Home LightingEquipment Reviews Kino Flo Celeb 201/401 – The Power of a Soft, Versatile and Controllable Source of Light

Kino Flo Celeb 201/401 – The Power of a Soft, Versatile and Controllable Source of Light

written by Shane Hurlbut, ASC

Why I Love Kino Flo Celeb 201/401:

Kino Flo Celeb LED technology has become my go to fill, key, or ambient light because of their beautiful soft quality and their sensitive ability to change color temperature, as well as dim ability. With the turn of a knob, you can set the color temperature from anywhere between 2700 K and 6500 K, and there are six programmable preset buttons (2700K, 3200K, 4500K, 5500K, 6500K). These lights also have less of that weird green quality that other LEDs have.

Using the same knob you use to control your color temperature, you can set the light to DIM mode to control onboard and DMX dimming to the exact percent between 0%-100% intensity. These babies allow you to be right on the nose with the exact color temperature and intensity of light you want.

Notice the knob that controls dim ability and color temperature

Notice the knob that controls dim ability and color temperature

Celeb 201 DMX LED Control Panel notes from kinoflo.com

Celeb 201 DMX LED Control Panel notes from kinoflo.com

Great Color Range for Digital Sensors:

With digital sensors, a bigger range of color temperature is huge. With film, to get higher resolution in your details, you would need lower contrast, but with digital, everything resolved has a pretty high contrast. What that means is that with digital sensors, I’m using even more color contrast to create depth and dimension. What is color contrast? It’s different tonalities, so when I’m lighting with digital sensors, I’m using different layers of color to give dimension and depth. With this Kino Flo Celeb 201, you can use a knob and set your color temperature anywhere from 2700 K to 5500 K. However, with the daylight preset blue button, this will set your color temperature all the way to 6500 K.

Celeb 201 at 2700 K

Celeb 201 at 2700 K

Celeb 201 at 5500 K

Celeb 201 at 5500 K

With the spin of a wheel, you can change the color temp from a very blue at 5500 K to a warm 2700 K.

Color temp 2700 K

Color temp 2700 K

Spinning the wheel to change the color temperature

Spinning the wheel to change the color temperature

Color temperature 5500 K

Color temperature 5500 K

Side by side comparison, 5500 K and 2700 K

Side by side comparison, 5500 K and 2700 K

Dimming Functionality with the Kino Flo Celeb:

These lights have a beautiful soft light quality. They are the softest LED light’s I’ve ever used, and what’s even better is that they are completely dimmable as well! The Celeb 201 can go from being off to any value in between, all the way to 100%.

Kino Flo Celeb 201 with the dimmer all the way down so it is off

Kino Flo Celeb 201 with the dimmer all the way down so it is off

Kino Flo Celeb 201 at about 50% on the dimmer

Kino Flo Celeb 201 at about 50% on the dimmer

Kino Flo Celeb 201 all the way up to 100%

Kino Flo Celeb 201 all the way up to 100%

On a Coors commercial I shot, I used two Kino Flo Celeb 401 lights and a Kino Flo Celeb 201 dimmed down to create beautiful soft creamy light to illuminate a glass of beer. This sensitive dim ability is so useful for your lighting exactly where and how you want it.

Notice the Kino Flo Celeb 401 lights and the Kino Flo Celeb 201

Notice the Kino Flo Celeb 401 lights and the Kino Flo Celeb 201

Dynamic Uses – Key, Fill, Backlight:

used these as a backlight, fill light, key light, and even as a TV gag light. You can use them to splash color into a background for bar situations. These lights can basically do anything.

Kino Flo Celeb 201 as a Key Light:

Today, my son Myles is going to help me demonstrate how to use the Kino Flo Celebs as a key light. This will be a very soft key source because there are tons of micro LEDs in this light, which create a nice even field of creamy light. With the Celeb 201 pointed at us, notice how soft the light looks, as well as how illuminated I am.

Notice how soft this source is and that I’m being lit up as well.

Notice how soft this source is and that I’m being lit up as well.

You have this nice even lighting, but what about lighting modifiers? You can control this light, so that we can get the light off me and just on Myles. To control the light, we use the honeycomb louver. The 90° or 60° honeycomb is made out of high-grade plastic and focuses the light spread so that it is more controlled. It is not very heavy and pops right onto the spring loaded front side of the light. To control our light, and get it off me, we pop on a 60° honeycomb.

