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Short of a north-facing skylight, one of the most useful tools in any studio lighting system is a light box. Complimentary to people and products alike, the soft, flattering wash of light afforded by a softbox fixture is now affordably available in the form of the Impact Octacool Fluorescent Light Kit.
Utilizing a cluster of 28W screw-in fluorescent bulbs that together produce a soft, daylight-balanced wall of light, the Octacool is particularly useful for portraiture thanks to the fixture’s octagonal shape, which produces catch lights in your subject’s eyes that are both more natural looking and less distracting than the catch lights produced by umbrellas and square light sources.
Available in both 6-lamp (Octacool-6) and 9 lamp (Octacool-9) configurations, these fixtures produce 8,400 and 12,600 lumens respectively at 3.3 feet, and being fluorescent-based, they produce minimal levels of heat and run silently, making them ideal for both stills and video productions.
An additional advantage of fluorescent lamps is that they draw low levels of power, which means you can plug multiple units into common wall outlets without having to worry about “bringing down the house.”
For fine-tuning your light output, the rear of the Octacool features a control panel with switches that allow you to turn the lamphead’s individual bulbs on or off. The control switches on the Octacool-6 allow you to illuminate a choice of 2, 4, or 6 bulbs. The Octacool-9 goes a step further by allowing you to select one bulb, all nine bulbs, or any number of bulbs in between.
Fully-assembled, both versions of the Octacool open up to 29.5” (75mm) across, and each unit contains an internal baffle to better ensure even light distribution, all of which is supported by 8 tension rods. Once assembled, the Octacool fits onto any lightstand with a standard 5/8” stud, and it folds up small enough to fit the needs of location shooters.