On a film set, when lighting for beauty shots, cinematographers use the biggest, softest lights we have, to make actors and models look their best.
A big light wraps gently around features on the face, and a soft light evens out skin tone and diffuses any hard shadows - so bumps and creases disappear.
Created by Australian film professionals and based on these lighting principles, BIGSOFTI is a mobile, high quality, bi-colour LED soft panel that delivers stunning diffused lighting for better photos, videos and video calls on all your devices.
Check out the before and after below - which do you prefer?
Late night FaceTime calls with the team overseas? Make sure you always look your best with soft bright mobile lighting.
With a variety of different ways to mount BIGSOFTI, you can use it all sorts of different places for all sorts of different purposes.
Do you shoot handheld on a gimbal? We know they can be tough to balance. BIGSOFTI weighs just 74 grams (2.6 oz) - it's so lightweight, you'll hardly feel it.
Aussie DOP Peter Eastgate ACS (Netflix "GO") on a recent FOXTEL TV commercial using BIGSOFTI as an eye light.
Whether you're a cinematographer on an Arri Alexa or an influencer shooting content on your iPhone - BIGSOFTI will help brighten up your frames.
Simple 2 button function - for a combination of 9 different light settings:
Button 1 - Power On & Brightness Adjust - LOW - MID - MAX.
Button 2 - 3 Colour Temperature Setting - DAYLIGHT - CLEAN WHITE - TUNGSTEN.
Match the lighting in your surroundings with the variable colour temperatures. Cooler daylight for scenes lit by the sun. Tungsten for indoors with warmer light globes. Clean White for when there is a mix in the scene, or those times when you're not quite sure.
Control your lighting angle by up to 45 degrees with the rotating barrel connector built into all accessory mounts.
Easily attaches to mobiles in seconds via the bowed flex of the universal clip. Over-moulded rubber edges for great grip that will never scratch your devices.
The designed of the Universal Clip has been created to fit phones both with cases and those without. Flexible and resilient to fit all leading smartphone, tablets and laptops.
Cutout designed into Universal clip allows BIGSOFTI to be simply placed directly above the webcam on laptops - for even, front lighting.
Quick and easy accessory changes with the custom rotating barrel mount. Each accessory simple slides in and out.
Cold-shoe attachment designed to fit traditional cameras. Plus 1/4" 20 thread mount in base allows for use on tripods and light stands.
BIGSOFTI has been designed for maximum big-ness but to still to have a footprint smaller than your mobile. Size compared here to the regular iPhone X.
BIGSOFTI is super lightweight at just 74g / 2.6 oz. For reference the iPhone X weighs 167g / 5.9 oz.
Whether for night out with friends or off to a shoot with a client, BIGSOFTI is easy to transport. Super compact, super lightweight and super bright.
Battery life on current prototypes is approx 95 mins at MAX | 140 mins at MID | 240 mins at LOW. And full charge from flat is around 2 hrs. *Subject to battery age and weather conditions.
USB-C allows for operation while charging, so if a need ever arises the unit can be run from a power source.
As we are injection moulding the diffusion panel, we will have full control of elements that effect the panel opacity (we'll be experimenting with the mix of composite ingredients / diffusing powders that give a glow effect etc). Once we have the tooling complete and can experiment with these options, fine tuning will take place to balance the LED outputs VS the diffusion opacity. As a result run times may vary up or down slightly in final production model.
While CRI is a commonly cited score, as a film professional, a more important rating is the Television Lighting Consistency Index or TLCI. It also runs from 0-100. Our LED rating of 98+ puts us in the range where any colour variation is so small, a film colourist would not consider correcting it.
Grab a single BIGSOFTI for perfect front lit photos and video direct from your mobile, tablet, laptop or camera. The diffused lighting from our photography grade, bi-colour LEDs will help you create more professional looking content quickly and easily.
Single BIGSOFTI rewards are available with the option of a single accessory pack if you want one specific mount only - or a triple accessory pack, if you'd like the versatility of all three mounts.
Get a two pack for a 'two-light setup' - the standard for most simple filming situations.
