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The Illuminati meter is a wireless, smartphone-connected light and color ambient and strobe meter for photography and filmmaking.
The Illuminati meter is a wireless, smartphone-connected light and color ambient and strobe meter for photography and filmmaking.
532 backers pledged $131,111 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$131,111

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What is a prototype?

A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:

Proof of Concept

Explorations that test ideas and functionality.

Functional Prototype

Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.

Appearance Prototype

Looks like the final product, but is not functional.

Design Prototype

Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.

Production Prototype

Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.

410e71c5d519664708149ea5aa4f7934 original

Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.

 

"Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography."  

— George Eastman

 

Metering light and color is simple with the Illuminati Meter. Master exposure and color with this revolutionary breakthrough in lighting control for photography and video.

We’re dedicated to advancing your ability to make your vision come to life with simple, powerful imaging and exposure measurement tools. The Illuminati Wireless Meter is designed to be the most versatile light and color meter ever available. We plan to keep expanding its capabilities beyond the initial release with new app features and firmware updates. This is one gadget you won’t want to leave behind. 

If you want to master photography to capture your life, adventures, or for your profession, you need to get your color and exposure right. To get those really great photos, you have to stop shooting under just the ambient light, and really take control. You can't rely on your camera’s automatic options to give the look you want. The Illuminati meter gives all the information you, the modern creator, needs. We save you time and give you the confidence to focus on what matters–your vision. 

We hope you agree, and want to join us in the pursuit of amazing photos and video.

 
Illuminati Meter plus Android Phone (iOS available, too!)
Illuminati Meter plus Android Phone (iOS available, too!)

The Illuminati meter is the world's first Bluetooth light and color meter that works wirelessly with smartphones.  

Traditional light meters combine the sensor and display into one bulky device.  The Illuminati meter discards all that extra weight and keeps only the most critical parts.  Small and wireless, you place the Illuminati meter anywhere in your scene.  It sends readings in real time to your phone or smartwatch while you are free to stay behind your camera or adjust lights.

The Illuminati meter can also continuously monitor the ambient lighting and color. User-programmable alarms will warn you if the brightness changes because of a cloud floating overhead or the color temperature changes during the golden hour. Always know your lighting and get more good shots under changing conditions.

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.

You can even use your smartwatch to trigger the meters remotely, monitor readings constantly and receive critical notifications about exposure or color shifts. 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!

Best of all, it’s simple to use and small. Check it out:

Anatomy of an Illuminati meter
Anatomy of an Illuminati meter

 

No sweat. Here is a video we made in our office in Santa Clara, CA.

Tech Specs

 
  • One (1) Illuminati Bluetooth Light and Color Meter 
  • One (1) Storage/Carry Case 
  • One (1) Professional version of the Illuminati App ($20 Anticipated Value after Kickstarter) 
  • One (1) Offset Finger-T Accessory Clip. Can be rotated to tilt the meter at different angles 
  • One (1) Alligator Accessory Clip. Affix to clothes, hook-and-loop straps, etc 
  • Two (2) AAA alkaline batteries (TBD) 
  • One (1) Instruction card, which includes: How to open battery case & install batteries, App download instructions Link to user manual & website Link to website

We solved a bunch of real-world problems for visual artists, content-creators and professionals

Auto White Balance (AWB) Doesn’t Always Work

Left: Too cool, Center: Neutral, Right: Too warm
Left: Too cool, Center: Neutral, Right: Too warm

Letting the camera decide how to set white balance might sound convenient.  But when it fails, you get bad skin tones, inaccurate colors, and even different colors shot-to-shot. Instead, use the Illuminati meter to get the light’s true color temperature and set white balance correctly. Leave automatic color mishaps behind.  Stop wasting time fixing it in Photoshop® or Lightroom® by getting it right before you press the shutter button.  

Wrong Exposures in Tough Lighting Conditions

Left: Overexposed (lost highlights) Right: Properly exposed
Left: Overexposed (lost highlights) Right: Properly exposed

Autoexposure works fine for typical scenes. Truly creative images aren’t typical. You have to control your camera, not the other way around. Subjects like a bride in a stunning white gown next to a groom in dark tuxedo, or a model backlit or under a spotlight can cause any camera to struggle.  

Measuring the light falling on your subject (incident) instead of bouncing back to the camera (reflected), will let you always nail the exposure. First time, every time.

