This design brief was brought to us by Arizona based MagMod, as inspiration for a completely reimagined line of photography lighting gear. MagMod creates tools that allow photographers to do what they do best, shoot amazing photos, without wasting time setting up clunky equipment. On June 26, MagMod launched their newest product line designed by SWARM on Kickstarter which hit 400% of their funding goal in the first day.
In photography, lighting is everything. Controlling light can mean the difference between a good shot and an amazing shot. Current cold shoes, ring mounts, and soft boxes were slow beasts to set up, and got in the way of catching the moment. SWARM was tasked with revolutionizing the way photographers interact with their equipment by developing a product group that could easily and quickly modify and focus light - all while using only one hand.
Our directive for the MagBox System was to release something that was truly innovative, something that deserves to exist beyond just the sales revenues. We put in the time and we got it right. More than two years in the making, the MagBox™, MagRing™ and MagShoe™ are the culmination of MagMod’s concept and SWARM’s major design overhaul to some of the most essential tools in a photographer’s arsenal: speedlites, softboxes, and flash mounts.
Existing solutions on the market featured a daunting mix of parts, brackets, and screws with clunky rotation points and counterintuitive adjustments. SWARM set out to create an intuitive mechanical system to make the lighting system sturdy, simple to set up, and easy to use. Designed to work seamlessly with MagMod’s existing product line, SWARM integrated several innovations never-before-seen in the photo industry.
While we do have a bit of in-house photography experience, we also deepened our knowledge by interviewing professional photographers, watching them use their gear, and performing studio trials. By physically interacting with gear in our studio we were able to more effectively brainstorm how we wanted to interact with it and how to improve and simplify the equipment.
SWARM developed the world’s first softbox featuring an obstruction-free design without the need of an inner baffle to reflect light. This reduces the loss of light and provides brighter, controlled and even coverage. When coupled with MagMod’s Focus Diffuser, the MagBox is up to 2.8 stops brighter than traditional softboxes. Also unlike other softboxes, the MagBox opens and closes with one-handed ease and attaches effortlessly to the MagRing extra-strong neodymium magnets. To magnetic bond was so strong SWARM had to add a “Magnetic Field Disruptor” lever to pop the system apart.
For the MagRing, the goal was to easily mount one or two speedlites using MagMod’s already successful MagGrip system. The connection had to be secure enough to support two heavy lights on the end of a light stand without the risk of being knocked off if bumped or dropped. During development, Godox launched their AD200 speedlite, which became the perfect test subject. It was heavy, and not designed to mount to traditional cold shoe systems. The MagRing is strong enough to easily support two of these monsters, and take studio level lighting out into the field.
Cold shoes are a necessary evil for photographers. They are typically small, finicky, and weak, but they are necessary if you want to stand mount a speedlite. The MagShoe is the anti- cold shoe. It is strong, ergonomic, and intuitive. Swarm developed a completely new twist lock to securely grip the foot of the speedlite. A simple ⅓ turn locks the foot into the shoe. The connection is so secure that Swarm was able to use it to mount the whole MagRing / MagBox system loaded up with two heavy speedlites. Instead of twisting knobs, a simple trigger is used to quickly aim the system, and its integrated locking mechanism makes the whole system secure. The shape of the MagShoe is also optimized to function as a handheld lighting system when photographers want to go off-stand.