We recently got the chance to do a review on the latest piece of gear from Lumu, the Lumu Power 2. We decided to hand it off for testing to a local cinematographer and rental house owner, Chase Gardiner. Be sure to check out more filmmaking articles and for those of you who are cast and crew, sign up to get your free FilmLocal account!
Lumu Power 2 – A Review By Chase Gardiner
I am going to write this review from a couple different perspectives I have, one as a cinematographer working in the commercial and narrative film markets, and the other as the owner and operator of a rental house, Edmonton Production Rentals.
As A Cinematography Tool
First, let’s go over the Lumu Power as a tool for cinematographers. It doesn’t replace my traditional meter, that lives on my monitor cart and I use it because I know it’s calibrated, accurate, and I love having the spot meter. With that said, this is starting to replace it! I find myself leaving my traditional meter on the cart more often, walking into a scene, and pulling out my iPhone with Lumu in tow. Why? Its small, lightweight, easy to toss back into my pocket and forget about. I don’t have to worry about misplacing it or setting it down on an apple box to adjust something and walking away without it, it just goes back into my pocket.
I have found it is almost spot on with my Sekonic 758 meter when checking light readings. It has a fluctuation of about 1/3 of a stop if you repeatedly check the same source, but I am not going to nitpick a third of a stop at this price point. I do see the lite disk getting scratched so it’s a good idea to keep it in the included protective case as much as possible. I wish there was a way to have it attached to the phone and still be protected though so it could go worry free in and out of the pocket.
The color meter, wow! This is by far the most impressive part of this little device. I find myself mixing sources more and more as we get into LED technology. Every LED is a little different when it says 5600 kelvin or warm white so having this guy handy is a dream! Being able to match sources quick and easy without spending a small fortune on the color meter is amazing.
Where I find this whole thing really shines is in location scouts, nothing can compare. Before when scouting I would carry my light meter, color meter, DSLR, notebook, compass flash light, reference images, and the script. Now all I carry is my iPhone with Lumu Power! It replaces all my other tools, even just cutting out the two meters alone is huge. I can walk into a location, plug in my Lumu power and know how much green those gross fluorescent lights are adding, how much light loss there is from the window, the color that’s bouncing off the top walls is way warmer. All this is now right there; one meter, one click, then flip it over and snap a few photos and the scout is all done on my phone.
Beyond that, I have started carrying in my pocket everyday, because, why not? I have found myself loving what the light is doing in a space, I grab a photo and a quick color reading and now I have inspiration for later! Maybe I am just a light nerd, but hey!
As A Rental House Tool
Now as a rental house owner, I love having the Lumu Power sitting out so anyone at the office can grab it and check to see the color temp of the HMIs before they go out, or reassure a client there is no spike in that LED, or “yep you’ll need some minus green for your light to match this one!”.
We tested this against another traditional color meter and found there to be about a 150-250 degree kelvin discrepancy within the meter, but it is 100% consistent so there is no issue. We tested this against a 3200 tungsten bulb, a 5600 daylight HMI and three different LED fixtures, all read exactly as they should. Now are we worried about the 200 kelvin offset? No we aren’t. Mainly because there is that discrepancy naturally in real life and because we aren’t paying $1200 for this unit. At this price point its perfectly reasonable to have a slight variance. Would I be saying the same thing if it was 200 colder one reading, bang on another and then 300 warmer next time? No I wouldn’t. But being that my particular unit is always 200 kelvin colder I just made note and am happy to know that.
Ease of use is another powerful thing with the Lumu Power. Every setting is a touch of a screen or a scroll away. There is no multiple key combinations or a hold ISO and MENU to change shutter angle or anything like that. It’s just tap and scroll. There is nothing simpler and there is no learning curve!
I will forever be a Lumu Power user from this point forward, its easy to use, accurate, small, lightweight and can come with me everywhere. There is no reason not to have one! In fact, I bought a second one to keep in my ditty bag. That way I can hand it to my gaffer on set and know he has a tool I can trust.