Light Up Your Creativity

by Jeremy Wetzel

We draw. We write. We film. We create art in so many different ways, but one thing that often gets overlooked is lighting.  I would like to share my thoughts on a fairly new product line of lighting called Philips Hue. http://www2.meethue.com/en-us/

For years, Philips has produced industrial-level lighting solutions. Solutions that use LED lights to automate funky building lights or program light shows. Their industrial lighting line is called Color Kinetics, which I personally have used in various museum exhibits. Have no idea what I’m talking about? Pay attention to New York’s Times Square Ball, dropping on New Year’s Eve. It’s built with Color Kintetics programmable LED lights.

With incandescent lights slowly fading out of the marketplace, for our regular lighting needs we have to switch to something else. Rather than use fluorescent lights, Philips made a consumer level version of their Color Kinetics line called Philips Hue. They are more expensive than an incandescent light bulb, but they also last 15-20 years, and look better than a fluorescent light. These new light-bulbs have more functionality: They change color and they are programmable!

First let’s talk about the color - yes COLOR! They do all kind of various shades of while (cool to warm) and also can illuminate in thousands of different colors. As illustrated in the photos above, this can add theater quality lighting to your living-room, which certainly makes for a unique holiday light display. These lights can transform your house or workspace into whatever mood you want…vibrant and energetic like a sunrise, or calm a cool like a Caribbean beach…endless possibilities.

The best thing about this? It’s easy. Philips has an open API for developers who want to make apps, and there are already a bunch of free apps out there for your phone or tablet, including the main Philips Hue app. You can create “scenes” or collections of color settings for your lights. You can automate when these scenes turn on and off. You can use lights to receive blink with social media notifications. You can throw a party and sync the lights to music. You can highlight artwork on the walls with dramatic lighting. You can dim the whole room when you watch a movie.

Just about any action you can think up can be accomplished with these lights. It’s like having a theater stage at your fingertips! As these lights get more popular, I’m excited to see what people more artistic than myself can create with this technology.