Meet Anthem, the lighting company that wants to upset the industry


posted Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at 12:25 PM EDT


Though lighting for smaller sets and much of photography is rather dynamic with many options, lighting for studios and high-end productions is far more static and predictable. Often it's either giant fresnels or HMI lights, both of which are extremely costly to purchase and operate. Anthem One wants to disrupt this industry by rethinking it: thin, interchangeable "light cards" that combine with matrix batteries and accessories to either match the performance of the industry standard or beat it, all for a far smaller investment. 

Given the size and output of these lights, it might not just be high-end studios that Anthem will appeal to. Their portable nature, interchangeable and modular design, and price point for the power you get might also mean they'll be a perfect fit for photographers. 

Those "light cards" really are cards. They are thin, swappable, solid-state wafers that are coated with an array of micro LEDs. They're as thin as a credit card, and Anthem cites their lifespan at up to 50,000 hours. Because the cards are interchangeable and less expensive than HMI bulbs, Anthem is able to make them in a variety of frequencies and colors, depending on what the production needs. A range of accessories enable you to control and modify Anthem One’s light field even further. Presently, they are offering lenses, speed ring adapters, as well as doors and arms.


In a quote from their press release, Anthem One's inventor Justin Evans says he wants you to think of the cards like you would K-Cups in a Keurig coffee machine... only they last for more than one session. "Each Light Card is like a K-Cup. The customer decides what flavor of light field they need for their industry. They can easily swap Light Cards to output a completely different light field. And as LEDs get brighter, they can upgrade Anthem Light Card while still using the rest of the Anthem One lighting system. It’s the only lighting system in the world that improves with time.”


Anthem One is a 5.5 indh (140mm) cube weighing 7.6 pounds. (3.5 kg) and its sleek exterior hides an array of neodymium magnets which allow users to snap it to steel beams or assemble multiple Anthem Ones into an array.  Each unit is silently and actively cooled. A variety of accessories mount to Anthem One via its hidden magnets, Kensington lock ports or 1/4-20 threaded bottom-socket. 


Anthem One is operated by Anthem Power, a universal 110v/220v power supply, or Anthem Power Plus, a patent-pending, computer-controlled lithium-ion battery that reroutes voltage around misperforming cells to rebalance its output on-the-fly. The battery is built around a Matrix Circuit, and Anthem says it’s the only repairable battery system in the world. They claim that with proper care, the system can last for decades. 

Evans says that the Anthem One is brighter, smaller, half the weight and lasts 2000 times as long as their nearest competitor. That, and their starting price for one Anthem One is $1499, considerably less than any HMI system. That is a lot of bold claims for a what ends up being about a quarter the cost of a typical HMI system (and with the cost of bulbs, you're looking at a lot more over time when compared to the reusable cards Anthem is selling). What's left is to guage the usability on set and the quality of light, but if they're even remotely close, the Anthem very well could upset the industry.


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