I’m excited to announce the release of the new Multi-Boom Mini 16″ from Phottix.
Not only because its a fantastic tool, but also because I designed the Multi-Boom with Phottix, and they have created a great end product.
And the Phottix Multi-Boom is available now for around $65 from your local retailer.
UPDATE – A larger 28″ Phottix Multi-Boom capable of holding more flash units and larger softboxes are now available as well.
Easy Tilt for umbrella Softboxes
As well as being a versatile multi flash bracket, the Multi-Boom allows easy tilting of umbrella frame sofftboxes, sized up to approximately 36″ or 90cm. The Multi-Boom places the umbrella swivel outside the base of the softbox allowing easy access to the tilt handle, and full unrestricted tilt motion of the softbox, which is normally very limited otherwise.
The Phottix Easy Up, and other similar umbrella style softboxes, are well known for their beautiful soft light with speedlites, as well as light weight and fast easy set up. The lack of tilt angle and access being the main drawbacks previously. The Mutli-Boom now makes these popular softboxes a joy to use and tilt! And a number of flashes can be mounted, increasing the light output, or reducing recycle times and overheating.
Full Tilt Angle
Full 180 degree tilt movement is now possible, with fast easy access to the swivel handle.
Folds Flat and Compact
One of the main design priorities of the Multi-Boom Mini was that it would quickly fold flat and compact for transport. Made of strong and lightweight machined and anodised 6061 alloy, the Multi-Boom is very solid, while also lightweight and compact at just 16″ long.
Fast Set Up
By loosening one simple thumbscrew, the base plate quickly swivels and locks firmly into place ready to use.
In the folded position the Multi-Boom also acts as a convenient base stand, allowing the flashes to be placed on a flat surface like a table or floor.
Big Thumbscrews – Solid and Reliable
Another high priority in the design of the Multi-Boom was for it to be very simple, solid and reliable. The thumbscrews are all custom machined with beautiful big easy to grip heads, which are nice and easy on your fingers. And they are all solid metal, no plastic, captured in the slots so they won’t get lost. With all metal construction, the Multi-Boom really is rock-solid!
Umbrella Swivel or Grip Head Mounting
Mounting the Multi-Boom to a light stand can be either by regular umbrella swivels which accept a standard 5/8″ stud (good strong metal swivels are highly recommended), or via standard inexpensive 2.5″ grip heads, which allow easy tilt and swivel motions.
The lightweight umbrella swivel is ideal for carrying on location. While a heavier grip head is ideal when using the Multi-Boom closer to the full horizontal boomed position, allowing easy tilt and swivel motions.
Centre Mount or Strip Box
The Multi-Boom offers a number of flash mounting combinations. Mounting the flash heads in the centre of an umbrella or umbrella softbox, aligned with the umbrella shaft, produces more even light, and higher output.
Strip box mounting also allows a wider, but narrow spread of light.
Another very handy application of the Multi-Boom is for hand holding a light on location. Simply lift the Multi-Boom off the light stand, and you have a fast, portable, comfortable and well balanced hand held light. Dual flash use is ideal for HSS and quick narrow depth of field portraits etc.
Because the flash heads are mounted on centre, the full umbrella surface is lit nicely, instead of just the top half as often happens with regular umbrella swivels. Meaning smaller less unwieldy umbrellas can be used without loosing light size.
Second Base Plate
By adding a second base plate (taken from a second Multi-Boom bracket), it’s possible to create further mounting combinations. Shown below in the 32″ Phottix Easy Up Softbox I have mounted 2 8AA cell external battery packs, which screw straight to 1/4′ 20 threaded mounting holes in the base plate. For smaller 28″ Softboxes the battery packs would be mounted just below and outside the softbox.
A third or fourth flash could also be mounted to the second base plate in a similar position instead of the battery packs. More flash mounting combinations can be seen here.
