
The great aspect of flexible lights is your ability to shape them and manipulate them to create unique light sources.
What I also love about this light is you can use components from the kit with other lights and as lighting accessories. The diffuser can be used with any other type of light and because of its size and the fact that it remains rigid when folded out it is easy to use in this regard.
The frame can also be used if you just want to place the diffusion on it and use it with another light, or you could even just attach your own diffusion to the frame.
Output & Color Temperature Accuracy
A big factor for a lot of people when buying a light is how much output it can produce. Intellytech claims that the light puts out around 8,000 lux @ 1 meter when it is set at 5600K. Well, lets put that to the test. I tested the lights output at a variety of Kelvin color temperatures both running on mains and battery power using a Sekonic C-800 at a distance of 1m (3.28ft) in a controlled environment; you can see the results below.
Above you can see the Mega-LiteCloth 3’x4.5′ LED Mat recorded an output of exactly 8000 lx 744 (fc) when set at 5600K and run off mains power. This is identical to the claimed output from the manufacturer. 8000 lx from a flexible LED light is impressive.
The Mega-LiteCloth produced a Kelvin color temperature of 5592K, which was extremely accurate. As you can see above, it is basically dead on for creating a 5600K source. The light also had a CC Index score of 0.2M.
I also tested how much output the light had when being run off v-lock batteries. Usually, lights have less output when being run off batteries as opposed to mains power. The Mega-LiteCloth had an output of 7260 lx (674 fc) at 5600K. That was 9.25% less than when it was run off mains power. This is marginal loss and one most users would probably struggle to see.
Above you can see the results from when I set the light at 50% output. I did this to see just how linear the dimming curve is for the light. At 50% output it produced 4550 lx (423 fc). This showed me that the light doesn’t have a liner dimming curve. If the dimming curve was completely linear I would have expected to have seen a result right around 4000 lx.
As the light also comes with diffusion I wanted to do another test to see how much output is being lost when you use it.
Above you can see that when the light had diffusion attached it recorded an output of 6700 lx (623 fc). This was 16.25% less output than when using the light without the diffusion. This shows me that the diffusion is quite light in strength.
What was also interesting is that the diffusion slightly changed the Kelvin color temperature reading I was getting. With the diffusion, I got a reading of 5303K which was quite a bit lower than when the light is used without the diffusion. This is something to keep in mind, because you may want to increase the color temperature slightly on the controller to compensate for this.
Above you can see the lights output when it was set at 3200K. It produced 6480 lx (602 fc), which is 19% less than the 8000 lx it produced at 5600K.
As far as Kelvin color temperature accuracy goes, it recorded a fairly accurate reading of 3299K. Just like at 5600K, the reading at 3200K showed a slight push towards magenta (0.3M). The light is not nearly as Kelvin color accurate at 3200K as it is at 5600K, but it is still pretty good.
How does it perform at various Kelvin color temperatures?
Summary of results
|KELVIN COLOR TEMPERATURE
The light has a reasonably consistent output when used at 4500K and above, but you do lose output once you go below 4500K.
The results also show me that the light is very accurate when it comes to Kelvin color temperature reproduction across its entire range. Only at 9999K was it a little off. From 3000K to 8500K it is one of the most consistent lights I have ever tested when it comes to accurate Kelvin color reproduction.
So now that we have seen how much output the Mega-LiteCloth produces, how does it perform when it comes to replicating accurate colors. Above you can see that when the light was set at 5600K it recorded an average CRI (R1-R8) of 96.9 and an extended CRI (R1-R15) of 95.06. For replicating accurate skin tones it recorded for 85.7 R9 (red), 97.5 for R13 (closest to caucasian skin tones), and 95.7 for R15 (closest to Asian skin tones). These are very good results.
The light when set at 5600K also recorded a TLCI score of 99.
As a comparison, I compared the color rendering of the Intellytech to the Aladdin Bi-Flex2 Bi-Color LED Panel 1×2. The Aladdin has excellent color rendering scores and I personally consider it to be a benchmark for flexible LED panels.
|Aladdin Bi-Flex2 Bi-Color LED Panel 1×2
|Intellytech MEGA-LiteCloth 3’x 4.5′ Foldable LED Mat Kit
Above you can see a head-to-head comparison of the Aladdin Bi-Flex2 Bi-Color LED Panel 1×2 and the Intellytech Mega-LiteCloth when used at 5600K. Despite the large size of the Intellytech is stands up very well to what I consider to be the industry benchmark.
Above you can see the scores for when the light was used at 3200K. It recorded an average CRI (R1-R8) of 98.1 and an extended CRI (R1-R15) of 96.43. For replicating accurate skin tones it recorded 89.4 for R9 (red), 98.6 for R13 (closest to caucasian skin tones), and 96.8 for R15 (closest to Asian skin tones). These are excellent results.
The light, when set at 3200K, recorded a TLCI score of 99.
|Aladdin Bi-Flex2 Bi-Color LED Panel 1×2
|Intellytech MEGA-LiteCloth 3’x 4.5′ Foldable LED Mat Kit
Above you can see a head-to-head comparison of the Aladdin Bi-Flex2 Bi-Color LED Panel 1×2 and the Intellytech Mega-LiteCloth when used at 3200K. Again, just like at 5600K the Intellytech stands head-to-head with the Aladdin.
SSI (Spectral Similarity Index) was developed by the Sci-Tech Council of the Academy. SSI gives me the ability to set any light as a standard, or use predefined standards (such as CIE D55), and then give other lights an SSI score based upon how well they will match standards such as CIE D55 measure spectral response and compare it directly against an ideal light source.
SSI is a much better way to judge an LED light than CRI or TLCI.
