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Product Review: Huddle Room Light Offers Surprising Versatility on Campus

The cMe2 is ideal for videoconferencing lighting in huddle spaces, audio studios, and small classrooms. (Image credit: cMe2/DeSales University)

Sometimes you need just a warm, even light to help student broadcasters and talent look their best on camera, whether that camera is situated on the shoulder or is part of a laptop. Enter the cMe2 huddle room light from Brightline. Although it is AC-powered and designed for a small news insert stage or videoconference room, I decided to test the cMe2 in several different locations around our campus and on set.

The cMe2 is user friendly right out of the box. My review unit came with both the standard base plate for tabletop use, which attaches easily with four supplied screws, as well as the optional telescoping wall mount bracket. The unit is well-built, painted flat black, is about two feet long, and weighs about eight pounds. The back side has only two controls: an on/off switch and dimmer knob.

On the front, integrated egg-crate louvers and glare filter cover the LEDs. The 3500K output is slightly above Tungsten (3200K), but still casts a warmer glow on the subject than a daylight-balanced source. As with most professional LED fixtures, dimming only changes brightness, not color temperature. Drawing only 33 watts of power, its electrical draw is minimal.

I immediately knew where I wanted to try the cMe2 first. Attaching the base plate, I positioned it in our newly constructed audio booth. The overhead florescent fixture in the booth has too much glare for my taste. Having soft illumination helps the artists see what he or she is doing more easily, and makes shooting in that space much more pleasant. Setting the cMe2 on a table and reducing its brightness (this can be very bright light in close quarters) provided an even amount of fill lighting for the narrator to read the copy, as well as provide enough exposure to shoot video and stills.

The soft illumination of the cMe2 is easy on the eyes and provides enough ambient light for capturing images in the audio booth.

The soft illumination of the cMe2 is easy on the eyes and provides enough ambient light for capturing images in the audio booth. (Image credit: cMe2/DeSales University)

It’s not designed for location shooting, but the product delivered a soft, warm glow on our talent during a sunset shoot.

It’s not designed for location shooting, but the product delivered a soft, warm glow on our talent during a sunset shoot. (Image credit: cMe2/DeSales University)

If the light were to be permanently mounted in the audio booth, I would use the wall bracket, but this was only my first stop. I wanted to try the cMe2 on location near the woods. Luckily, we had an outdoor AC receptacle less than 100 feet from where the light was needed. The warmer color temperature looked appealing on the talent, as a daylight source would have been too blue.

Although a grip had to hold the unit, it still was an appealing source of light after the sun began to set. Because of the distance from the talent, we used the full output of the light. A smaller, on-camera light would have been enough to light his face, but we wanted his entire body lit. The length of the cMe2 was ideal for this purpose.

Finally, I used the cMe2 in a conference room, with one student videoconferencing with a fellow student in a different building. This is actually what the cMe2 was designed for illumination in a small, confined area. With the room’s ceiling lights dimmed, the illumination of the huddle room light was perfect; her face could be seen clearly by the camera, and the overhead lights weren’t bright enough to cause any glare on her laptop screen. If it were a permanent fixture in this room, however, mounting the cMe2 on the wall would be the best solution.        

Move the cMe2 to the front of the class for lighting small spaces. It’s an excellent choice for small conference rooms, insert stages, and audio booths. You get all the LED benefits (low power consumption, long life, constant color temperature, and very little heat) without the weight, heat, or tripod setup requirements of traditional tungsten sources.

Key Features

120V 60 Hertz AC powered, flicker free, dimmable 3500K LED light offering soft, even illumination for individuals or small groups.

Price

Brightline cMe2 Huddle Light - $750.00

cMe2 Wall Mount Bracket - $85.00

Chuck Gloman is an associate professor in the TV/Film Department at DeSales University. Contact him at chuck.gloman@desales.edu.