2019 Technical Lifetime Achievement Award

Presented to Kino Flo Lighting Systems

Kino Flo Lighting Systems, Born in 1987

Making a leap of ingenuity, Kino Flo lighting systems recently turned the tables on cinema cameras with new proprietary LUT’s that balance their LED lights to the cameras, rather than the other way around. This breakthrough firmware and proprietary tungsten and daylight LED emitters harmonize with the camera sensors even as the color temperature settings are adjusted. It’s this special alchemy of turning artificial light sources into natural white light that has been the passion and pursuit of their transformative impact on motion picture and television production for decades.

The idea of portable, cool soft sources for production lighting was conceived on a Hollywood movie set by a cinematographer and gaffer more than 30 years ago. That gaffer, Frieder Hochheim, and his best boy electric, Gary Swink, went on to build the motion picture industry’s first high output, high color rendering arrays. Kino Flo was born in 1987, in Pacoima, California.

By 1995 the Kino Flo lighting systems had earned an Academy Award for Technical Achievement for developing color correct fluorescents that changed motion picture lighting. The award was followed by many more recognizing Kino Flo’s contributions in four major categories that continue to this day:

Cool vs Hot: Safe and comfortable tubes you can hold in your hand, Kinos replace power hungry hot lights.

95 PRI vs Not: Discontinuous spectrum sources that look as good as natural light on film and video.

Softlight vs Hard: A game-changing aesthetic influences lighting everything from faces to large spaces.

Portable vs Heft: Innovate lightweight materials result in new era of modular, versatile fixtures for location and studio.

Feature production credits are too numerous to list here, but since Barfly in 1985 some include franchise movies like the Avengers series, Iron Man, Captain Marvel (2019), Warner Brother’s DC universe films like Wonder Woman (2017) and Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice (2016). Paramount Studio’s stable of Kino products have been workhorses on Mission Impossible series 1-7 and every Star Trek feature since 1995.

20th Century Fox’s The Shape of Water (2018), Avatar I (2009) and II (in production) and more recent Alien movies all relied on Kinos. Dramas and comedies include: A Handmaid’s Tale (1990), Deadly Sins (1995), Titanic (1997), Panic Room (2002), Earth Girls Are Easy (1988),  As Good As It Gets (1997) and The Death of Stalin (2017). Older trilogies include Men in Black, The Matrix and the Lord of the Rings. International collaborations: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000), Kill Bill I & II (2003), and The Great Wall (2016).

The lights also have played a central role in lighting myriad television, commercial and music video productions since 1987.

In April, new T44 LED Tube Systems and Kits arrive in Helsinki via Angel Films,
a leader in motion picture and television production lighting rentals in Finland.
Photo courtesy of Angel Films Ltd.

After 15 years of developing fluorescent products, Kino Flo in 2002 created (with Color Kinetics) the Koloris RGB production LED heads, some of the first color changing DMX fixtures designed for motion picture set lighting (The Cat in the Hat, 2003). They followed up a few years later with the Kelvin Tile LED distributed through their rental operation, and then finally landing on the Celeb line of LEDs, that has for the past seven years expanded to include the FreeStyle family of lightweight portable LEDs, such as the new T44 LED Tubes, Fixtures and Kits.

Kino Flo Lighting Systems is still a small, family-owned company working out of a little mud hut on the edge of Hollywood.

The Cine Gear Expo 2019 Technical Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Kino Flo Lighting Systems in recognition of the significant contributions the company has made to advancing the art and craft of cinematography. The presentation will take place on Friday, May 31 at the VIP Industry Awards Reception at The Paramount Theater Paseo Grounds.