August Bradley Reviews the Recently Released Fiilex Matrix II Tunable White and the Matrix II RGBW
August Bradley is a filmmaker, photographer, and media entrepreneur. Below are his impressions of the Fiilex Matrix II RGBW and Tunable White LED fixtures.
Hi I am August Bradley and I’m going to talk a little bit today about two new lights from Fiilex. Fiilex has had the Matrix, their original panel light. Now we have the Matrix II Tunable White and the Matrix II RGBW. Both of these lights take advantage of the Dense Matrix technology Fiilex is known for. The Dense Matrix is an LED array that takes a lot of LED chips and packs them together in a way that still allows for heat dissipation, which is usually the problem with packing them in so tight, and the benefit of that is that you have a smaller source of light, and you also have a better blending of the color range within the light. So you get a higher quality of light from this unique proprietary Dense Matrix cluster that Fiilex has created.
These lights take four of the clusters and put them behind diffusion to create this rectangular source. And the result is something that gives you incredible range, an incredible level of control, and a very high quality light. A quality that cannot be surpassed in an LED and, quite frankly, matches traditional bulb lights. But of course it has all the advantages of an LED. Cooler temperatures, a lower power draw, the greater control and flexibility.
One of the remarkable things about these lights is, not only are they incredibly bright, but they go so super low, and these new models give you even more control at the low end. They will dim down to 0%. So 0% – 0.1 – 0.2 – 0.3 up to 1% and then all the way up to 100% which is super bright.
Matrix II RGBW
The difference with the RGBW, is that it’s going to give you the super-saturated primary colors, I mean, it seems to me like every color in the rainbow.
The difference with the RGBW, is that it’s going to give you the super-saturated primary colors, I mean, it seems to me like every color in the rainbow. It’s got the reds, the greens, and the blues. you can control saturation level, and hit every color in the spectrum. So music videos, backgrounds, set design, just really bold vibrant colors—the RGBW will do that.
For my work I tend to just want really good skin tones, and to mix and match with the ambient light. So the Tunable White model is going to let you do that. Through tungsten, all the way up to daylight—a little bit more than daylight, a little bit warmer than tungsten. The range is 2800 to 6500K. The RGBW is able to go 2800-10000K, but then it’s going to go off the spectrum of white altogether, into pretty much any color you can imagine.
So you have maximum control with the RGBW, but the most common range of color temperatures are available in the Tunable White. We’ve also got hue control, which is a plus or minus control for green/magenta. With it you can really optimize balance and blend for other lights, or if something looks off in the skin tone you can fine tune it and optimize color without having to go into post and fix it in color grading.
The fixtures are flicker-free at any frame rate, which is essential these days, and they have very high CRI levels. The CRI varies depending on where you are in the spectrum, but they’re extremely high, among the highest in the industry, and at this point LEDs are not even a compromise in terms of CRI and quality of lighting relative to bulb lights. So we get all the benefits without the drawbacks.
These lights also have DMX control. So you can rig them up—dozens of them, and control the settings from a central source. They are super weather-resistant and incredibly rugged. These fixtures have big, dense rubber bumpers on the side and high-grade aluminum. The yoke is very solid. Altogether extremely solid and robust.
And they are extremely lightweight and compact for this level of brightness in a soft light. Just 9.7 pounds with a ballast around 5 pounds. When you’re building up and breaking down fast, with a limited crew, or traveling with equipment by air, these lights are incredibly convenient.
These lights draw 340W of power, and will output more than a 1K tungsten softlight. That’s how they’re rated, but frankly, I think these go a lot more than a 1K tungsten softlight. I think that’s a pretty conservative rating, but the fact that they draw 340W of power, and go over 1K, that’s phenomenal, and really one of the big benefits of LEDs.
When you’re building up and breaking down fast, with a limited crew, or traveling with equipment by air, these lights are incredibly convenient.
Comparing these to the previous Matrix: they have the improved low light dimming. So they can go dimmer with more precision than the old Matrix. They have a better yoke. It’s positioned further back for a better tilt range and can tighten more securely. Their DMX is DMX/RDM, which is the two-way DMX used in high-end, complex DMX setups. The screen is upgraded to OLED, which is nice. And the XLR power input is compatible with a wider range of batteries.
So now let’s get into the accessories. This is one of my favorite parts of the Fiilex system. So we’ve got the quad-fresnel. It’s designed to channel each of the four Dense Matrix clusters in the fixture. It snaps in very easily to narrow the beam output and increase center intensity by almost 3 times. Then we have the barndoors, which I love. The Fiilex accessories always attach in very clever ways. The Matrix II has an internal bracket for the quad-Fresnel, and an external bracket for the barndoors. With this barndoor you can really control the spill.
Between the Matrix lights, the Fresnels, the smaller P360s—Fiilex is pretty much all that I need any more.
Then, finally, we have the speed ring, which is also incredibly well thought out. So, once again you do have the ability to attach a four rod rectangular softbox, without a speed ring. But, with a speed ring, it pops on like the barndoor. With the speed ring, you can attach softboxes with up to eight rods—so more round, octagonal softboxes. It also rotates. So, if you really want to control the angle and shape and dimension of your rectangular softbox, it can do that. It’s compatible with a wide range of softboxes beyond Fiilex, from brands like Chimera and DoP Choice. So, super-versatile accessories—very well thought out in terms of how they attach. Strong but still lightweight.
So that is what we have with these two new panels. I am incredibly excited about them. The level of control, the solid housings, and the quality of the light—high CRI, well-crafted Dense Matrix light sources that blend the light so evenly. They’ve become a standard part of my kit. Between the Matrix lights, the Fresnels, the smaller P360s—Fiilex is pretty much all that I need any more. So I highly recommend that you give these a try.