The Cello Light

Luxli Lights Cello

John Fraim


In one way, you might consider this as an obnoxiously long review of the Luxli Cello Light on something like Amazon.  But there is much to say here. It involves that quickly changing business of lighting for films and photography. I’ve been involved with both films and photography and (like many others) have collected a fair amount of lights over the years. It’s like a sub-hobby of photography for me. It is the area always changing with many new products introduced each year.

Each year there is some new type of light introduced, some new method or technology related to lights. There was the revolution from the old hot tungsten lights of early film and photography to the cool LED lights of modern film sets and photography shoots.

One of the surprising things to me is that there seems much more interest in the old staples of lights around 3,600 or 5,500 degrees in the film color spectrum. The use of innovative color for entire scenes in photography or film is almost non-existent. Especially film where I feel color ideas and used lack compared to other areas of filmmaking.

Along comes this incredible series of lights in the Orchestra Series from Luxli Lights. The original Viola, the Cello and then the Timpani. I have had two of the Cellos for over a year and still feel they are the real under-discovered gem in the world of colored LEDs today. The incredible spectrum of light that the Cello puts out takes the use of color in photography and film to a new level. Especially film it seems to me for Luxli provides modern filmmakers the ability to show a dramatic change in light over the series of a story.

The above is one way to get others to appreciate this incredible light that has yet to find its true market. I know it must be out there because I keep coming back to using these incredible lights on various projects.

But I think they have a market as ultimate mood lights for those interested in this type of thing. With your smart phone you can control all sorts of patterns and colors on the light. I think that the Cello is one of the most underappreciated products in the film lighting industry today. More than this, perhaps one of the most underappreciated tech products I’ve ever owned (and I’ve owned a lot of them.)

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Why is this? I have them out and both on behind me tonight as I write this. A mixture of blue and orange in the two Cellos behind me. I answer my own question somewhat here. I’m not using them for a film right now but simply as lighting matched any way I want it. A freedom I’ve never had before with lights.

It occurred to me that the Cello might be for personal use as well as storytelling use in films and photos. The Cellos are well worth their price in just this aspect alone. This is obviously a much larger market and different market altogether. It might ultimately prove the market for this incredible light.

Yet it is in the film market, the expanding out over time the use of color so that color dramatics might be apparent in modern films. By programming the lights throughout a film into only using Luxli Cellos and Timpanis in a film. A side story here about Luxli Lights in a production and utilizing them to an extent that others can see the creative possibilities before them with this magic light.

The company website sings the praises about the Luxli Orchestrator Series product category. The below on the Cello from its Orchestra Series section on its website:

“The Luxli Orchestra series can produce a dazzling symphony of light. Synchronize LED light units of all sizes, choose from millions of possible colors, apply lighting effects from selectable modes, and control them instantly with the powerful Conductor mobile app. Your creativity will be limited only by your imagination with Luxli’s Timpani on your rig.”

And, the below on the Cello in this series:

“Luxli Cello-10 Overview. The Cello 10-inch multicolor LED light features a highly accurate and remarkably versatile RGBW LED panel. The light is equipped with Bluetooth 4.2 LE that pairs with your tablet or smartphone when you open Luxli’s Conductor mobile app. Whether controlled via the app or the intuitive interface on the unit itself, the Cello will illuminate your creative vision with endless possibility.

The Cello’s color adjustment modes are accessible from the onboard control panel or via the Conductor app.  The color wheel feature will illuminate your subject with any hue of light you can imagine, and the eye dropper app feature will match any color on a video or photo. The new gel filter mode is like applying a filter to the front of your Cello. You can select between 150 gels, and the Cello calculates the correct color as you adjust the base color temperature.

For all its power and innovative technology, the lightweight, 10-inch Cello is camera mountable and can be transported anywhere.”

An incredible product descriptions it seems to me. And really, if truth be known, the Luxli the standout now of all of my products as I’ve gotten all my lights out and am looking at them on the table right behind my desk. If I was going to place a product in the category of a hero character today, it would certainly be my Luxli Cello lights. I’ve used them far more as lighting for my office at night than anything else. More for this purpose than lighting my various sets for dioramas during the past few years.

