By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
When it comes to compact video lights for your action camera, we’ve talked about the Knog Qudos Action Light and the SideKick Duo. Both do the job quite well, offering long battery life and very bright LED performance. But there’s a third player in this game, and it comes from the Lume Cube. This tiny, cube has an 1100 lumens light that does double duty as both a video light and the still image flash, but it can also work as a secondary flash that’s triggered by an optical sensor. And the best part is, you can put it ANYWHERE.
In order to capture the image correctly, you have to have the right light. That’s what photography is … the study of light. And that’s what Lume Cube is all about. –
Although we’ve seen two other players in the ultra portable LED video light game, it was the Lume Cube that I actually saw first. Back then, it was being developed as part of a kickstarter campaign and it held great promise because, thanks to it’s ultra bright the LED design packed into a 1-inch square cube, meant that you could really put it anywhere. It could be used with any camera, especially the GoPro, or it could be placed in tiny little spots where you just needed the right amount of light.
That was it’s selling point. But along the way, the development team of the Lume Cube added some really cool capabilities. Amoungst it’s specs is the ability to be controlled by mobile device, and do it with up to four other cubes in the process. That means that a camera man can really light a tight scene, like a car at night and get total coverage with very little in the way of footprint.
Each Lume Cube is powered with 1500 Lumens of 5600K light that can be adjusted and dimmed all the way down to zero. It has two modes as well, including video light mode and photography flash mode, which also includes turning the Lume Cube into a wireless secondary slave triggered flash.
Other features include:
- 1.5″ cubed. Fits in the palm of your hand
- 6000K light temperature
- Adjustable lighting between 0 and 1500 lumens
- 150 Lux @ 9 feet (3M)
- Constant video light (20+ minutes on full power)
- 60+ minutes on 90 percent brightness, 120+ minutes on 50 percent brightness)
- Fully waterproof down to 100′
- Optical sensor built-in to operate as a slave to other flashes/light sources
- Bluetooth-controlled via Lume Cube smartphone App (iOS, Android)
- Adjustable flash duration between 1 second and 1/8000 of a second
- 1/4 20 mount on the bottom with multiple mounting options
- Connect up to 5 Lume Cubes and control each individually with the “Lume Cube Pro” App
- Red Eye reduction control
- Lume Cube and Lume Cube Pro Applications available in the Apple App Store and Google Play
The mount is really smart as well. While others have drunk the kool-aid and decided to make the main mount a standard GoPro mount, the Lume Cube has gone with the traditional 1/4-20 tripod mount. Of course this means that should you want to mount the Lume Cube with a GoPro camera, you’ll need a 1/4-20 to GoPro adapter to make them work in concert. Or, you can just use a selfie stick or mini tripod to hold it. The options are legion here.
Breaking down how the Lume Cube works, we should probably just dive right into how most people will control this plucky little video light … via mobile app. Connecting to the Lume Cube via Bluetooth, the app can easily control waking up the light and dimming it along various levels of power fro, 1/128th to full power of 1500 lumens. This is accessed and controlled from the slide through the lightning icon of the app.
But to do so, you have to turn it on via the right hand button. The left hand button controls the video light functions manually. You press the button for five seconds and get a brief flash. That indicates the Cube is on. Once you’ve turned on and connected the Lume Cube, you can then manipulate it through the app.
The app has camera icons in the lower right hand corner and will enable either the continual illumination for video applications, or to trigger brief flashes for the still camera feature. In this mode, the Lume Cube has an optical sensor that will pick up the primary flash of a camera and trigger it’s own flash via slave sync. The app also acts as a camera app on the iPhone if needed and has a red eye function should the user not have a secondary camera available.
Manual control functions work as follows:
- Left Button
- Turns on Constant Video Light
- Click multiple times to cycle through the 10 brightness settings
- Hold for five Seconds to shut down the cube
- Right Button
- 1 Click “Wakes Up” Bluetooth
- 5 Second Hold activates Optical Sensor
- 1 Click turns off Constant Video light
The Lume Cube comes with a built in, non replaceable, Li-Ion Polymer rechargeable battery. At 50% power, the Lume Cube can last two hours, while at full power, you can get an hour of continual use. Blinking red lights below the buttons indicate a low battery and the need to recharge (there’s also a battery level indicator through the app).
To recharge, and this is where things get interesting, you have to unscrew a thumb screw with a flathead screwdriver or even a coin to open up access to the microUSB plug. Why the secure housing? It’s because the screw is waterproof, should you need to dip the Lume Cube underwater. It takes 60-90 minutes to give the Lume Cube a complete charge.
All told, the Lume Cube is right up there with the Qudos Action Video Light as one of my favorite video accessories. Even though it was designed to compliment the use of the GoPro Hero platform, with its small size and 1/4-20 mount, a filmmaker can put it anywhere. Thanks to it’s 10 levels of brightness and ability to be controlled by your iPhone, can there be a better mobile LED light to fit in your lighting kit? If there is, I don’t know what it could be.