This is my first-ever product review here at D'Day. I am doing this one on the Govee Glide Lights for a couple of reasons. First, I get a lot of questions about how I do my backlighting ICM photos, and second, the Govee Glide lighting 5 pack is currently on sale for $69 at Lowes which is about 30% off the regular price.
These lights are real addition to the kit of any photographer engaged in the type of backlit photography I am doing. The Glide lights were originally intended for lighting in a gaming room. I guess it is not enough just to be a computer gamer any more. One has to have the chair, headphones, and room ambiance for the total experience.
The one thing I really like about these lights is that they diffuse the light emitted from them. With regular LED strips, I have found that the pinpoint light source often results in hotspots in my images which are largely eliminated with the diffused light that the Govee panels produce. So, I have pretty much abandoned LED strip lights in favor of the Govee panels as they reduce the need for image correction in post-processing. In a pack of Govee Glide lights you will find the following:
- 5 hexagonal lights
- connecting strips to link the lights together
- power cord and AC adaptor
- level and mounting assist tool
To pt the lights together, one simply does a layout of how the lights are to be arranged. I have mine in a semi-circle placed under a piece of clear acrylic sheet. The lights are then connected to one another with the power connecting strips that go into the connector ports on the back of each panel. This is the only place in the steup that one has to be careful as the input port for each light has to be connected correctly to the output port of the previous Glide panel in order for all of the connected lights to set up. There are 5 output ports for each panel to allow layout of the lights in any manner desired.
Once the lights are connected and the AC adaptor is plugged into a room outlet, the next task is to download either the Android or Apple cellphone control app from Govee as the lighting properties, color, temperature, brightness, etc are all controlled via the cellphone app. The lights can also be controlled by voice commands through Alexa or via a desktop computer app when the lights are connected through a home wireless network. I have no experience with the latter methods of communicating with the light panels as the connection through my cellphone meets all of my current needs.
After connecting the lights together and downloading the cellphone app, the first task is to get the bluetooth connection between the light panels and cellphone working. I won't go into that here as complete instructions are included in the product pack.
The next task is to create a map in the cellphone app that replicates the way the lights are arranged on the your wall, lightbox, or wherever you intend to use them. This is a straight-forward process but a very important one as the map serves as the interface for selecting panels to be adjusted for a variety of panel-specific light properties.
To adjust the light of one panel or multipe panels, one just has to touch the panel to be adjusted in the app followed by adjustment of the panel(s) properties. After the panel(s) are selected, the brightness, relative brightness, color and temperature can be selected. Basic colors can then be fine tuned by moving a slider that covers the entire color spectrum. Individual lights in the panel array can also be turned off as desired. The app also has a color wheel for each selected panel for a total fo something like 8 million possible colors. The App also has a save setting feature so that if you have a lighting setup you really like, the settings can be saved so they don't have to be manually reentered for each panel at some future time.,
Because these lights were originally designed to add ambiance to a gaming room, they also have the ability to respond to sounds and music that will constantly control individual panel light attributes. I tried doing ICM as light colors changed to music and found the process to be too fluid for my tastes, so I don't use it. But it is good to know it is there in case you want to experiment a bit.
The only negative thing I have to say about the Govee Glide lights is that there appears to be a glitch in the current app that relates to the bluetooth connection between the cellphone and light panels. Sometimes, when the cellphone times out and turns off, the connection between the panels and phone does not automatically reestablish itself when the phone is turned back on. There are two solutions to this glitch. You can tap the back button on the app, reselect the Govee Light panels and the connection will reestablish. The good news is that previously entered panel light setting are automatically saved so that when connection is restored, previous setting are still applied to individual panels.
The second way around this problem is to increase the amount of time the cell phone stays on while doing a photo shoot. This is what I do because I find myself constantly fine-tuning individual panel light settings as a shoot progresses and this avoids the hassle of repeated restarts of the phone that require re-entry of password settings and sometimes resetting of the bluetooth connection.
So that is about it. If you are into backlighting studio ICM photography as I am, I recommend you get a 5 pack of the Govee Glide light panels. They are a lot of fun.