Lighting is possibly the single most important aspect of good photography and filmmaking, yet it's frequently overlooked and considered the reserve of professionals. This is a shame, because you don't need a professional lighting setup to see a marked improvement in your shots. The Kick is a budget full-spectrum lighting studio which can fit in your pocket and is controlled by your iPhone.

The Kick, from Rift Labs, is a lightweight photo/video light which promises to help you take better pictures and make better videos with anything from your smartphone to DSLR. Featuring full spectrum LEDs, the Kickstarter project boasts adjustable color temperature and can be used to add any color to your photos. It can even be used to produce animated light effects for your videos.

While at first glance the Kick (which is available in two versions) looks like any other LED photo light, closer examination shows it's anything but. Buttons around the frame allow for adjusting brightness and color temperature, and the Kick can also be controlled by an iPhone. Well, technically it can be controlled anything with a WiFi connection … but there's currently only an iPhone app.

Using the iPhone app to control the Kick, users can select LED output with a color picker, and adjust brightness or color temperature. Typical uses for photography would be adding a color hue or combating nasty lighting conditions. The Kick, which can hold an iPhone in a slot on the rear while leaving the camera lens exposed, also features a tripod mount so that it can be positioned without causing unnecessary strain to your arm.

The iPhone app can also be used to take photos or record video, all while still giving easy access to the functions of the Kick. A menu allows users to adjust the light output, select colors, control multiple Kick lights and access animated lighting effects. Effects could simulate the color of a lightning storm, or the flickering of a fire - things which would be harder and more expensive to add in post-production.

The Kick, which is currently heading towards a Kickstarter goal of US$115,000, can also sample light from any video, or directly from the iPhone camera itself. Users move the cursor over the light effect they want to sample and it will stream it directly to the device. A pledge of $149 will currently get you a Kick Plus (the full version) while $89 gets you the Kick Basic Early Bird, which only has white lights and does not include WiFi.

Here's the Kickstarter video of the Kick photography light.

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