SSI is useful to see how well different lights will play together. As the Sekonic C-800 Spectromaster can measure SSI, I decided to test out the Mega-LiteCloth to see how it performed.
Above are the scores for the light when used at 3200K. The scores show that the light does a very good job of accurately replicating a 3200K (Tungsten) source. Any score in the mid to high 80’s is outstanding for an LED light.
Above are the scores for the light when used at 5600K. The scores show that the light does a very good job of accurately replicating a CIE D55 source. A score in the low to mid 70s is very typical for a 5600K LED light.
The main reason we want to record SSI scores is so we can see how well they match with other lights. I was curious to see how well the Mega-LiteCloth matched the Rotolight Titan X2 at both 3200K and 5600K. Below you can see the results.
As you can see the Mega LiteCloth and the Rotolight are not a perfect match when used at 5600K. A score of 87 is still pretty good, but you would need to adjust both lights to get them to the point where they were a closer match.
At 3200K the Intellytech and Rotolight match in a similar way that they did at 5600K.
Being able to measure SSI in advance and compare different lights you may be using together is a great way of finding out what lights will work together and what adjustments need to be made.
Above you can see the spectral distribution of the Mega-LiteCloth when it is set at 5600K. The spectral distribution is nice and full and there aren’t any spikes.
Above you can see the spectral distribution of the Mega-LiteCloth when it is set at 3200K. The spectral distribution is nice and full and the light only has the slightest bump in green.
As a comparison, above you can see what the spectral response of a tungsten light bulb looks like.
Real-World Performance and Quality of Light
As I always say, photometric scores only tell you part of the story. So do the scores from the Mega-LiteCloth translate into real-world performance? The simple answer is yes. The quality of the light that is coming from the Mega-LiteCloth is really nice.
As far as how the light looks, it really does produce a beautiful large soft source. With the included diffusion you get this lovely quality of light.
Above you can see a few frames where the only light being used on the subject is the MEGA-LiteCloth. It is positioned above the camera, front on to the subject.
I found that even without using any diffusion at all I could still create a very flattering light source. In my opinion, you just can’t beat a large source if your ultimate aim is to produce soft, even light with no shadows.
Above you can see a few frames where I am punching the light straight into a silver reflector and using it as an indirect source.
In the example above I have the light side on to my subject bouncing into a silver scrim.
I also found it really nice to have a large source with lots of output. This light certainly punches above its weight and I found that it could easily be used instead of a powerful 2×1 LED light that is being punched through diffusion.
Above you can see the light being used to punch through some Japanese screens.
The diffusion isn’t super strong, but it does do the trick. My only real complaint is I wish Intellytech made a couple of optional diffusion screens that were a stronger strength.
You can create super soft light using the diffusion and placing it above your subject or over a table, etc. Above you can see a few quick frames where the light is placed directly above a table. You can see how nice and even the light is and how you get very soft shadows even when you are very close to the surface of the table.
As the light is a flexible panel, you can also bend it in half and have one side of the light facing one direction and the other side of the light facing the opposite direction. This makes for a very quick and easy solution if you need to light the interviewer and the interviewee with a limited amount of lights.
I also found you could create a nice book light by punching the MEGA into a white/silver scrim and then back through the included diffusion frame.
The very wide beam angle certainly makes it a very versatile fixture. You can use it to indirectly bounce light into a ceiling or a wall and it produces a nice indirect lighting source. If you just need brute power it also works well.
I like that I can use the lights via mains power or through V-lock camera batteries with only a marginal sacrifice when it comes to output.
It also works well because of its large size when lighting people head to toe.
I really enjoyed using this light, it is so versatile that I found myself using it a lot on a variety of different projects.
Who is the Mega-LiteCloth aimed at?
You could use the Mega-LiteCloth for lots of different applications, but the light is certainly being targeted as a high output, portable light source that can be used either indoors or outdoors.
Whether the Mega-LiteCloth is likely to appeal to solo shooters and small crews who are looking for a travel-friendly and affordable large lighting solution is debatable. I personally think it could be used in that capacity given its output, with the only real caveats being the size and weight if you put everything in the included case. You could easily strip the light down and not take it in the large travel case and just use some common light stands to hold it up.
Other alternatives include the Falcon Eyes RX-120TDX. This is a 120cm x 120cm flexible 600W power draw, 3000K – 5600K light. It retails for around $2,000 USD. The problem with the Falcon Eyes, is you can’t run it off camera batteries.
There is also the Aladdin FABRIC-LITE 350W. This is a 3′ x 3′ mat that is Kelvin color adjustable from 2900K to 6200K. It draws 350W and retails for $3,150 USD.
The remote controller is fairly simple, but it works well and if you are behind the camera and you want to make an adjustment it makes a lot more sense than walking over to the light and making an adjustment on the controller.
The Intellytech MEGA-LiteCloth 3’x 4.5′ Foldable LED Mat Kit is available in two versions for $1,749 USD. The only difference between the two versions is the choice of either V-Lock or AB Gold Mount battery plates on the controller/power supply.
The MEGA-LiteCloth is well priced and you certainly get a lot of value for money. If you think of the light as 8 individual 1×1 panels you are essentially only paying around $250 USD for each panel.
I personally think it offers good value for money considering what you get for your $1,749 USD.
The Intellytech MEGA-LiteCloth 3’x 4.5′ Foldable LED Mat Kit could very well be one of my favorite lighting products of the year. It produces a beautiful soft light, it is powerful, reasonably easy and quick to set up, multi versatile, and it offers good value for money considering what you get.
The light isn’t going to be suitable for everyone, but I have found myself using it a lot. There are elements that could be improved, but Intellytech has done an excellent job with this light.