Light Me Up
We all know that when it comes to video lighting, two of the biggest factors to consider when making your investment are versatility and durability. We want lights to do more than just throw some light on the subject. The perfect light would naturally light the subject, remove blemishes, apply make-up, white balance the camera, and pack itself up after the shoot. While this light may never exist, the new Monte Window Light Kit does provide versatility options that move it above competing models in its price range. For the intermediate and advanced videographer looking to spread more light on a scene, this kit might be the perfect solution.
The Monte Window Light Kit comes with 2 Westcott Spiderlite TD5 light heads, two Westcott Tilter Brackets, ten 27-watt 5500K fluorescent bulbs, and two 10′ heavy duty light stands. It also includes two medium size (24" x 32") rugged, fabric soft boxes and a sturdy fabric carrying case.
The all-metal construction of the Spiderlite TD5 head is quite solid. The versatility becomes apparent looking at the five ceramic light sockets that can accept fluorescent, halogen, or strobe bulbs. The surface of the head is reflective, which allows any light falling backward to be reflected forward for increased light output.
The back of the light head features three on/off switches that uniquely control the five sockets in three groups. This allows the user to select any number of lamps, whether you just want one lamp, all five or any number in between. A sturdy handle is mounted on the back toward the right side, giving the user the ability to make adjustments to the light without having to wear gloves. Although gloves are always a good idea when moving lights around. Soft boxes without a handle are a complaint I’ve voiced about with other soft box type lights. In the center, a locking swivel allows the light head to rotate.
Built into the outside rim are 4 rod points, allowing for the attachment of the soft box included in this kit and eliminating the need for an adapter ring. The power cable is permanently attached to the back of the light, so no need to worry about getting to the video shoot and realizing you forgot to bring the power cable (I’m guilty of that one).
The Westcott Tilter Bracket is extremely well built and very solid, holding the weight of the light head and soft box effortlessly, making it very stable.
The highly durable fabric soft box is lined with a reflective surface and is rated for bulbs up to 1,000 watts. Two heat vents located on the opposite ends of the 24" length sides of the box allow for easy ventilation under extreme heat situations.
Included is a color-tested removable diffusion panel, which mounts to the front via a Velcro lining, as well as a snap-on inner baffle, for added diffusion.
The 4 rods are constructed of high carbon stainless steel and although a bit cumbersome to insert into the fabric box, feel very sturdy.
Light It up
Now that it’s all together and resembles that familiar soft box look, it’s time to see how it works. The first thing I notice is how solid it feels compared to other soft boxes in my collection. The stand operates very smoothly, and the light is quite easy to adjust.
Inserting the five 27-watt fluorescent bulbs included in this kit and flipping on the 3 switches, the light comes to life. Balanced at 5500K, the light gives a natural appearance of window light, making this very useful in natural daylight situations
We quickly realize one of the benefits of using the fluorescent bulbs is their very low operating temperature, making the soft light on the subject not only easy on their eyes, but also remarkably cool as well.
The versatility of having the 3 light switches is quite valuable, allowing the user to make quick adjustments without having to move the entire light back and forth.
Overall the Monte Window Light Kit is a well put together kit, built to withstand the abuse of an active videographer. The versatility of being able to go from 27-watt, 5500K fluorescent bulbs to 150-watt, 3800K tungsten halogen bulbs in a matter of minutes is invaluable to any videographer working in varying light situations. The soft box and light stand in this kit are equal in terms of durability and quality. The price tag isn’t as high as I’d expect from such a versatile and sturdy light; however, it still may be a bit high for those just getting into video production.
Number of Lights in Kit: 2
Carrying Case: Yes (fabric)
Accessory: Softbox (2) with inner baffle (2)
Weight: 32 lbs.
Dimensions: 43"L x 10"D x 8.5"W
Power Draw: 3 amps per head
Light Output: 1600 fc./17216 lux @ 3 ft. (with inner baffle and diffusion front)
- Very soft light
- Low power consumption
- Low heat output
- Price tag
- Halogen bulbs sold separately
This light kit is perfect for streaming in a daylight temperature light for that natural and beautiful look.
Brent Holland is a wedding/event video producer and owner of a local video production company.
The F.J. Westcott Co.
1447 N. Summit St.
P.O. Box 1596
Toledo, OH 43603