Video Calling 3: Brightlines I/S-22 LED Conference Lamp

i-Series-with-desk-clamp1 copyIt’s been a month or more since I took delivery of a Brightlines I/S-22 light for use in my working life. I noted it’s arrival to my small circle of associates, who seem to be happy with the result. With the I/2-22 providing even fill lighting I’ve not appeared as a disembodied head on any video calls.

As was mentioned previously, the I/S-22 has three possible mounting options; a VESA bracket with a 6” gooseneck, a table clamp with a 22” long gooseneck, or a heavy round base with that same 22” gooseneck.

The VESA mount allows the light to be  mounted to the back of a monitor, presuming that the monitor is not itself mounted to a VESA type arrangement.

My situation seemed best addressed by the long gooseneck with the table clamp. This allows me to mount the light to the edge of the table immediately behind the HDX-4500. The HDX is a large and rather heavy device, and does not have VESA type mounting holes. Happily the I/S-22 on the long gooseneck rises to an appropriate height, about 4 inches above the top of the HDX.

The lamp itself has an array of LEDs behind a 0.5” x 0.5” black metal egg crate louver and a film that provides some diffusion. LEDs are bright point-sources of light, so they must be diffused in some manner to provide the kind of soft fill lighting that’s appropriate for this application.

Brightlines-Selection-Positioning-Guidance

A Brightlines document describes how to choose between the I/S-16 and I/S-22 models, which are the only two suitable for desktop applications. I probably could have used either model. Since the HDX is the equivalent of a 24” monitor, I opted for the larger model just to be safe.

In terms of its orientation, I find that I like it to be high enough above the monitor to be able to achieve a slight downward angle. It’s basically aimed at my chin. That provides adequate light to my face while keeping it from shining right into my eyes.

The LED array in the I/S-22 is rated at 20 watts. It’s powered by a small, laptop style power supply. The connection to the lamp is a simple, coaxial connector. While the power supply connection is adequate, it’s not especially tight. This makes me wish that it had a locking type connector.

The kit also included a dimmer control and on/off switch that can be inserted inline with the power supply. This has proven more than just convenient. It’s absolutely necessary to get the correct light level.

On brighter days I can dial down the lamp, taking advantage of the natural light in the room, but filling in the shadows that would otherwise be cast on my face. On cloudy days I can dial it up a little more.

The gallery includes some images I captured to highlight the difference between the natural light and the Brightlines I-22 at around 33%, 66% and 100%. These shots were taken in the morning using a Logitech C920 webcam attached to my laptop.

The Logitech camera driver implements a feature they call “Right Light” which is basically software defined exposure and color management. You can see that as I dialed up the lamp the background gets darker. The goal is to find a balance of enough frontal fill light to eliminate shadows around the eyes, while not completely blowing out any highlights. I’ve found that around 50% to be acceptable in most cases.

I really wish that I could find a model to do these kinds of things. I really dislike looking at myself in such pictures or hearing mu own voice in recordings.

In order to keep the dimmer control both readily accessible but also tucked out-of-the-way, I’ve mounted it to the top of the lamp with a couple of nylon tie wraps.

In the weeks since I started using the I/S-22 I’ve had no further complaints about the lighting in my office. From discussion with some co-workers the added lighting seems to be well-received, although some have remarked about the cost.

VUC-450-MOCET

The first time I used the I/S-22 in public was for VUC #450 where we discussed Mocet’s Communicator. I attended that VUC call using my laptop at the table where the HDX lives specifically so that I could take advantage of the lighting. It was a very sunny morning that day so I also had to improvise something to keep the sun from exploding through the first set of doors.

I like the fact that I now have more  control of the situation. I can dial the fill light up/down as necessary at a given moment. All is not yet perfect as the light from the doors and the skylight can still be offensive at times. Some kind of shade or blind is required to overcome that trouble.

The Brightlines I/S-22 and its table mount together cost just under $300. That’s a considerable sum. However, it’s not unreasonable for a professional, ready-made solution to the problem at hand. The I/S-22 is durable, uses very little power, generates no heat, noise or flickering. Nor are there any lamps to be replaced. It may be a little over-the-top for a home office, but it’s a made-to-measure solution for a corporate office.

If I decide to move forward with some additional lighting for my desk I will definitely go a less costly, more DIY route. That said, I can justify the cost of the Brightlines lighting given the not inconsiderable cost of the Polycom HDX-4500 to which it is paired. Thankfully I didn’t have to buy that out of my own pocket.

  • Jeff Schertz

    I looked into this lamp a few years ago and now that I’ve moved I need to readdress lighting in my new home office. Interesting point you make about natural light as it can be both great for video conferencing (when it’s available) and terrible (that afternoon storm which rolls in right before a customer meeting). My home setup is an HDX 8000 and Group 500 inversely connected to a pair of 22″ monitors so the VESA mount seems ideal, but I’m wondering if the 6″ neck is too short to attempt to centrally locate the lamp in between the two monitors.

    • mjgraves

      I can’t see the 6″ gooseneck as able to put the lamp between two monitors. I’d suggest the longer neck with the clamp or heavy metal base.

      I’ve been thinking of adding a second 24″ LCD to the HDX-4500, for those times when shared content comes into play.