Unnatural or Unexpected Colors when Mixing Lighting

Left: Daylight only, Middle: Daylight + Tungsten, Right: Daylight plus matched color balance
Left: Daylight only, Middle: Daylight + Tungsten, Right: Daylight plus matched color balance

A shot ruined by mixed lighting can be almost impossible to fix when editing your RAW files. If your flash doesn’t match the ambient, you’re bound to get odd shadow colors. A fill light can ruin an otherwise gorgeous golden sunset.  Use the Illuminati meter’s strobe and ambient color measuring to match your strobes to the ambient and avoid mixed color casts.  

Scenes with multiple light sources or odd sources, like LEDs or fluorescent lights, can also be problematic. Measure your sources separately with the Illuminati meter and instantly know how to filter or white balance to get the look you want.  You even can use multiple meters in your scene to do it even faster.

We’re also including a GEL MODE in the app to help you choose the right color correction gels, even for hard-to-match lights like LEDs.

Change Happens

Sometimes a cloud passes before the sun, or one of your flashes stops working. If you don’t know when it happens, you may have to reshoot the photos or just plain loose the shots.  Bummer.  Avoid that with up to 15 user-programmable alarm notifications.  The app can even automatically compare readings from several meters and send you warnings of color changes, color mismatch, or changes in relative brightness.  

 

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 Your Time is Money

When you’re a pro, all the time spent correcting images afterwards eats into your profit. Get each shot right and spend less time correcting exposure and color.

© Tony Corbell
© Tony Corbell

Setting up Lighting Ratios  

Know the exposure difference between your main light and fill or background light. Measure all of them and see the difference in f-stops. It’s easy and fast to set the same ratios up again anywhere.

© Tony Corbell
© Tony Corbell

Stay in the Flow

Setting and checking lighting during a photoshoot can detract from the energy between a photographer and her model or clients.  Avoid those, “Hold on a sec, I have to check the lighting…” moments by having the answers in your pocket or on your wrist.  You can also quietly ask assistants to go make adjustments since you already know what to fix!

 

Level up as Director of Photography

With multiple Illuminati meters on the set, you can be behind the camera or in the video village while working with your gaffers to craft the lighting.

Be the Best Gaffer on Set  

If you’re handling the lights and the DP calls for adjustments for a light in an awkward place (happens, right?), you can place your meter in the sweet spot and clamber up to the light to make changes and see the results on your phone or watch.  Gel the light, adjust the power or adjust the color temperature–you’ll get all the right info, faster.

Save Time when Color Grading   

When the editing is done and you’re grading your footage, you’ll appreciate the exposure and colors all being in the right place. Don’t lose any highlights or shadows to something you could have fixed on set. Measure now with Illuminati meters and spend less time gnashing your teeth during color grading.

Rapid Green Screen Illumination

A badly lit green screen won’t mask out properly.  Using a grid of Illuminati meters in front of your green screen lets you get behind the lights and adjust them while seeing the results in Continuous Mode in the palm of your hand. The LEDs on the meters will show you which areas are too bright or too dark. When all the meters glow green, you’re good to go.

Matching and Correcting Light Sources  

You’ve got many lights on your set. They may be rented and unknown, or from different manufacturers.  Plus, not all lights are made the same (or accurately report or display their color temperature).  On top of that, many bulbs drift color temperature over time with use. Phew! 

With the Illuminati meter, you will measure, know and correct all your light sources to match (or tailor to taste) before rolling camera.

 

Measure the brightness of both ambient and strobe lighting

  • Measuring modes: Tv, Av, Sv, strobe ratio priority 
  • Strobe-to-total ratio is how much of the light comes from the strobe
  •   

Measure color of both ambient and strobes

  • One meter for both types of readings 
  • Helps you detect and correct color differences to prevent mixed lighting, or craft deliberate neutral + warm/cool lighting scenarios

Connect multiple sensors to your phone

Measure the foreground and background simultaneously with multiple meters
Measure the foreground and background simultaneously with multiple meters
  • Meter large areas to get uniform lighting 
  • Measure strobe ratios (foreground/background or main/fill/hair, etc.)
  • Simultaneously measure color of different light sources, e.g. daylight from windows and artificial lighting
  •   

Measures color in both color temperature and chromaticity

Two Chromaticity measurements compared
Two Chromaticity measurements compared

   

Color temperature reading on app
Color temperature reading on app
  • Color temperature is ideal for setting camera white balance and color correcting natural sources
  • Chromaticity helps you color correct artificial sources like LEDs and fluorescents, or other sources that may not emit full chroma spectrum or have a tint
  •   

Measures color of strobe and ambient

Strobe + Ambient Exposure with matched color © Tony Corbell
Strobe + Ambient Exposure with matched color © Tony Corbell
  • Helps you detect and correct color differences to prevent mixed lighting

