The Fast Frame from Intellytech is exactly what it sounds like: a frame that can be built… fast. I took a break from taking a quarantine break to review the Fast Frame and see if it’s worth the price of admission. Let’s dive in.
Like many of you, I have a love hate relationship with lighting frames. They’re a phenomenal way to improve nearly all aspects of lighting (flag, focus, diffuse, bounce) and they can be a pain to build for anyone without a dedicated grip team. The bigger the frame with diffusion the better when it comes to softening a light source and the bigger you go the more time consuming the setup becomes and it can even be a safety hazard in windy situations.
I’ve tried other frames in the past with connector set designs that are marketed as quick setup and I find them to generally be frustrating and rife with tiny easily breakable pieces. This was my first experience using an Intellytech product and the Colorado based company also has lighting and battery products in addition to the Fast Frame lineup.
The team at Intellytech sent me the Fast Frame FF-5×6.5’HC – Scrim W/ Honey Comb Grid kit and also added a silver/white bounce material with the same dimensions for review (not included in the base kit). Personally I was most excited to use the scrim + grid variation because adding a honeycomb grid in the field is not normally a quick task and the grid helpfully keeps the light source from flying all over the place in most settings.
The following is included with the Fast Frame FF-5×6.5’HC – Scrim W/ Honey Comb Grid kit:
- Fast Frame
- Soft Carrying Case
- Diffusion Cloth – 1/2 Stop
- Honeycomb Grid
- Two Clamps – These are useful for attaching the frame to a variety of grip equipment.
All of the above will set you back $379 and for an additional $225 you can pickup the silver/white bounce material as an optional add-on. $379 seems right for what you’re getting and this price point lands lower compared with other similarly sized fast frames on the market from brands like Westcott and Matthews.
The frame itself feels like lightweight aluminum and expands easily although I did manage to give myself a good pinch when expanding it for the first time (there are multiple warnings about this, but I’m clumsy). Time will tell if the frame holds up to constant use and it generally feels well-built, though in a quick rental rotation it might damage too quickly. If you take good care of it during normal use by a small business or one-person band operation I’m guessing it could function perfectly for years.
Everything arrived with the silver/white material pre-installed (again, not included normally in the base kit) and I immediately started swapping over to the Honeycomb/diffusion combination. Here’s where you can spend a bit of time. I took me about ten minutes to fully remove the bounce material and switch over to the grid/diff combination. Nothing complicated here, but velcro’ing each part of the diffusion material to the frame takes time. I will say that having so many velcro points means any material you add to the frame isn’t going to come loose easily.
Each of the four corners and the two longer sides have little locking points to help keep the joints connected as the frame expands. In practice these are great, but occasionally they would un-lock for me as I was locking other points — not an unsurmountable hurdle and it just took a little getting used to.
The two included clamps allow you to mount the frame anywhere with the usually assortment of c-stands and grip clamps (including overhead for outdoor single-person interviews).
If you’ve worked with diffusion, grids or bounces in the past then you’ll know the basic quality of light you get from modifying a source each of those various ways. The included half grid diffusion is a commonly used diffusion on most sets, but I would love to see full grid and 1/4 grid options with other types of materials including solids available in the future. Since 5×6.5′ is not a common size for frames you’ll be hard-pressed to find other diffusion options available in the marketplace with those dimensions from 3rd parties. Of course, you could have something custom made from a company like The Rag Place or cut/stitch the material yourself.
While it isn’t a common size as I mentioned, 5×6.5′ is large enough for many field applications and having worked with quick frame kits that are just too small I’m happy to use something that can cover a single person on-camera in most situations.
Does It Work?
Yes! This is a frame that can be built quickly and is useful in many, though not all, situations (given the available mountable materials). The price, in my opinion, is great and the entire kit breaks down into a size that will fit in 99% of vehicles. The Fast Frame is aimed at small crews that can’t afford a dedicated grip team and for that it absolutely does the trick.
Reasonably priced when compared to its competitors, there is much to like about the Fast Frame kit. It’s one of those piece of gear that you perhaps didn’t know you needed, but once you’ve had it for a few shoots, it’ll never leave your kit.
What has your experience been with other types of quick frame solutions in the past? Will you be giving the Fast Frame kit from Intellytech a try? Let us know in the comments below!