Is The Kick a Glimpse into the Future of Lighting?
At CineGear 2012, there were some interesting developments in lighting, particularly Kino Flo’s Celeb LED Panel, which allows for 5 customizable color temperature presets ranging from 2700K to 5500K. But aside from that, the features of the Celeb and the other lights shown at the expo were pretty much what one would expect from a typical studio light: a color temperature ranging somewhere between tungsten and daylight, dimmable bulbs, and either soft light panels or harder lights in the form of adjustable fresnel fixtures. But what if there was a studio light that more fully took advantage of the low heat, low power draw, and color changing abilities of LED’s? It might look something like The Kick:
The Kick might be useful as a camera mounted light, providing that the release version has color temperature presets in addition to the color picker. But beyond this there are some very interesting concepts here that could apply to studio lights of the future:
Wireless control of an entire light kit
LED's can operate at temperatures that are cool enough to make it feasible to include additional electronics to enable control via WiFi. This means no more DMX control boxes (although including a back-up dimmer on the fixture would probably be smart). Ostensibly, everything from light color and intensity to fresnel focus and barn doors could be controlled from a smart phone or a tablet.
Standard color temperature switching and the end of gels
Having an LED kit that could change from 3200K to 5600K to any color of the rainbow means you would only need one set of lights for interiors and exteriors and there would no longer be any need to carry around gels.
Selectively turning off bulbs to shape light
This wasn't something that was mentioned in the video, but as long as we're controlling light parameters, why not have the ability to selectively shut off or dim specific LED's to shape the light output? I don't think this would necessarily eliminate the need for additional grip equipment, but you could make some significant adjustments quickly before you even reach for a scrim or a flag.
Better integration with composited footage and variable light sources
As demonstrated in the video, this would be great for a campfire scene. In addition to your main camera, you could have a second camera trained on the fire which streams data on light color and intensity to an LED fixture that is providing additional illumination to your subject. Better yet, let’s say you shot some background footage to be composited with footage of an actor against a green screen. You could stream the data from the footage you already shot to the lights illuminating your subject, and if there was an added ability to assign multiple cursors to different lights or to animate the cursor over time, you could easily integrate light changes in different parts of a background scene with your green-screened subject, making for a much more convincing composite shot.
What do you think? Is The Kick a sign of things to come in the world of lighting? Does the prototype look like it's shaping up to be a good candidate for a camera mounted light?
Link: The Kick Light