Trigger a meter reading

  • from the app 
  • from your watch
  • from button on the meter
  • continuous ambient monitoring
Trigger the meter from your smartwatch
Trigger the meter from your smartwatch

Flash Triggering  

  • Strobe photo trigger with automatic preflash rejection
  • Use a sync cable from Illuminati Meter sync port to remotely trigger strobes

 Spring-loaded retractable dome

  • Dome toggles up/down much like a ballpoint pen cap 
  • Dome up for metering people or other 3D objects and multiple light sources at same time 
  • Dome down for metering flat objects or single light sources 
  • Safety feature: accidental pressure on the dome will push it into meter body instead of cracking.
  •   

RGB Status Indicator LEDs on meter face

  • Used for displaying status information - battery warning, BLE connection status, etc.
  • Primarily used to display user-programmable light and color level alarms. The LEDs are a great way to check lighting conditions with even looking at your phone.
  •   

Powered by two AAA batteries

  • Battery life is approximately 6 months 
  • Easy to find, easy to replace 
  • No need to worry about charging an internal or proprietary battery

Custom Alarms warn you when lighting changes

Set up to 15 different alarms per device to monitor any parameter:

  • ambient or strobe light level
  • ambient or strobe color temp
  • ambient or strobe chromaticity coordinates (x or y)

Set any type of limits

  • upper or lower limits
  • within a range 
  • outside a range 
  • # stops change in brightness

Wireless firmware upgrades

  • You will benefit from all new features and bug fixes

Multiple mounting options

Magnetic mount in action
Magnetic mount in action
  • ¼-20 tripod mount 
  • Holes for lanyard or necklace
  • Rear rare-earth magnet
All the Magnetic Accessory Prototypes
All the Magnetic Accessory Prototypes

 Magnetic accessories  

Any magnetic accessory can be used to clip the meter to a thin surface like curtains, a jacket, shirt, reflector, and more.

Finger T 

  • Also doubles as a kickstand to support meter at an angle on a table
  • Hold the meter between two fingers while leaving the rest of your hand free 

Offset Finger T

  • Like the Finger T, but better!
  • Rotating the top alters the angle to adjust from 90 deg to 45 deg for standing nearly vertical or at an upward angle 
Using the offset-T to tilt the meter at various angles
Using the offset-T to tilt the meter at various angles

 Alligator Clip  

  • Clip firmly to collars, ties, and other clothing 
  • Clip to a hook-and-loop strap or cord
Alligator Clip on Jeans Pocket
Alligator Clip on Jeans Pocket

 Tie Loops  

  • Use this when you mount the meter on to a C-Stand, boom arm, pole, or any round objec
Tie Loops on Strap
Tie Loops on Strap

 

Don't forget the built-in lanyard loop on the meter body!
Don't forget the built-in lanyard loop on the meter body!

 

Kickstarter backers get the Pro version for life (Anticipated Value $20). Retail customers will get Basic version and can purchase Pro version for an additional cost.

Check out our video demo of the app and meter working together.

The current app is a functional prototype.  We have not finalized the user interface.  That's one reason why we need your help!

Startup screens and video metering
Startup screens and video metering

 

Ambient reading screens showing exposure, color temp, and chromaticity
Ambient reading screens showing exposure, color temp, and chromaticity

 

Strobe reading screens showing exposure, color temp, and chromaticity
Strobe reading screens showing exposure, color temp, and chromaticity

Manage Multiple Meters

  • Compute multi-meter readings like minimum and maximum readings, average level and more

Video Modes

  • Shutter angles, f-stop, ISO, frame rate (fps)

Photography

  • Aperture, shutter speed, f-stop, ISO

Flash

  • Exposure value (aperture, ISO, f-stop and ISO) 
  • Flash-to-ambient ratio

Color Temperature

  • Displays ambient and strobe color temperature individually 
  • Slider to set target color temperature. Displays shows the mired color shift. 
  • Use the button “Copy reading to target” to quickly pick a reading to use as a reference. Then compare other readings from different lights to the reference light. Good for matching lights.

Chromaticity Plot

  • Shows exact color coordinates of both ambient and strobe in CIE XYZ gamut (entire visible spectrum of light), with a gamut indicator triangle for sRGB
  • Shows not only color temperature, but magenta-green color shift (tint) between lights 
  • Great for matching to odd lights like LEDs or fluorescents

Software Development Kit (SDK)

We are planning on releasing an SDK after our backers receive their rewards so that other innovative programmers and hardware developers can do fun and interesting things with the Illuminati Meter. We’re looking forward to what is possible when more minds apply their ideas and creativity in this space.

