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Ultra-Bright and Programmable Lumapad May Change the Way You Think About LED Lighting

03.27.13 @ 4:58PM Tags : , , , ,

LED lighting has come a long way in the past 10 years. While many professionals stayed away from LEDs when they were an emergent technology (despite the fact that LEDs offered some very distinct advantages over traditional lighting technologies), you would be hard-pressed to find a current set without at least a few battery-powered units being used as accent lights. However, LEDs still aren’t ubiquitous, and in most cases they haven’t supplanted more traditional sources such as tungsten fresnels and PARs due to the fact that they have relatively low output and are comparatively harsh in the quality of their light. The Lumapad, an open source LED Kickstarter project from inventor Richard Haberkern, looks to change all of that. Check out his Kickstarter video for the Lumapad below:

Here are a few of the key features of the Lumapad:

  • Ultra Bright 8000 lumen output via 32 individual CREE LEDs.
  • Draws only 88 watts at full power.
  • 6400 Kelvin (bright white daylight) color temperature.
  • Dual color temperature LEDs available (6400K / 3200K 16 per channel).
  • WiFi enabled via the Electric IMP SD card module.
  • User programmable Arduino (Atmel) compatible micro controller.
  • Dual channel PWM dimming circuits with an additional analog dimmer.
  • Up, Down and Mode buttons are user programmable.
  • Adjustable light stand mount included.
  • Lower cost 16 LED, 4000 Lumen model will also be available.
  • Can be powered by standard 12 – 24 Volt DC battery packs too.

The Lumapad offers a number of features which make it stand out from most of the other LED panels on the market, the most significant of which is its output. At 8000 lumens, the Lumapad offers an output comparable to a 500 watt tungsten head with less than 1/5th of the power consumption. While there are other companies making higher output LED lighting solutions, these lights come in at upwards of ten times the price of the Lumapad. Another feature that has me excited for the Lumapad is the fact that it uses fewer high-powered LEDs as opposed to many other LED lighting solutions which use can use hundreds of smaller LEDs. The larger LEDs on the Lumapad should, in theory, provide a softer light and a more even spread than the lights with hundreds of smaller bulbs.

Another great feature of the Lumapad is its ability to interface with any internet-enabled device, as well as other Lumapads. Add to this the fact that the software can be fully customized, and the possibilities for unique lighting effects (effects that would have been incredibly expensive with past technologies) are endless. It seems that the uses for this device will only be limited by the user’s imagination, ingenuity, and the ability to write the code.

Here are a couple of videos that show how versatile the Lumapad can be with various flicker programming:

It’s exciting to see this type of innovation with a light at this price point. What used to take four or five different lights and an expensive flicker box can now be done with an LED light and an iPhone. Beyond these effects, the Lumapad even has the potential to replace more traditional lights on sets due to its high output and the infinite control that the user has over the light. The only thing that we have yet to find out at this point is how the quality of the light will compare to other lighting technologies.

What do you guys think? Does the Lumapad change the way you think about LED lighting? Are you excited about the user-programmable functionality of this light? Let us know in the comments.



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Description image 32 COMMENTS

  • This looks promising but I think if he doesn’t nail the CRI, he’s going to just be manufacturing a toy. Plasma lighting (LiFi or Luxim) has a leg up on LED technology if you’re talking about super high CRI point sources with astronomical lumens/watt.

    • Robert Hardy on 03.27.13 @ 5:46PM

      You’re definitely right in terms of plasma lighting being the superior technology, especially in terms of the light quality and the CRI, but at this point, the prices of plasma lights are much higher, and most plasma lighting solutions might not even be a viable rental option for many low-budget productions.

      There’s definitely some question as to whether this will be a serious filmmaking tool or not, but I guess we’ll find out once he starts producing these things. Here’s to hoping that these lights live up to cinema standards.

    • Aww come on, the first thing you do is compare this to plasma ligthting?!

  • Awesome. Any ideas on cost?

    • Robert Hardy on 03.27.13 @ 5:53PM

      It’s really difficult to tell where the final price will be based on his Kickstarter rewards, but I’m going to guess that the final lights with all of the color temp controls and the built in wifi etc will be upwards of $500. It looks like he’ll have less powerful versions and versions without wifi and color temp control as well, so those would likely come in a bit cheaper, but it’s hard to say how much.

