Photo of the Kino Flo Celeb 400 showing the back with controls.

Um … yeah!

To be perfectly honest, this author went into this review warning Videomaker, "You know… I've never been a fan of Kino." It's true. Videssence have always been my lights of choice. Not only that… this author has avoided an LED light panel like the plague, due to high-rate flicker causing issues at certain frame rates. We tried… we really, really tried not to like the Kino Flo Celeb 400 DMX, but frankly; it's just… amazeballs!

The color temperature is up to you!

This Kino Flo light panel generates the equivalent to more than 1,000 watts of light, and in the tungsten world, is known as a 1K light. But unlike a tungsten light, you can use it in rooms without a commercial air conditioning system preventing the temperature from skyrocketing and turning your room into an Easy-Bake Oven. You can also plug more than two LED light panels into a single circuit without blowing a breaker! In reality, you could plug up to eight of these into a single circuit, as they're only 1.8 Amps per fixture. Your typical tungsten 1K light is somewhere between nine and 12 Amps. 

Easy Color Temperature 
Close up of the rear controls and the digital readout on the back of the Kino Flo Celeb 400.
Close up of the multipurpose dial on the back of the Kino Flo Celeb 400.

You hear 5,600K, 3,300K… what's the color temperature of these lights? Well, in short… the color temperature is up to you! Everything you take into consideration when lighting a shot is variable with this LED light panel. And we don't just mean the dimmer. The same dial you’d use to dim any Kino Flo light also doubles as a manual adjustment of the color temperature on the Celeb 400. Get this, with an accuracy down to 1K (that's Kelvin, not watts).

Close up of the rear controls and the digital readout on the back of the Kino Flo Celeb 400.
Close up of the rear controls and the digital readout on the back of the Kino Flo Celeb 400.
There's a digital readout on the back of the LED light panel that tells you exactly what color temperature it is emitting. There are also nifty preset buttons along the back to instantly set the light to your classic color temperature settings. But what does this really mean? It means much easier green screen lighting. It also means no more white pieces of paper, dial in the number on your camera and lights… boom, you're white balanced. 

Soft, and Beautiful

No, it's not a L’Oreal ad. Truly, this Kino Flo light panel has a ton of surface area at 45-inches x 14-inches, and there are zero hot and cold spots. Perfectly even light over that much surface means very soft shadows with no need for umbrellas, filters or scrims. The Celeb 400 DMX does, however come with an angled honeycomb (just in case). The dimensions make for a perfect studio light, but you'd better have a very strong stand to floor mount it.

If you can afford the Celeb 400 DMX though, we're pretty sure you can snag a great stand (or 10). The cost of this light is exactly what you'd expect for these features. At just north of $4,500, investing in the Celeb 400 DMX isn't for the faint of heart. Think about it for a second though. These are LED light panels. That means that bulbs last much longer, gels won't burn up, power consumption is less (so no generators or hunting for multiple circuits) and the list goes on. In the end, if you have this money anywhere in your budget, the Celeb 400 DMX could be the most important purchase you make this year. 

What are the negatives?

It's true, nothing human-made is perfect. So what might be disappointing if you bought the Celeb 400? For starters, if you're doing standard three-point lighting, you probably won't like the $13,500 you'd spend on three of these bad boys. However, you could possibly get away with one Celeb 400 DMX, a reflector, and a small LED backlight. You also may not like its need for a very hefty stand. Although the light isn't that heavy, it's so large that it can tip a stand over by leverage alone. It's also so long that you need a van, or SUV with the seats down to transport it.

On the price front, look for rental options for the Celeb 400 DMX. They're spectacular, and definitely worth renting at least once in your career. But be warned — you won't want to return it!

Kino Flo
www.kinoflo.com
$4569 

Tech Specs

Power: 100~240VAC,50/60Hz, 210W,1.8A
Color Temperature Range: 2700~5500 Kelvin
Dimming Range: 100%-1%
Weight: 26lb.

Strengths

  • Even light
  • Low power consumption
  • Variable color temperature
  • Variable dimming

Weaknesses

  • Expensive
  • Need a heavy-duty light stand

 

Ty Audronis is a high-end video professional. He’s consulted on building multi-million dollar studios and studios on a beer budget alike.

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