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Is The Kick a Glimpse into the Future of Lighting?

06.12.12 @ 10:00AM Tags : , , , ,

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

Via [Cinescopophilia]

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Description image 21 COMMENTS

  • I’m sure lighting animation will replace camera movement as the indie effect du jour when these ship and get cheap and easy.

  • The ARRI C7 series of lights do pretty much the same tricks. Admittedly, they cost about $2500 each, and are just a smidge bigger , but otherwise the same thing; plus, they have output that equals 1K, so lots of power to work with.
    Are variLEDs the direction of the future? Of course.
    Gel manufacturers need to find a new product line, and fast!

  • I see the need for remote controlled lighting, and that’s definitely a plus here with a simple app connecting your light to a smart phone or tablet. But to emulate camp fire through a simulated lighting effect based on some ‘fire footage’? Nice for some giggles, but ineffective in any professional environment. The presentation video is funny and insightful to the possibilities of the future, but we could see some purple light coming from that ‘camp fire video’. No DP will want to create effects like that I’m sure. But great stuff overall.

    • Justin Minich on 06.12.12 @ 4:04PM

      I noticed the purple light too. But with a higher quality camera/codec it *might* be possible.

  • If that gets picked up and perfected by the big guys it could change things a lot

  • Interesting developments and fascinating suggestions for further such. Thanks!

  • Awesome. I think we should encourage this type of initiative…

  • Do you really think that this will replicate lightning for a low-budget movie, using actors instead of toys ??? Or fire-light around a campfire ???

  • ” With the Kick you can stream any light you want from any video you choose, for use in your own video production.”

    Amazing, If the kick could be so versatile, we all don’t need to learn more lighting skills. I like the lighting effect in this film, so the kick automaticly adjust the effect for me! So crazy.

  • c.d.embrey: Yes you are right that there are limitations to the Kick Light. Replicating a fire from one Kick might be a stretch but you can control multiple lights from one iPhone simultaneously. We only have ‘toys’ demo’d so far because we have been working hard on launching the product. We have the technology down, so who’s to say a more powerful version isn’t on our plans (o;

    Check out the project in more detail over on Kickstarter
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1918868829/the-kick-a-pocket-sized-lighting-studio-for-photo

  • This is one of the coolest inventions I have seen in a long time. I personally think that it will change the way small productions light scenes. The ease of applying the fire lighting to a subject says a lot about what this product is now and where it can go in the future. My only question is does it work with Android too? Can’t wait til this comes out or they set a price point I would definitely pick one up.

  • Guy McLoughlin on 06.14.12 @ 4:53PM

    What’s the power output?

    I imagine it’s going to be equal to a 10 watt Tungsten lamp.

    • I would like to see some test shots with ISO/f-stop information. The device seems pretty cool, but is it powerful enough for something serious? Will I have to use high ISO and spoil my work with noise?

  • There really is NO big future in lighting. Lighting will always be the same. You may think all these LED systems are the “new thing”, but take it from someone whose stepped into multi million dollar sets, we still use those 30 year old tungsten lights.

    I think the only big recent change has been kino flo and HMIs (and even then those are still pretty old already). I don’t see myself purchasing ANY led lighting fixtures in the near future, or ever.

    Its a cool gadget sure, but id hate to call it the glimpse into the “future of lighting”

    • Daniel Mimura on 06.18.12 @ 11:53PM

      Yeah, tungsten is still the best. I hate LED’s. CRI doesn’t mean much if you’re gelling the lights or are in a mixed light situation. LED’s aren’t full spectrum, so you get all kinds of weird color casts. Martian skin tones… I can’t stand them…

      …and other than litepanels, I don’t trust any other brand to be flicker-free. As batteries drain, the refresh rate changes…I have yet to see one that will just shut off instead. If you can ever see the flicker with your eye, you know it’s no good, and that’s always been the case (excluding litepanels).

      I have yet to see any brand (including litepanels) actually publish ballast (or whatever they’re called in LED’s) refresh rates. Litepanels have been proven to be flicker free with high speed work, and small shutters, but that can’t be said for any other LEDs out there that I know of.

      • The Kick is designed to be flicker free. The refresh rate of the Kick is 25kHz and the refresh rate does not vary under any power condition.

        Cheers,
        Morten, Rift Labs

        • Daniel Mimura on 06.19.12 @ 7:02PM

          Cool, thanks for pointing that out, for putting it in writing…unlike every other brand. Perhaps if more makers were willing to be specific like that, perhaps it will help LED avoid the bad rap it gets (from naysayers like me!).