Mat Mounts are a clever solution for mounting flexible LED lights. If you are like me you have a love/hate relationship with flexible LED lights. I love the concept, I just hate the execution.
Having a lightweight, flexible LED light makes a lot of sense when you are travelling. They are easy to transport and are adaptable enough to be used in a variety of ways. The problem is that they are a pain to mount and the various x-mount and other types of frame solutions are cumbersome, awkward, and inevitably end up breaking. I won’t even start talking about the multiple components and array of cables that you need to attach when using a flexible LED panel!
The Mat Mount isn’t a magic solution, but it has been designed to make mounting your flexible LED lights a whole lot easier. Mat Mounts will be available to back through a Kickstarter campaign.
The Mat Mounts are the brainchild of Jake Gardiner, a 37 year old DP from Eden Prairie, Minesotta.
Like a lot of products that are created by DPs, the Mat Mounts were born out of neccessity. Jake found himself travelling a lotfor work and the appeal of flexible LED panel lights lead him to purchase both 1×1 and 2×1 Aladdin lights.
While Jake loved the lights, he wasn’t the biggest fan of the mounting brackets that came with the lights. The last straw was when he was using a light on an overhead boom arm and the mounting bracket failed and almost hit the talent in the head.
This lead Jake to try and come up with a better solution and ultimately that is how the Mat Mounts came into existence. Jake never intended to actually put the Mat Mounts into production as he was originally just going to make something for himself.
When he showed other people what he had done, they liked what they saw.
What are Mat Mounts
Mat Mounts are a simple, lightweight solution that allows you to mount flexible LED panels quickly and securely.
They are constructed out of 6mm corrugated plastic with an aluminum twist lock receiver on the back. Velcro or hook and loop attachment points are placed on the Mat Mounts so both the light and other accessories such as softboxes can be secured.
Build quality & weight
The Mat Mount Jake sent out for me to take a look at is still a prototype and not the finished version. While it is still a prototype it is a fully functioning version. The only real changes will be cosmetically.
I weighed the 2×1 Mat Mount at 530g (1.17lb). Although I would have liked to have seen a lighter solution I think the Mat Mounts is a goog compromise between rigidity and weight. If you make something too light and it’s not strong enough, it is likely to break.
The corrugated plastic does allow for a bit of flex so it won’t break. The aluminum twist lock receiver on the back helps create a more stable mounting platform.
Speaking of the aluminum twist lock receiver, this is perhaps my favorite feature of the product. This is a mounting system that should be used by far more manufacturers. It’s simple, very secure, allows you to position a light in any direction, and it allows you to keep the footprint of the light to a minimum.
The only downside to using an aluminum twist lock receiver is the weight of the receptor. The receptor that comes with the Mat Mounts weighs in at 605g (1.33lb). While that may not sound like much, if you combine the receptor and the Mat Mount you are looking at 1.13kg (2.5lb).
So how does it work?
The Mat Mounts are very simple to use. All you need to do is place your panel light straight onto the Mat Mount and that is it. It’s about as simple as it gets.
Once you attach your flexible panel to the Mat Mount you can then just velcro down the diffusion or softbox you want to use.
Unfortunately, with flexible LED lights you still have the pain of connecting up power supplies and all the associated cables that come with the lights.
Although the Mat Mounts are easy enough to transport you do need to remember that they won’t pack down into the same footprint as a flexible light that can be rolled or folded. While the Mat Mounts don’t take up too much space you still need to put them in a bag that is long enough and wide enough to accomodate them.
What you also need to take into account is that because the Mat Mounts have velcro on both sides they will stick to certain types of material. I found I couldn’t put the Mat Mount directly in one of the bags I use because it ended up just sticking to the side of the bag which made it difficult to take out.
Do I like the Mat Mounts?
In short, yes. I love the simplicity of the design and the aluminum twist lock receiver. It’s fairly obvious that this product has been designed by an end user of a product. Thought has gone into the design and it does its intended job well.
Price & Availability
Jake is hoping to have the Mat Mounts available to ship by September this year. There will be two versions available, a 1×1 and a 2×1. They will work with just about any flexible panel lighting solution from companies such as Aladdin, Westcott, and DP Lumi.
Currently, you can back the Mat Mounts and get a 1×1 version for $175 USD, or a 2×1 version for $185 USD. Now, this is not particularly cheap, but you need to remember that this a product being made and produced by a very small company. In my personal opinion, I think this product needs to be priced below $100 USD to be successful.
LIke any crown funding campaign there is never any guarantees. Newsshooter always reccomends that you use caution and common sense when backing any project.