The Cellos are the hero of the hour of all my products. I have gotten both of them out from their storage in my cabinets under the bookshelves in my office. I’ve set them both up on light tripods in the office and directed their light (through the two soft-boxes I bought for them) and plugged them into electric outlets and adjusted color via my Luxli Conductor cellphone app. An app that absolutely works each time I use it. An incredible app. Perhaps in the future more programmed loops and cycles of the lights might be introduced in the Apple App store. Or to Google customers.

On the Cellos on the left behind me is at color 197 at 7% and the other at color 62 at 27%. Such am interesting new atmosphere of color created in my office tonight via this combination of color from the two Cellos behind me. The color the mixture creates is magical, the color of an atmosphere I have never seen before.

* * *

The incredible Luxli Cello lights (on Amazon for $279) is an incredible product still wandering around looking for its true market. The personal mood market? (My use of them now while writing?) The film market?

At no time in history did humans have so much control over new hues and saturations and colorations of light as now. And, perhaps at no time in history have humans have had so little understanding of this new control over color.

Luxli Light is one of the few companies pushing our control over light to the extremes with affordable products geared to the independent and documentary film maker market. I’ve seen and owned a lot of technology over the past years. As many of us have. Seldom have I seen a product so intuitive and friendly as the Cello. And providing such a spectacular showing of lights on demand or programmed in loops and cycles. With ideas for more loops and cycles, focused mainly on ideas from users.

Seldom has so much of modern lighting technology been placed within the boundaries of one product. But all the technology has come together in the incredible Cello. With 3 listings on Amazon and 23 listings on B&H Photo it is still a product discovered mainly by the tech-lighting intelligentsia out there. One can always count on B&H reviews on a product to be the early warning radar advice on various products out there. Or, at least it’s been like this for me.

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What really does Cello offer and who does it offer it to, a person or a production? It is that type of question that can only be worked out by buying one or two Cello lights and placing them in your home at night and playing around with them. And creating new types of light you have never experienced before.

At least this is how excited I was when I first started using my Cello for studio work. And, just in creating moods for personal relaxation. And then, when the second Cello came, I was able to blend light into new combinations of light, a new type of light not even in the incredible color wheels of the Cello.

So many other things are important in life, things that must be obtained at all costs, as advertising constantly tells us. Is it any wonder we have little time to think about the things we want in life rather than the things they tell us we want?

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Of all the various senses, the aspect of the sight sense called color might be the least explored today.  At least in regard to the use of color in therapy as well as storytelling. Does in fact color qualify as a particular media by itself, a media that has a right to its own dramatic presence in a story.

Is there a symbolic-dynamics in the movement of color symbols throughout history? Does color possess a dramatic movement? If so, use this dramatic movement of color in telling a story. At least in its relationship to modern storytelling in the form of a theatrically released film or a series on Netflix.

Here is a product discovered mainly by the tech, photo, filmmaker vanguard. By me because I am always snooping around sites like this and am on their subscription list for all their product announcements. The key customers at B&H in New York. It allows for all of us to use color to create incredible new worlds. For ourselves or the stories we might want to tell via photography or film.

* * *

Yet, it seems to me, it is a product that needs to be discovered by others outside the relatively tight knit group of B&H buyers of lighting gear. I don’t know what this group is but I can testify I love the two Cellos I have right now. And, I don’t take these statements lightly as I seldom have tech tools that relate to creative impulses like the Cello does. The potential for the Cello and color creation is limitless.

Perhaps one of the great areas for Luxli and Cello is in programable colors during a play or film or TV series. The use of changing color in drama has been little explored in the past and it is time that we look at this relationship. It seems to be such a natural one.

The Luxli Cello lights allow one to fill one’s life with an incredible range of colors never before possible in the 2,700 to 3,500 degrees tungsten world we live in by our home and office lighting each day.

The Luxli Cello / New Colors Seldom Seen Before

Might the exposure to similar range of light each day have some hypnotic effect on a person? And, might movement out of this everyday exposure, via introduction of new colors and hues and saturations of light into one’s world, might this movement create a new type of consciousness?

Might color be agent of change and also an environment of change?


See the Luxli Light website

A commercial shot using the Luxli Lights

YouTube Review of Cello by professional DP

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