 

 “As many things have changed in the medium of photography, the one constant element has been light. The quality and color of light in a photograph is what gives meaning and definition to the activity. The direction is what gives the photograph a sense of time and moment, and critical is the difference between the light and shadow. The light meter is still one of the most important tools for creative photographers to use in making their work. The Illuminati meter gives the photographer more information than we have ever had, and ways to use that information that we have only dreamed about.”

Dennis Keeley, Chair at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA

“I have been promoting the need for and importance of light meters for the past twenty years. Now for the first time, there is finally a new way to measure light and color that is affordable and accurate, with cutting edge technology. Illuminati is here and I for one will use it every day."

Tony Corbell, Photographer/Lighting Evangelist

“Finally, a photographer’s tool that will change the way you work and simplify precision control with color and exposure using your smart device… the Illuminati. A tool for today’s professional image maker! Measure a range of mixed lighting from ambient to strobe but most important, a wealth of information and control at our fingertips at a reasonable cost."

Eddie Tapp, M.Photog., MEI, Cr., API Certified Professional Photographer, Explorer of Light - Canon USA, Photoshop Hall of Fame, Certified Drone Pilot, Delkin ImageMaker, Triple Scoop Music, Coloratti - X-Rite, Legion of Lume, DJI Ambassador, Ilford Master Coach

We exhibited a preview of the Illuminati Meter at WPPI 2017.  

 

We’re so excited about making the Illuminati Meter for you. We have lots of ideas to add value to your reward. If we reach a few major milestones above our minimum, we will add these exciting items for all reward levels:

If we reach $150,000 all backers receive the following item, one (1) each per meter ordered.

Soft Neoprene Cover for Meter MSRP $15
This slip-on soft cover protects against light rain and accidental bumps or drops.

Available in many colors:

  • Camouflaging/masking colors: white, black, chroma-key green. 
  • High visibility colors: blue, red, yellow, orange

NOTE: You’ll be able to vote for your favorite color if we reach this stretch goal.

If we reach $200,000 all backers receive the following item, one (1) each per meter ordered.

Hard-shell Waterproof Case (MSRP $TBD)

  • Rugged - you can drop of a cliff! 
  • 100% waterproof. Depth TBD. 
  • Floats if accidentally dropped overboard. 
  • Transparent plastic allows you to use the meter while it’s in the case 
  • Sealed button for triggering readings or turning meter on/off

If we reach $250,000 all backers receive the following item, one (1) each per meter ordered. 

Clip-on Smartphone Holder for Meter MSRP $35

  • By mounting on your phone, it handles like a standard light/color meter.  Great if you're already used to working with traditional meters.
  • Spring mounted or clamp-on ¼”-20 screw for mounting meter 
  • Low-profile

This is our first Kickstarter, but it isn’t our first rodeo...

What is ready to go?

We know how to make light meters. Our sister company, Peripheral Vision, designs and sells scientific-grade light and color meters for camera image quality testing. Their products are used by dozens of the best known camera companies all over the world, including Silicon Valley giants.

The Illuminati meter final mechanical design is complete. We already use the same plastics suppliers to make much larger and more complex parts. The electrical design is also complete.

Exploded view
Exploded view

We have working Android and Android Wear apps that all our Alpha testers love.  

Also, we’ve patented some major features in the Illuminati Meter and more patents are pending. We’ve made some real breakthroughs during development, and more are on the way.

What is next?

When we ship the meters, the iOS version will be ready for Apple iPhone and iPad owners. 

Complete radio EMI/compliance testing Develop the production apps for both iOS and Android Complete production test and calibration.

Why We Need your Help

We’ve spent our own money prototyping the ideas and iterating forward to turn an idea into a real working product. But funding mass production includes making plastic molds, regulatory testing, production testing and calibration processes, retail packaging, app user interface design and coding, and more. These all come at a cost.

By backing our project, we’ll have the proper funds to bring this truly innovative product to you, the people who most believe that possible is worth supporting. Please help us bring the dream to life.

 

Development & Production Schedule
Development & Production Schedule

 

 

Illuminati Instruments was founded in 2017 by Michael Okincha. Michael designed the electronics and wrote the firmware. 

Michael knows how to build cameras. He has worked on all types of cameras - scientific, medical, DSLRs, mobile phone cameras, security, automotive, and video conferencing systems. 