Accessories that come with the Celeb 201

Accessories that come with the Celeb 201

Putting in the 60° honeycomb

Putting in the 60° honeycomb

With the honeycomb on, you can see that the light is specifically on Myles.

Light on Myles with the 60° honeycomb in the light

Light on Myles with the 60° honeycomb in the light

With the honeycomb, I’m not illuminated.

With the honeycomb, I’m not illuminated.

If you’re in small rooms, interview situations or areas with white walls, this light control is very useful. The honeycomb gives you the ability to contain the light and aim it directly where you want it.

Gel Frames on the Kino Flo Celeb 201:

If you want to gel the light, it also has a gel frame that pops on to the light because it is spring loaded. Just take the gel frame off, stick your piece of gel in, and you can easily re-attach the lightweight frame.

Holding the gel frame of the Kino Flo Celeb 201

Holding the gel frame of the Kino Flo Celeb 201

Putting the gel frame into the Kino Flo Celeb 201

Putting the gel frame into the Kino Flo Celeb 201

Size, Rigging and Control:

With the following dimensions: 24 x 14”, the Kino Flo Celeb 201 is lightweight, small, and can be controlled with a remote. You can buy the Lumen Radio transmitter and operate the DMX wirelessly. This is great if you’re shooting in a situation where you don’t have access to where your light is to constantly adjust the color temp or intensity. There was a time when I rigged these lights to a Ferris wheel, and I couldn’t always get up there to change the light. This remote literally saved me so much time. This is a powerful light, but if you want a bigger version, there is the Kino Flo Celeb 401.

Kino Flo Celeb 401:

The Kino Flo Celeb 401 is a perfect beauty key light and is easy to rig, focus, and control. You can use the Lumen Radio transmitter to control this light as well, and the light is 45 x 14”. With this light, you’re looking at a 4 ft 4 bank but with LED technology. There is very low power consumption, and this light has all the same functions as the Kino Flo Celeb 201.

Celeb 401 DMX LED Control Panel notes from kinoflo.com

Celeb 401 DMX LED Control Panel notes from kinoflo.com

We also demonstrated this light as a key light with my son Myles, so you can see the quality of light.

Kino Flo Celeb 401 color temperature 5500. Notice the light is low due to the dimmer control.

Kino Flo Celeb 401 color temperature 5500. Notice the light is low due to the dimmer control.

Kino Flo Celeb 401 color temperature 2700. Notice the light is high due to the dimmer.

Kino Flo Celeb 401 color temperature 2700. Notice the light is high due to the dimmer.

These Kino Flo Celebs 401 lights are also versatile like the Kino Flo Celeb 201 lights. You can use these as a key, fill, backlight, or even as TV gags to mimic flickering TV light because they have sensitive dim ability. Here’s a shot of some Kinos I rigged up to light a commercial.

Kino Flo Celeb 401 lights I used on a commercial

Kino Flo Celeb 401 lights I used on a commercial

Lighting Control with the Celeb 401:

The Kino Flo Celeb 401 also comes with a gel frame and honeycombs for light control, like the Kino Flo Celeb 201. Here’s what my son Myles looks like with a 90° honeycomb on and off.

Side by side comparison, without the 90° honeycomb and with the 90° honeycomb

Side by side comparison, without the 90° honeycomb and with the 90° honeycomb

Notice that with the honeycomb on the left, I am not illuminated and there’s light control.

Notice that with the honeycomb on the left, I am not illuminated and there’s light control.

just like the honeycomb does with the Kino Flo Celeb 201. It’s light, easy to snap on and off, and saves you time because you’re not having to flag off the light.

Conclusion:

These lights are amazing because they provide a soft even light and intricate control. You can get the exact fill ratio you want with the dimmer and can get nice depth by getting the right color temperature, which is huge for creating color depth with digital sensors. You also have lightweight gel frames and honeycomb louvers for extra control, and the lights are easy to rig because they aren’t extremely heavy.

I actually bounce these lights because they allow you to really control your fill ratio and color temperature. I’ll light a room, then come in with a Celeb 201 or Celeb 401, and slightly dial it in so I have a perfect color temperature and fill to coincide with my key light to give me that wonderful color contrast.

**We demonstrated with Kino Flo Celeb 200 and Kino Flo Celeb 400. These items are now discontinued and have been replaced with the Kino Flo Celeb 201 and Kino Flo Celeb 401. The new models have have slight innovations.**

All videos were edited on HP Z840 workstations using HP Z24x DreamColor monitors.

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