Mobile lighting kits for photography and videography exist, but this has to be the most inventive lighting solution we've ever seen or used. After a very successful Kickstarter campaign which raised over $200,000, doubling the initial set goal, the KICK Light was born. The KICK light from Rift Labs has a price tag of $189 in the USA and £135 within UK and aims to reinvent how and what a lighting solution is with masses of creative flare. After using it in a studio DSLR and consumer iPhone environment extensively, we've discovered that setting up lighting can actually be fun.
The KICK light is essentially a slab of 40 LED individual modules. The KICK is lightweight and dimensionally compact too, so it can easily be tucked into a pocket. Plus it even has space to slide in an iPhone 4, 4s, 5 and 5s, so you can keep the two devices neatly together.
Connectivity & Battery Life
The KICK connects to a device via its own Wi-Fi connection, so the range from both devices has been very extensive from our testing, managing to achieve a reliable connection of over 15 meters. The internal 3.7V lithium-ion polymer battery has a rated capacity of 2000 mAh, lasted just over two hours from our testing. We tended to have the brightness of the KICK turned nearly all the way up, so this would drain the battery rapidly. If the brightness was lower apparently it can last for around five hours.
White light is great, but thousands of colours are even better. Pretty much any colour you want can be created, with the ability to adjust the brightness and colour temperature on the KICK light itself via integrated buttons or via the App. The extensive range of colours can be controlled with the free KICK iPhone and Android App. The App has some pretty cool features, one of them being that you can use the iPhone's camera to select colours in your immediate proximity. It's a very cool feature which has proved to be useful to us in close-up photographic angles to gain a more natural light, tremendous for luminous objects. Another feature that videographers will drool over is the ability to easily replicate light effects from videos stored on your device, from those online, or some preset ones that are pre-installed within the App. So you can simulate things like the appearance of a candle flicker, lightning, a rave, etc from the KICK light.
Performance & Results
When we take product shots indoors at our studio we generally use cool white lighting. The KICK has a 2500 to 10000 rated Kelvin output, so it has the ability to produce clean ultra-cool-whites and cosy warm whites too. Plus, because the KICK has a wide beam angle of 60 degrees and a max brightness of 400 Lumens, close up and distant product shots can be taken. Outdoors we rarely ever use any other lighting other than the sun and the onboard flash on a DSLR camera, but the KICK has changed this. It's bright enough on sunny days to offset shadows and generally notch up the overall clarity of the main subject in a photo. A common problem when taking outdoor photos is that they have very different white balances, depending on the weather and the sun's positioning at the time of day, which is where changing the colour of the KICK really comes into its own, obtaining and enhancing styles you couldn't get with solely white light.
The slim profile and inbuilt battery has encouraged us to use the KICK frequently. It really allows us to be flexible and more creative with lighting, and when we want to keep it static, a 1/4-20 standard tripod mount is located on its body. The KICK light is also one of the brightest torches we have; we used it twice when our electricity went off during storms to light up entire rooms at max brightness.
There's no doubt the KICK light from Rift Labs could be a tremendous addition to professional photographers and videographers just as it is to us. But this vastly inventive, creative and useful lighting solution is straightforward and quick to use, meaning it's also accessible to general photo and video enthusiasts too.