Trade shows can be wonderful places, especially when you come across something interesting and unexpected. At NAB 2023, one of those interesting and unexpected things we saw was on the Aladdin stand. Here, they were showing off some prototypes of their upcoming giant inflatable RGBWW tube lights. And when I say “giant”, the small one is 4ft long, with the larger one being a massive 8ft long. (if you recall Pipelighting from IBC, those lights share some features with the Aladdin lights)
With the 4ft and 8ft versions offering outputs of 100W and 200W, respectively, they put out quite some power. But that power is diffused to provide a nice soft light source on your subject. As mentioned, they are still in the prototype stages, so the designs are yet to be finalised, but the lights show some great promise.
That’s what she said
Sometimes, you need a big, long light source that throws a nice soft light onto your subject. Perhaps you’re attempting to emulate the look of clouds lighting your subject from above, or maybe you just need a really wide hair or rim light for multiple subjects. Whatever your reasons, Aladdin’s new lights are absolutely huge and offer a large soft light source with a respectable amount of power but with very little weight.
This low weight is due to the fact that they’re mostly air. And being supported by the pressure of the air within means they don’t need heavy metal frames to help them keep their form. Of course, there is hardware for fixing the light to a stand, but the overall weight of the 4ft version is about 2kg. That’s extremely lightweight for a light source of this size. I expect that the 8ft version isn’t much heavier, given that most of the weight is in the mounting bracket.
Lots of power in a large light source
The light will be available in two sizes. These are 4ft long and 8ft long. Both of the lights are RGBWW, with the 4ft light offering 100W output and the 8ft light providing 200W of output. They didn’t mention the actual colour temperature range, but as they’re RGBWW lights, I expect they’ll cover the usual range that includes tungsten (about 2500-3200K) to daylight (around 5600-7500K) with a green/magenta adjustment to help it match up with other light sources illuminating your scene.
The lights can be controlled directly via the wired controller on the lights, but they’re also able to be controlled by wired DMX, Lumen Radio or Bluetooth app control. This is a good mix of remote control options that are pretty much mandatory for a light of this type. After all, they’re more than likely going to be mounted up overhead of subjects where they’re going to be out of reach to readjust them. So, remote control with these is invaluable.
AC or DC Power
The lights offer a number of different power options. They take a 48v DC connection and as standard, are powered using the supplied 110-230v AC adapter. You are able to use these on location without plug sockets, though. The company plans to release a V-Mount plate to accompany the lights that will take either a 14.8v or 26v V-Mount battery and convert it up to 48V. There are also a number of third-party portable power solutions out there that can output 48v to power them.
Shaped with air
The Aladdin inflatable tube lights are, as the name suggests, inflatable. You’ll have to purchase a pump separately, but these are pretty common. You can go with traditional, cheap, basic foot pumps, which are readily available on the likes of Amazon (try the camping department), or you can go with a battery-powered pump (also in the camping department) to make your life a little easier.
If you end up with multiple ones of these on set, a battery-powered pump is certainly going to make your life much easier than having to blow up a bunch of these under manual foot power. Anybody who’s ever tried to pump up an air mattress with one of those foot pumps will attest to that!
As well as being less demanding on light stands, the other big advantage of inflatable lights like this is that once the air is removed, they pack down extremely small compared to their inflated size. Once deflated, just flatten it out, fold it up and it’ll fit in a reasonably small bag.
Price and Availability
The new Aladdin inflatable RGBWW tube lights are still in the final prototyping stages, so there’s no release date yet. There are, however, estimated prices and the company is estimating they’ll be ready in about 8 weeks. The 4ft 100W model is expected to be $2,200, while the 8ft 200W version will be $3,200. As always with unreleased products, though, these are subject to change by the time the release date comes around. We’ll let you know when we hear more.