  • nigel Thompson on 03.27.13 @ 6:29PM

    LED is the future . Im no longer buying HMI’s
    Getting Nila Boxers an SL and PRG TruColor HS ….

    We just did an indy film shot entirely at night …. 80% lit with LED (ephoto 1×1′s, low CRI) and 4 micro LED the images are beautiful.

    Extra Light came from an Arri 2K fresnel and 1x 2.5 HMI . trust me Aint no stopping LED from here on. just a matter of time

    • Love the Nila fixtures. Just had the Varta out on a shoot. Basically a Joker 400 that will run on a battery with instant on. Fell in love.

  • While I appreciate the discussing regarding plasma lights and other options, let’s keep in mind that my goal was to create a computer controlled LED lighting system that cost 25% of everything else out there. It is also hackable which means many of you will be able to control the light in ways I never thought of.

    I like plasma lights a great deal and have a few on-hand here at the moment but the cost compared to LEDs is way out there. In addition, LED lighting serves its own purpose just like plasma. One does not and should not replace the other artistically. Lumapad is like any other tool in your kit and has many uses. Only this one is going to be much cheaper and still high quality.

    The Kickstarter project will fund and these lights will ship to the backers so I am excited to hear how they are used.

    Thank you everyone for helping my Kickstarter project.

    • Robert Hardy on 03.27.13 @ 8:00PM

      Hey Richard, thanks for commenting! I totally agree with you in terms of plasma and LED’s not being replacements for one another. They’re both fantastic lighting technologies, and they both have different uses on set.

      Can you perhaps comment on how the quality of light from the Lumapad compares to that from other LED panels? I’ve found that most LED’s tend to be overly harsh when lighting faces (unless they’re heavily diffused), and I’m wondering if the Lumapad is an inherently softer source due to its design with the larger CREE LED’s?

      Thanks again for commenting, and good luck with the rest of your Kickstarter campaign!

    • This is great news and a great idea Richard, we’ve been crying out for lower budget, high power LEDs for a while as the technology is out there, the nearest competitor I see to this is the Switronic bolt, though about 3x less powerful with fewer bells and whistles. It does have a CRI of 89 though. I think that’s the only friction you’ll get from people about this, 75/80 might not be enough for some. Maybe you could release a more expensive or lower powered very high CRI version later using something like the Nichia LEDs.

    • Great job! It’s an excellent idea in so many ways… Unfortunately it might put a lot of people out of work in the film business in a near future having that much man power controlled only by a cell phone haha… But thats the future. Great for indie work no doubt. I would recommend trying to build a larger source to avoid so much hard work softening these lights. Even tho LED’s offer a very different quality of light we are yet to understand and appreciate.

      Also, please post links for your campaign whenever you advertise or comment.


  • I received this from Richard, who seems like a really helpful guy.

    Richard Haberkern says:
    I am using the CREE MX6 LEDs and the CRI for the cool white is 75. The 3200K is 80.

    The flicker rate is in the 600Hz plus range to avoid any banding.

    Each light weighs about 2.5 pounds. The whole kit is around 15 pounds with stands and pwr supplies.

    The case is around 30″ X 14″ X 6″ so it is essentially a carry on. No internal batteries so I don’t think there is an airline issue.

    The power connector is a 6Amp barrel used on Gateway/Toshiba laptops as is the power supply itself. The connector is readily available and any 2.5amp+ external 12-24DCV source should work.

    There are patents that keep me from adding barn doors but they don’t need them anyway. These are sort of midway between a softbox and fresnel. The light is soft but still a bit directional (not much).

    These lights are 25% of the cost of anything similar, available now (end of project anyway) so it is your call.

    Hope I answered all the questions. Look forward to seeing you as a backer


    • There are patents keeping him from using barn doors? what the bleep…. sigh, stupid patents once against stifling innovation instead of enhancing it.