Quad Flash Mounting
For quad flash mounting in larger modifiers like the Phottix Parabolic Umbrellas, a second base plate can be mounted upside down, and just below the first base plate, which is mounted at the top of the column. This helps to spread the flash beams out evenly over the larger surface area. Softlighter II and front diffusers can also be mounted as seen here.
Quad Flash Mounting Upright
Quad flash mounting can also be achieved with the second base plate mounted at the base of the column. This configuration can be hand held or mounted inside an umbrella softbox etc. Mounting the flash units upright like this is ideal for shoe mount radio triggers, as it places less stress on them. Hand held dual flash with battery packs is another option. More than 2 flash units mounted can get quite heavy for hand holding if more than a short period though.
A simple eyebolt Grip Handle is included to provide an external, easy to access, handle for tilting of umbrella softboxes. The Grip Handle is simply placed in the umbrella mounting hole of the umbrella swivel, and tightened in place with the existing thumbscrew.
To keep costs down the Grip Handle is currently a standard 3/8″ eye bolt, and this was originally just an optional DIY concept. Though Phottix have kindly assembled these with a nice comfortable hand grip, and included them with the Multi-Boom. The Grip Handle may not always be necessary, thought it can provide a quick and very convenient external handle for tilting the softbox. Note – some of the images show a silver eye bolt, but they are now nicely plated in a matching black finish.
The loop on the end of the eye bolt can also be used as a convenient place to hang battery packs, or other small weights acting as slight counterweight.
Mounting Positions –
Flash units can also be mounted in a number of positions, changing the balance of the Multi-Boom over the light stand.
Left – flashes mounted low and over the centre of the stand, best when using lightweight or less stable stands.
Centre – the regular position for mounting umbrella softboxes (where possible), still keeping weight closer to centre.
Right – best suited to heavier modifiers like large parabolic umbrellas etc, where the flash units are helping to counterbalance the modifier on the opposite side of the stand.
If the lightstand feels unstable at any point, sandbag weights may be required on the stand base.
Westcott Apollo Orb 43″ Mounting – The Multi Boom Mini 16″ was mainly designed for umbrella style softboxes up to around 36″ or 90 cm, maximum hight or diameter. It is possible to mount the 43″ Apollo Orb though with a small Manfrotto 153 extension added to the column. This is enough length to keep the umbrella swivel just outside the base of the 43″ Orb for easy access and tilting. Sandbags or weight on the stand base will likely be required when tilting this combination to larger angles.
Mounting the Multi -Boom to a monopod (for hand holding as a boom pole) can usually be done by attaching a regular umbrella swivel to the top of the monopod. This is done by screwing a 5/8″ brass stud to the monopod head first, and then attaching the swivel to that.
If tilting is not necessary though, a simple but solid connection can be made with a Manfrotto 158 converter. Again the brass stud is screwed to the monopod first, or inside the base of the connector, and the complete connector screwed to the monopod head, as shown here and here.
Compact Mini Boom
Another function I find very handy with the Multi Boom Mini, is that its just long enough to boom a flash or sofbox over a table etc, without the long boom or grip arm poking out the other side. So its great in tight spaces where you need to move around. Mounting at 90 degrees like this also retains the minimum height of the light stand, while also keeping the stands base further out of the way.
A grip head used instead of the swivel shown below is ideal for angling the softbox in both directions.
Big Thanks to Phottix
I’d like to say a big thank you to Phottix for supporting the Multi-Boom concept, and producing the end product so well. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to see the Multi-Boom in production, and available at a very reasonable price. I really hope people enjoy using Multi-Boom, and find it as useful as I do. Phottix have been developing some really innovative, high quality, solid and reliable gear, and hopefully there is a plenty more to come !
Price and Availability
The Phottix Multi Boom Mini 16″, complete with a pair of Clamping Coldshoes, Grip Handle, and Nylon Pouch, are available now from $65 –
Or see your local retailer.
If you have any questions at all feel free to contact me.
Further Reviews –
Brian Hursey Photography