The Illuminati meter is a cool new device that makes it easy to choose the right camera settings as well as the right white balance settings for a camera. Normally, these two meters will easily set a photographer back $2,000 or more. But the Illuminati meter is wireless and uses a smartphone and app to process the light and color in a scene. This makes it ideal for both photo and video uses.
To find out more about the Illuminati meter, I reached out to its inventor. I always find it helpful when considering new technology to learn from an expert. Michael Okincha is the inventor, as well as an experienced industry veteran who’s worked on designing many different cameras.
“I spent my entire professional career designing cameras of various kinds: professional cameras for photographers, scientific cameras for researchers, security cameras, and more. Accurately measuring the quantity and color of light is vital when developing, calibrating, and operating cameras,” said Okincha. “I developed my own small, wireless meters to make measuring light easier and more convenient. The meters saved me time and that meant saving money. The Illuminati meter grew out of that work – a small, affordable light and color meter that improves productivity both on the set and when processing your images.”
The Illuminati meter is unique as it’s the world’s first Bluetooth light and color meter that works wirelessly with smartphones. Because the phone and app are separated from the meter, this makes it easier to get a smaller meter that only keeps only the most critical parts.
“The physical design of light meters hasn’t changed much in the last few decades. Using a light meter hasn’t changed. The photographer carries the meter into the set, takes a measurement, and then returns to fiddle with the lights or camera. And repeat. It all seemed very inefficient,” said Okincha. “With all the advances in sensor technology and electronic design, I felt that smartphone infrastructure could be harnessed to create a new, breakthrough meter design that delivers not only accurate measurements but improves productivity too.”
The ability to work wirelessly means that you can place the Illuminati meter anywhere in your scene. The readings are sent in real-time back to the app on your phone or smartwatch. This makes it easy to keep your hands free to adjust the camera or lights.
The team behind the Illuminati meter worked with both photographers and video pros when designing the meter. The goal was to create something that was both familiar for those who’ve used light and color meters in the past, while still innovating and taking advantage of wireless workflows.
“I took that idea to photographers and filmmakers to learn more about their needs. We brainstormed and devised a truly unique light meter. We included features that would help the photographer get the right exposure and white balance faster – improving productivity on the set and reducing editing time spent fixing exposure and color issues,” said Okincha. “We made the meter measure light and color, avoiding the need to buy two separate devices. We separated the light sensor from the controls and display, and then replaced the controls & display with a device everyone already carries – a smartphone. That made the meter smaller, lower cost, and more convenient.”
The Illuminati meter is able to monitor the ambient lighting and color. You can even set custom alarms to warn if the brightness changes because of a cloud or changing light source. The wireless options and combined capabilities of meters plus smartphone open up a lot of options.
“Building on the smartphone’s familiar interface and rich capabilities, it was also easy to provide more useful information in simpler and more powerful ways. We can show the exactly the data photographers need so they can keep the flow going,” said Okincha. “We also developed one of the best reasons for photographers to own a smartwatch – providing light and color readings right to your wrist. That leaves your hands free to adjusts lights, carry your camera, interact with the talent, or whatever else you need to do. Now the meter can even watch the light while you’re busy, warning you when something important changes.”
Another benefit of the Illuminati meter is that its design uses multiple options to give accurate readings.
“The Illuminati meter is also the first system to let you use multiple sensors simultaneously. You can meter foregrounds and backgrounds, set strobe ratios, or monitor and manage multiple light sources (including flash!) or large areas at the same time. Stop wasting valuable time running between lights or scene locations,” said Okincha.”You can get readings continuously without ever having to take out your phone or put your camera down. We’re first to do that, too!”
Rich has published over 100 courses on Lynda.com. Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.