Key light: The key light is the strongest, providing most of the light in the shot. It’s generally placed in front of your subject, around 45-degrees above and 45-degrees to the right or left. You can use BIGSOFTI at a higher setting for your key light.
Fill light: This is a lower intensity light, used to fill in shadows on the subject’s face. It should be positioned to the side opposite the key light. You can use BIGSOFTI at a lower setting for your fill light.
And if you want to look even better you add a third light . . .
Follow the two-light setup above, but also position your third light behind your subject facing back towards the camera. This backlight or hair-light throws a lovely rim of light to help separate your subject from your background for added depth to the image - making your content look more professional.
My name is Al Morrow, I'm a Sydney-based TV commercial director who’s worked with global brands in both Australia and the US for over a decade.
I'm the guy who walks into a room and has to fight the urge to adjust the lights. Lighting quality literally affects how we see the world, and yet so many people hardly give it enough thought.
I know how important lighting is when filming, well, anything and because I shoot photos and videos on my phone all the time, I wanted to bring the same kind of high-quality light that I use on my film sets to my mobile.
Even though I’d been thinking of ways to bring film lighting to my phone, my ‘aha’ moment for BIGSOFTI didn’t come on set or even during a shoot. It came one day in the car. My wife was driving and her sister was in the backseat; taking selfie after selfie. She was holding up a jacket to cut out the direct sunlight and complaining that her photos either had too many hard shadows or were being blasted by the phone flash.
I commented to her, that without her knowing it, she was cutting and shaping light in a similar way that we would on a film set and that if she wanted full control of her image, she’d need to have a small, powerful, soft light with her. Her face lit up (no pun intended) 'that would be great!'. Many months later, she was the first person we started our tests on, comparing our soft light to the hard light of the phone flash.
That was when I realised this was not just a product I would use. Everyone (director or not), uses cameras and anyone shooting photos or videos needs good light.
The first thing I did when I got home that evening was to look at what products already existed in this space. There were phone cases that seemed cumbersome. Products that were made with cheap, low-quality LEDs. Lighting attachments that were too big, too heavy, too expensive.
There seemed to be a gap in the market! I was curious to see if we could address these design flaws and make something better - and the BIGSOFTI journey began.
BIGSOFTI began with me in my office pulling apart LED products I bought on ebay and hacking bits together but it really shifted gear when I brought on the team at Vert Design.
I was impressed by both their enthusiasm and their experience (they had designed products for clients such as SONY, INTEL, BMW and DEUS among others) and, from the outset, our partnership was a perfect combination of my knowledge of lighting and photography and their passion for user-focused design.
We set off on two things: 1. Start on initial designs. 2. Find the right manufacturing partner.
Throughout the process, Head Designer Andrew Simpson spoke about product design being a 'swinging pendulum' between tech functionality and human interaction. Swing too far in one direction you lose the core practicality of the product, too far in the other direction and you lose the great user experience. We needed to make a product that was the perfect combination of both.
Initially, we created a light panel that would attach to the underside of a flip-out phone case. We found that while the function of the light module worked well, the user interaction with the design was lacking. We showed it to family, friends and colleagues who loved the effect of the lighting, but not the experience so we went back to the drawing board.
We explored fixed universal clips, magnetic blocks, locking rubber lugs, even a metal arm and shoe mount. We were split on the clip VS rubber lug and so decided to run some market research through the digital platform OnePulse, asking a focus group of 500 men and women 18-35, across the UK and US which design they preferred. A resounding eighty-five per cent said the clip-on design.
Our direction became very clear. Several iterations later, we now have a rotating, removable mechanism (patent pending), which houses a universal clip for all leading smartphone, tablet and laptop brands. Plus the additional features of a cold shoe camera mount with ¼” 20 thread mount and the 3M Adhesive Mount for general surfaces. It’s this simple versatility that helps put BIGSOFTI into its own category - being effortlessly transferrable across all your devices.
We had our design, now we needed to get it made. After a false start with our initial manufacturer (bad communication, high costs, lack of knowledge and lack of passion about the product) we were put in touch with a man named Hunter Ho; an LED lighting product specialist.