  • Interesting but the Fan on the back needs to go for it to be successful

    • As I understand it the fan isn’t on the 4000 lumen model and is optional on the 8000 lumen one (you can remove it), you only need it on the high power one if you’re running it for more than 10 minutes which I personally wouldn’t need to do for my uses.

  • If everything goes well, when can we expect to see these lovely lights hit the market? I’m an indie on a budget, looking for the best light solution.

  • I would just like to point out that while the efficiencies of LEDs are quite high, ~88W of LED light output doesn’t equal the output of a 1000W halogen.

    These lights, while extremely bright at 8000 lumens, aren’t equivalent to a 1000W halogen, which are ~20,000 lumens. 8000 lumens is just shy of the output of a 500W halogen (~9000-10,000 lumens).

    • Robert Hardy on 03.28.13 @ 1:13AM

      Thanks for the correction, Andy. Also, your brand of LED’s looks fantastic, and I’m excited to hear more about them when you hit the crowdfunding phase :)

      • Not a problem! And I don’t want it to seem like I’m knocking the product. I think that the LumaPad looks like a great product, and I wish Richard all the best!

        And thank you very much! There’s plenty of info to be found at our main site ( and our Facebook page ( Feel free to ask me any questions!

  • How does the Litepanels Patent case effect this product I wonder?

    And I would like to know the sound level of that fan as well…

  • Will your product be shown at NAB 2013?

  • Mike Brandis on 03.28.13 @ 7:03PM

    Wow, Andy did you miss where Richard compared the Lumapad to a Chimera soft box? I didn’t see where he said his 88 watts of LEDs were equal to 1000W tungsten. 8000 Lumens is super bright and I am sure the Lumapad makes for a great and versatile light source. Sounds like Andy is angry that he didn’t get there first like Richard. Besides, unlike Lumapad that is just a great hackable LED light, Andy is advertising a product for filmmakers and photographers. Good luck with the lawsuits from Litepanels, Dude.

    • On the Kickstarter page it says “this tiny light pad uses only 88 Watts of power while delivering almost 1000 Watts of tungsten equivalent soft light.” All I was pointing out is that 1000W of tungsten/halogen light is approximately 20,000 lumens, and since the LumaPads are outputting up to 8000 lumens, they’re closer to a 500W tungsten/halogen.

      You’re right, 8000 lumens is very bright. I even said that in my original comment. I also agree that the LumaPad looks like a great and versatile light. Richard has created a really unique light that’s unlike anything I have yet to see on the market, so kudos to him. I could see some great uses for the LumaPad myself.

      Regarding LitePanels, I respect what they’ve done in the industry, but their patents cover LED lights that are panel- or frame-based, which our lights are neither.

  • It’s nice to see everyone discussing Lumapad here. Thank you for the support and nice comments from the photo and video community.

    Regarding the issues above, I never intended to advertise the Lumapad as a video or photography light do to the mentioned restrictions. All LED lights whether video, architectural, work lights have similar lighting characteristics. A light, is a light, is a light as long as you put out the correct color ranges and brightnesses for you needs. There are many applications in the professional world for Lumapad including the ones shown on Kickstarter in my project.

    It is all about the technology in design for me. The trick was getting $2000 worth of technology similar to what is out there on the professional market down to a few hundred dollars. That is what my projects on Kickstarter are always about. Lumapad is a hackable LED light that can be used for just about anything you can think of. It is up to the user to decide where to use their Lumapads. This is a great opportunity to get lots of technology and features for a very low cost. I am hoping that the Kickstarter project continues to grow past its goal and all of you find some great uses for Lumapads new technology that is a fraction of the price of other high output, computer controlled LED lighting systems.

  • Awesome looking product. I’m interested in this a great deal. The control allows for one to create several different situations for cheap. These lights are what we need. High output and controllable without consuming an immense amount of power.

  • There’s a lot of uses for a small light like that. The CRI won’t be that high (75 or 80 depending on the color temperature) but as long as you don’t use it as your main light source the lower CRI won’t matter that much in my opinion.

  • I was quite excited after seeing that video! Then I realised it would cost about $400+ to properly get it :-/

    Oh well, I suppose I shall just stick with the $30 LED panels from ebay for now….

  • Having a fan on the back of the light will not be good for sound!