Lighticians

Lighticians Apollo Control

Overview

Lighticians are a team of experts in lighting for video production. The company approached us to work on a highly specialized project: to redesign an app for controlling light fixtures remotely.

Branch
AV
Service
Mobile
IoT
Technology
DMX Protocol
Swift
RxSwift
VIPER architecture
Cocoapods
sACNViewer

About

Lighticians Apollo Control

For over 20 years, Tim Duff, Richard Ulivella, and Michael McDonald have worked on sets of many studio productions — e.g., Younger, House of Cards, Greater, and Pitch Perfect. With their combined experience, they founded Lighticians, a company that wants to make remote light control on video sets easier.

The Apollo Wireless Lighting Bridge built by Lighticians connects to almost every DMX wireless fixture. The device is a convenient tool for controlling light during video production.

What was the problem_

Connecting the Apollo bridge with lighting fixtures

Shooting any video material, be it a full-fledged movie or video for social media, often involves operating lighting fixtures from different manufacturers. To get everything right for a scene, cinematographers have to go through a complex process of light adjustment.

Even though many manufacturers provide apps for controlling their equipment, without a single control tool that would work with all fixtures, the process takes time and is cumbersome. 

Redesigning for professionals and amateur lighting professionals

To control the Apollo bridge and other lighting hardware available on the market, Lighticians had to create a mobile application. And while the first app the company got from a different agency had the business logic right, it wasn’t designed with a mobile-first mindset. User experience was poor, and the full power of the Apollo bridge stayed locked inside the device.

Lighticians needed a complete app redesign to give users unlimited access to the possibilities of cross-device light control. What Lighticians wanted was an environment where users didn’t have to think about the technical details but play with the science of color mixing instead.

How did we solve the problem_

Conducting an in-depth UX audit to analyze the app's design

We started with a comprehensive UX report that described what was wrong with the design and didn’t work with the flow. The UX report also included suggestions on how to fix the bugs and improve the flow.

Lighticians liked our honesty and expertise — we moved to the next steps.

Color mixing is an art of many nuances and intricacies. Lighticians go by the philosophy of working with four parameters of light — the manipulation of these parameters creates a custom effect for a scene. Considering the complexity of color mixing, the app’s design is the key element that lets gaffers work effectively.

Merging the complex art of color mixing in video production with mobile design

Lighting professionals use certain features and light options in a specific way. We mapped out those preferences, using established approaches in the industry to create a simple yet comprehensive layout.

The new flow allowed professional gaffers to fine-tune configuration options for different modules but also let amateur light operators adjust their light the way they needed it.

DMX Mapping

Thanks to custom DMX mapping, users gain precise control over DMX-compatible lights. Different setups can be saved for easy access.

Color Wheel & Swatches

Advanced light controls let users define saturation, hue, and color temperature for a dynamic and highly customizable experience.

Saved Scenes

Robust scene profiles help light professionals manage their light setups and stay organized during shooting.

What was the scope of the project_

  • Scope: full app redesign
  • Timeline: three months (product launch during BSC Expo in London)
  • Team: 2-3 developers, 1 designer, ½ QA
  • Workflow structure: asynchronous and remote workshops
  • Goal: make the design simple considering the complexity of features

Workflow

To meet the deadline, we cut out unnecessary meetings and typical routines. Our workflow included two-week sprints where we showed product demos to the team at Lighticians and daily internal meetings to align on tasks. Whenever tasks required more resources, we were able to dynamically add 1 developer to improve productivity.

Communication

We’ve set up the communication so that the client didn’t need to have full immersion into our work: two-week updates with demos were enough to validate progress and deliverables. 

The communication structure to problem-solving significantly improved the time-to-market:

  • In areas where we had more domain knowledge (UX), we would propose a few app screens with recommendations to discuss with the client. Sometimes we proposed only one screen, knowing we had the experience on the UX side.
  • We consulted the business logic questions about color mixing with Richard Ulivella (CTO at Lighticians) who gave us expert responses and insights that immensely helped development.

What was the business outcome_

An intuitive mobile application for remote light control

Lighticians Apollo Control is an easy and intuitive mobile application for remote light control available for iPhone and iPad. The application's design includes key light control options that fit into a limited screen space of iPhones. The layout of the iPad version of Lighticians Apollo Control adjusts to display more detailed light mixing options. The app works with different bridges and is compatible with other hardware on the market.

Drawing on the combined experience of professional gaffers, the app gives lighting professionals a seamless and detailed control of light. Lighticians Apollo Control lets users save lighting profiles for different projects and adjust them with advanced lighting options.

Lighticians Apollo Control is designed to cater to amateur and expert lighting professionals. It can be used on movie sets, TV shows, and amateur productions for TikTok or YouTube.

More projects coming

Recently, Lighticians approached us to work on the next stage of the app. Since lighting control is a complex art, we’ll be expanding the business logic to improve color mixing algorithms and further expand the design.

Apollo Bridge powers Litepanels — professional lighting equipment.

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"They have a positive attitude and are very collaborative."
Timothy Duff
Timothy Duff
CEO
Let's innovate together!
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