IBC 2018: Kino Flo FreeStyle LED Tubes and Camera Look Up Tables Firmware Update

Some of you may remember that at BSC Expo earlier in the year, I checked out the Kino Flo Tube LED prototypes (read more and see our interview from BSC 2018 here), which bring Hollywood-level light quality and RGB versatility into a very compact and versatile form factor giving cinematographers more creative freedom to get some really exciting shots that otherwise would be difficult to pull-off. RBG LEDs are everywhere today, and so was the case with IBC 2018 in Amsterdam, however Kino Flo are doing a few different things with their LED tubes that sets them apart from the rest.

At IBC 2018 at the CirroLite/Kino Flo stand I spoke to Kino Flo founder Frieder Hochheim about the latest developments with their FreeStyle TUBE LEDs and exciting firmware updates for the FreeStyle LED family of lights.

The FreeStyle True Match LED tubes have been specially designed by Kino Flo for operation in their popular 4Bank, Double and Single fixtures and for stage design lighting, however their usage goes well beyond that and is virtually unlimited, since you can place them almost anywhere, as long as you have them powered via a FreeStyle ballast/control unit (they even make a more compact half panel unit now).

The FreeStyle LED Tubes display Kino Flo’s award winning True Match white light and RGBWW colour management system found in the FreeStyle 41, 31 and 21 LED portable systems, and offer the same high quality and familiar softness, the same subtle colour reproduction as Kino Flo’s award-winning T12 high-output lamps.

In addition to the 96+ photo rendering index, the FreeStyle tubes benefit from a much wider 310° spread, as opposed to the majority of their competition which are 180 degrees. Paired with a 4Bank fixture’s light intensifying reflector, the tube projects soft light forward at a 100° beam angle at about the same light levels you’d get from a 1,000W tungsten soft light (when using 4 LED tubes).

IBC 2018 Kino Flo Tube LED

Outside its fixture, a bare tube glows like a traditional Kino Flo lamp, with light radiating on all sides. The lightweight tubes can be taped to a set wall, customized to form arrays in soft boxes or hung as “ladders” of light for illuminating stage backdrops. A narrow aluminium rail built into each LED lamp expands the mounting options for special lighting designs.

“We have reproduced the soft light quality of our T12 legacy fluorescents,” said company president, Frieder Hochheim in a recent press release. “And we have added the durability and versatility of our own RGBWW (5-emitter) LED’s to the equation. The result is a new technical and artistic dimension to our product line, and something different from anything we’ve seen before in our industry.”

Frieder also showed us a beta version of their upcoming firmware update for the growing FreeStyle LED family of lighting products, which includes camera manufacturer specific look up tables that you could select from the ballast, that emulate the colour response of the sensor you are using. This is a very advanced features that is currently not available anywhere else and it would interesting to see when released how it performs.

Upon launch in the firmware update you can find ARRI, Panasonic, Sony, Panavision presets with Canon and other major manufacturers joining at a later date.

I personally think that these FreeStyle LED tubes from Kino Flo have the potential to be true game changers for many cinematographers, precisely for their unique camera manufacturer specific look up tables and that they are colour matched to the rest of the FreeStyle family.

Pricing on the LED tubes depends on configuration as you’d also have to get the control unit/ballast (unless you already own one for other FreeStyle LED fixtures), however pricing for a single LED tube starts at around £275 + VAT list. Shipping is slated for late October.

For more info check out the official Kino Flo website and their European distributor Cirrolite‘s website.

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