The Light Widow FRS-Light is a 4×5.65″ matte box that despite its appearance, isn’t like most other matte boxes. Now, this is still in the prototype stage, but it is getting closer to being released.
The Light Widow FRS-Light matte box uses a very unique filter reading system, so that users can easily swap filters in and out without having to go through the process of adding and removing Velcro filter tags to the side of the matte box.
By utilizing small RFID sticker tags, the matte box can not only detect the type of filter that is being used, but also the position of that filter. The position and type of filter being used are then clearly displayed so that the cam op and AC can easily keep track of what is in the matte box.
The RFID sticker tags are attached to the side of the filters.
The main way to program the filters once you have attached a sticker is to use Light Widow’s app. Now, you only have to do this once, after it has been programmed the matte box will always know what filter has been inserted.
If you don’t want to use the app, you can also insert a filter into the matte box to program it. On the matte box display, you will be given a wide array of choices for programming the sticker.
If that wasn’t enough, the FRS-Light logs the filter information and records it to a removable Micro SD card. Using timecode, the filter information can then be combined with video clip metadata in data management software. By adding the filter info to each take, post-production specialists have an easier time matching shots during grading and matching the look of visual effects that are added in post. Now, the way it uses timecode is that you can sync the matte box with a timecode sync device at the start of the day. Everytime you change out a filter, that change will be logged into the timecode metadata that is being recorded on the micro SD card.
Light Widow is also working on a way that will allow the matte box filter information to be combined along with the rest of the camera’s metadata through a program like Silverstack.
The FRS-Light will ship with a removable top flag and options for multiple back clamp diameters, as well as 15mm and 19mm attachable rail support. The matte box can take standard 4×5.65″ trays as well as ARRI F4-sized trays. This allows you to insert diopters and rota polar filters that come inside their own trays.
The matte box also has a removable mounting bracket on the top for attaching Cinetape, etc. Side flags, a swing-away arm, and a rotatable filter stage are also in the works. The shipping versions of the matte box will also all be made out of carbon fiber and aluminum. The side screen will feature Gorilla Glass and the electronics section will be completely weather sealed.
As it does use electronics the battery is currently claimed to last for around a week. The battery is charged via a USB-C input.
The individual RFID sticker tags are only expected to cost around $1 USD each. The tags are meant to be applied once and then you just leave them on permanently, however, Light Widow will also be making other tags that can be removed if you were using rental filters and only wanted to have the tags on for the time of that hire.
Once the tags are on your filters you can still use them in regular filter rays and put them in other matte boxes as well. For rental houses, they can simply just tag their filters up and then still hire them out regardless of whether someone is using a Light Widow matte box or another brand.
Specialized rota-pola and diopter tray RFID tags will also be available. Compatible anti-reflection frames may also be available upon request.
Price & availability
There isn’t currently isn’t any publically listed information on pricing or availability. However, you can sign up to place yourself in a pre-order queue. Light Widow has said that its matte box will be competitively priced compared to other industry lightweight matte boxes that are currently on the market.
If there is one thing that gets me excited in our industry it is when I see real innovation. It is nice to see somebody think outside of the box (no pun intended) and can come up with an innovative way of improving a product that hasn’t fundamentally changed in a very long time.
I like what Light Widow is doing with the FRS-Light Filter Reading Matte Box and I personally can’t wait to see the finished product.