During our first meeting with Hunter, we discussed the technical requirements of LED numbers, size, spacing and distance, colour temp, CRI and TLCI ratings, the diffusing materials, batteries and charge times, circuits and regulatory approval checks. Hunter had an answer to all our questions and within a few days had sent us itemised quotes with unit numbers, costs, recommendations and timelines.
With Hunter’s input we were able to improve the lighting board and PCB layout, update the charge port to USB-C and increase the battery size and run time. But most importantly, we were able to update the quality of our LEDs. We are now working with specialised, photography grade BI-COLOUR LEDs, so new that they may have never been used in a device this small before. They deliver changeable colour temperature functionality - with options for all scenarios - DAYLIGHT (5500K), TUNGSTEN (3000K) and a CLEAN MIX (4000K). Which means awesome colour reproduction for better images. We are super confident in our design and just as confident in our manufacturer.
Now that we had our product designed, user tested and refined - it was time to get to watch it in action out in the real world. I roped in some folks to have a play and my very generous brother Matt came along and filmed BIGSOFTI ... being used for selfies, on top of a camera gimbal, taking photos of food, for FaceTime video in the back of an Uber and zoom video conferencing at home on the laptop. This is what we made.
At the end of the campaign, you will be sent a backer survey via email where all shipping details and final accessory selection will take place.
If you have ordered BIGSOFTI with the single accessory pack, this will be the time to choose between either the Universal Clip for Mobile | Tablet | Laptop or the Camera Shoe with 1/4"-20 thread, or the 3M Adhesive Mount.
Please note that all 2 Pack and 3 Pack orders already come with the triple accessory pack as standard - so no need to make the choice.
During these uncertain times in the world, shipping costs have gone up significantly, however, we believe these prices should return to normal as the global situation improves. To therefore minimise costs for our backers, we will not be charging the current higher shipping charges at the time of pledging.
Shipping, Taxes (and VAT / GST) will be calculated and paid for towards the end of the campaign, just before we ship out to our supporters. This is being managed through our pledge manager partner who will be in contact via email.
We will be working hard to secure you the best shipping prices. The good news is that BIGSOFTI is small and lightweight, so any multipack purchases will be charged as only single postage fees, so please consider ordering for someone else too, to help us cut down on shipping costs and air miles.
We were always planning to launch BIGSOFTI in the first few months of this year, and obviously things have been a little held up by this very strange and difficult time out there.
We’ve stayed across developments of COVID-19 from the very beginning, as news of the pandemic first began to spread in China. We have adjusted our delivery timelines to take into consideration any delays that might be encountered as we move into tooling and production.
COVID-19 is certainly going to impact the way we work and communicate for the next little while. There is generally a movement towards remote working and this is only going to increase, and with that, comes adjusting to the new norm of endless video calls both for personal and business reasons.
We know there is a lot about social distancing that has been difficult. Never-ending video calls is just one minor impact of the current situation. But if BIGSOFTI can help solve this one little problem then great.
We couldn't have got where we are today, without lots of help from family and friends. This whole thing has been done as lean as possible. From learning how to build a website, to hassling my poor friends to be in the videos. Harassing my brother Matt to help me film things. To asking my wife Jan for feedback during scripting. And a couple of favours finishing the content with Chris at White Chocolate in Darlington, and Tone at Rumble Studios in Chippendale. So to all those people - a huge thanks. Literally could not have done it without you all.
Given the chance on Kickstarter, we are confident in delivering a refined, high quality consumer product in BIGSOFTI - but we can only do it with your support.
There are lots of FAQs up top that cover all sorts of stuff - but for any other questions that we might not have answered - please ask away in the comments section and we'll try to be quick to answer.
If you like the look of BIGSOFTI, we'd love you to support us by clicking the green button and backing us here on Kickstarter. We know you will really love the benefits of BIGSOFTI; a lucky bunch of us already do.
And if you know someone else who may also like BIGSOFTI, do us a huge favour and pass it along to them!? Or maybe post about it on your social media?
Anything you can do to help spread the word would be just awesome. We really can't do it without you. With your ongoing support, we have the chance to successfully hit our funding goal on Kickstarter and launch BIGSOFTI out into the world.