Color-tunable LEDs — lights adjustable for color temperatures from incandescent to daylight and anywhere in-between — have been around for years. A new Kickstarter project aims to take the next step: SoftPanels LEDs not only let you dial in the desired color, they’ll do it themselves with a built-in color meter and an AUTO pushbutton:
The lights are also claimed to have more accurate manual color temperature settings than “many legacy LED lights”, plus a “skin enhance” function to add pleasing warmth to the image:
Bold statements to be sure, but SoftPanel’s tech lead, Kevin Baxter, has prior form; if my Google-fu is up to snuff he was at LitePanels for many years.
The Kickstarter project started about a week ago and is already past its funding goal. It runs until 8 May, and backers have the chance to get SoftPanels for “less than half of conventional 1×2 LED soft lights.” There are also 2×3 and 3×4 panels on offer.
You can see these lights at NAB: they’ll be in Central Hall at Veydra (C6012) and Welch Media (C12431) booths. Will they truly be color-accurate? What will their color quality be like? If I have a setup in a convenience store with nasty industrial fluorescents, will they green-shift to match? [Update: no; blue/amber control only, no green/magenta.] If the lights live up to their promises, they’ll accelerate setup and streamline location work considerably… and the price seems pretty good, too.
Update 6 May 2016: Here’s a comparison against an Arri Skypanel and a Kino Flo Celeb. With 42 hours to go, the Kickstarter has $278,792 pledged against the $30,000 goal.
Disclosure: one of the SoftPanels founders is Ryan Avery, who runs Veydra, about which I’ve written before. He contacted me to tell me about this, and I thought it was interesting, so here it it. Nobody has offered me any payment, discounts, or special deals to write this up, and there is no material connection between me and Veydra, SoftPanels, Ryan Avery, or Kevin Baxter. All images from the Kickstarter site, with minor editing as needed.