He worked in many technical, marketing, and management roles at companies such as Foveon, Agilent, Flextronics, and Omnivision. Michael designed and managed the first camera with Foveon's X3 sensor technology, the Sigma SD9. 

In 2010 Michael founded Peripheral Vision (PV), a camera design consulting business. PV has helped over sixty clients, including the largest manufacturers in Silicon Valley, develop products with cameras. PV also develops automated camera test systems. The PV team includes a broad range of skills, including hardware, firmware, software, production testing, color science, and optics. 

One of PV's services is camera image quality testing.  As part of that work, PV developed a line of light & color meters, including the Isolight and Puck meters. The Illuminati meter is based on that work.

Rudy Guttosch was raised in a family-owned commercial photography business and spent several years in digital imaging sales and development at Hasselblad USA and its parent company in Sweden. Most recently, he worked at digital image sensor developer Foveon. He holds BS/MS degrees in Imaging Science from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Tom Walker is a product designer with over 25 years experience. Now based in Asia but with extensive experience working with international clients, both Blue Chip and Kickstarter projects, such as the 3Doodler.

We’ve been working on this for over three years. We’re really confident we can bring this product to market and grateful for your support backing our project or even telling someone you know who loves photography, filmmaking or creating content. We appreciate you! 

Our pledge to you: We will communicate openly and honestly about the process with our backer community. 

Disclaimer: iPhone, Apple, Apple logo and Android, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, Foveon, Agilent, Flextronics, Omnivision, Hasselblad, and 3Doodler are all registered trademarks of their respective owners.

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Risks and challenges

The biggest risks to the project are:

App Development:
It's possible that app development will take longer than planned. Developing apps for multiple operating systems, debugging and beta testing is complicated. That said, we are very confident in our ability to achieve the goals with our programmers and partners.

To mitigate possible delays, we have developed a list of must-have core features. The Android and iOS apps won't ship without them. That allows us to focus effort on getting a working product to our believers on time. Additional features will be added in future app releases.

In the end, all Kickstarter backers will receive the Pro version of the app as a reward for no additional cost.

EMI Testing:
Michael Okincha has extensive knowledge and experience with RF and EMI/EMC testing. Michael received his full amateur radio license at 12 years old. He is licensed to build and operate transmitters up to 2kW.

Michael has also gotten many products through EMI testing and certification including high-speed phone network equipment (Nortel) and high-performance industrial and DSLR cameras (Foveon).

Illuminati Instruments is already working with our Bluetooth radio supplier on tuning performance on optimizing radio range and performance. This is not a risk, but a benefit that may yield even greater performance attributes.

Production Workflow:
The electronics, mechanical components, and assembly are immediately available in high volumes for mass production.

We have established partnerships in the USA and Asia with multiple suppliers who stand by to begin production rapidly.

Production will begin in the USA under our close scrutiny and flexible iterative process. Once the process is stable, we will consider duplicating the production process with our Asian partners.

Peripheral Vision, Inc., Michael’s other company, is currently using automated calibration systems for their USA production of scientific instruments. We will be using even more advanced systems for Illuminati meter production.

Bugs in the Device Firmware:
Every product has bugs, especially the first versions. To protect you, the Illuminati meter will support secure wireless updating the meter firmware. The secure update feature is already implemented by our processor vendor, and is built into the latest firmware. We will be able to fix any functional bugs, even in devices already shipped to customers.

Even better, firmware updating means we will be able to add new features to the meter, even after you've received yours. All customers will receive the benefits of firmware updates.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    EARLY BIRD: Illuminati Meter

    One (1) Illuminati meter with case, accessories, and professional version of app. Save $100 off the planned $300 MSRP.

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    One (1) Illuminati meter with case, accessories, and professional app. Save $71 off the planned $300 MSRP.

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    Illuminati Meter x2 Bundle

    Two (2) Illuminati meters with cases, accessories, and professional app. Save $150 off the planned $600 MSRP.

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    Illuminati Meter x4 Bundle

    Set of four (4) Illuminati meters with case, accessories, and professional version of app. Save $600 off the planned $1,200 MSRP.

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    Pledge $3,500 or more About $3,500

    Day w/Tony Corbell + 2 Deluxe Meters

    You will get two (2) Deluxe Illuminati meters with case, accessories, and professional app, plus master photographer and educator Tony Corbell will fly out to meet with you and spend an entire day teaching you anything you want to know about the art and craft of photographic lighting.
    Offer available in the Continental Unites States only.

    Your name will also be added to the wall of fame on our website for being awesome.

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Funding period

- (30 days)