Today I found out that Philips will sell iOS-controlled multi-colored, energy efficient LED Light bulbs through Apple Stores. We have smart phones, smart appliances and now smart light bulbs from Philips called Hue.
These bulbs will allow the user to select a multitude of colors, dim lights and schedule different options, all via an app for iPhone / iPad. The system will be upgradeable and offer additional capabilities in the future as the product evolves and grows.
Within the app, you can select any color, use a supplied photo or one of your own to become a color palette. You can also select any color within a photograph and your Hue light will change to that shade. Pretty cool, huh? So I got to thinking, how nice would it be for a photographer to be able to change lighting without gel, bulb or filter changes? Wouldn’t it be nice to change the lighting and instantly see the effect of each change on the photo subject? A video light with any color of choice! There are a couple of “gotchas” though. These bad boys produce about 600 lumens, which is equivalent to a 50W lamp, so there is not much power. On top of that, the Hue system requires a bridge device that communicates with each lamp and the bridge must be connected to your router via a standard LAN cable. Therefore, while the Philips Hue could potentially be a great choice for studio and home environments, it would be too difficult to set up for remote jobs. A video light version of this system for videography and photography needs would be neat – imagine being able to set the light to any color and have it run on a battery. And icing on the cake would be to have the capability to control the light with a small remote! Oh well, maybe someday…
The Hue kit from Philips will sell for $199 for the wireless link (which supports up to 50 bulbs) and 3 bulbs. Extra bulbs will be $59 each. These should be available starting today, October 30, 2012. I may be late to the party as there may be other offerings already available. For instance, there is another product being promoted by Kickstarter called Lifx – very similar, but not in production, yet. Either way, with the technology evolving as it is with new sensors, more affordable good lenses, new software and new tools, it is a great time to be a photographer, isn’t it? What do you think?