This guide explains how to set up LIFX Z lightstrip and KinoLight app for display ambient lighting, also known as bias lighting. Ambient lighting helps focus your attention on the screen and allows watching for longer without negative side effects such as headache.
Below is a short video showing set up process overview. You can also read on for more detailed setup instructions.
LIFX Z Setup
KinoLight app requires LIFX Z lightstrip to work properly. You can purchase lightstrip from local retailer or directly from LIFX website. Your strip should be long enough to cover all four corners of display. For 27" or smaller display you typically need two meter strip, for 46" and smaller three meter strip, 65" and smaller four meter strip is required.
When attaching lightstrip behind display make sure installation is vertically symmetrical and corners are 90 degrees each. Bottom and top of strip do not need to be symmetrical. Also ensure start of lightstrip is at the bottom of screen. You can install lightstrip either clockwise or counterclockwise.
For best experience you should attach lightstrip as close to edges as possible so that lighstrip leds are not directly visible from display front side. Ideally lightsrips should be pointing to sides of display instead of pointing away from display. This will increase amount of light emitted to surroundings and improve your experience.
Ideally display should have a light-coloured wall around 10 inches (25 centimeters) behind it. This will allow light to reflect from wall and will improve your experience.
KinoLight app Setup
KinoLight app captures the screen and controls LIFX Z lightstrip colors in real-time based on screen content. If you are installing lightstrip behind TV you also need send PC or Mac screen content to TV. You can do this by using HDMI-cable or wirelessly using AirPlay, Chromecast or Miracast.
Before using the app simple one-time setup is required to configure your lightstrip and capture parameters. Settings are explained by tab.
Capture tabDisplay to Capture
Choose which display to capture if you have multiple displays. By default main display is captured.Content aspect ratio
Set aspect ratio for captured content. Typically widescreen movies with black bars at top and bottom use 21:9 aspect ratio. 16:9 aspect ratio is used for TV shows and 4:3 aspect ratio was used for content before widescreen TVs. Fullscreen-option will use aspect ratio of your computer screen, this is useful if you have installed lightstrip around your computer screen.Edge size
Percentage of display edges to analyse for color information. Lowest setting will only scan 5% of screen and highest setting 25% of screen. Value 20% typically produces good results. This value can be changed while capture is running.
Choose which lighstrip will be used. For each lightstrip also number of zones is displayed in parenthesis.Update delay
Delay from screen update to lightstrip update. If you are using lightstrip behind computer screen or computer is connected to TV via cable set this parameter to 0 as cable connection does not have any latency.
Using wireless mirroring such as AirPlay, Chromecast or Miracast will introduce delay up to 1 second before content is displayed on TV. Use this setting to adjust delay so that lighstrip updates are synchronized to TV screen. This value can be changed while capture is running.Max brightness
Maximum lightstrip brightness. Higher brightness settings will result to brighter effects. Please notice with highest brightness settings colors will be slighly diluted as also white LEDs will be used to increase brightness. This value can be changed while capture is running.Color temperature
Lightstrip color temperature. Value 5500K matches daylight color and value 2750K incandescent lamps. You can use higher values during daytime and lower values at night. This value can be changed while capture is running.Black level
Level of brightness at which color is considered black. Low values below 3% can result in disturbing light bleed around screen and high values can lead to too dark lighting. 3% is a good starting point for experimenting. This value can be changed while capture is running.
Use this tab to configure lightstrip installation behind display. First you should select 'screen type' for display where lightstrip is installed. Some common screen sizes are listed in dropdown-button. If your screen is not listed choose 'Custom' and enter screen width and height manually to fields below. You can use this website to calculate dimensions if you know display size. Either centimeters or inches can be used for measurements.
Next enter 'strip top offset'. This is vertical distance from higher vertical lightstrip to top of screen. Please notice that you should have screen switched on and measure distance to actual top pixels to exclude any edges screen may have. If lightstrip is above screen this value should be negative, if lightstrip is below top of screen this value should be positive.
Now you should configure lightstrip zones. Each one meter of LIFX Z lighstrip has 8 zones that can be set individually. For example if your LIFX Z strip is 3 meters long it will have 3 x 8 = 24 zones. Each zone consists of 6 colored LEDs. KinoLight-app needs to know location for each zone relative to screen to correctly set colors based on screen content.Drag-and-drop setup
If you have installed lightstrip vertically symmetrically you can use quick drag-and-drop setup. In this case you need find zones that are located in lightstrip corners, other zone locations are calculated automatically.
Table on right-hand side of tab displays list of zones and their relative coordinates. Click on the first row, zone 0. Lighstrip zone 0 will be set to green color. When clicking zone 1 lightstrip zone 1 will be lit and so forth. Click through zones starting from 0 until you find a zone that is at the bottom corner of lighstrip so that next zone is fully in vertical direction. Sometimes a corner is located between zones so that one zone is fully horizontal and next one fully vertical, in this case corner zone is the first one with horizontal orientation. Count number of horizontal LEDs at bottom corner zone, that should be a number between 1 and 6.
Make sure you have selected corner zone on the table. Now drag it towards bottom left or right corner depending on lighstrip installation. You can see green highlighted corner areas. Once you drag zone on green corner area strip layout is dislayed. Adjust lighstrip position so that number of horizontal LEDs in green area matches the number of horizontal LEDS in corner zone. Once layouts match drop the zone. Corresponding angle symbol will appear in table for zone X-and Y coordinates.
Continue clicking through zones in table until you find one at the top corner. Again measure number of horizontal LEDs and drag zone from table to matching highlighted area with while matching horizontal LEDs. Repeat the process for another top corner and remaining bottom corner.
After all 4 corners are set, the app will automatically calculate positions for lightstrip zones. Lightstrip will flash green on successful configuration. If something went wrong it will flash red. If you lightstrip is too long with overlap extra zones will be automatically disabled.
You are now ready to start using the app. All settings will be saved automatically so everything is set when you use the app next time.Manual set up
Manual set up can be used if your lightstrip installation is not symmetrical or you want more control over zones. For each zone you need to enter coordinates or negative values (-1, -1) if you want zone to be disabled.
Valid X- and Y-coordinates values are in range between 0 and 1. Coordinate represents zone coordinate relative to screen width and height. Notice that you should have screen switched on and measure distances to actual content edges to exclude any screen edges.
For each zone coordinate you should measure from the middle of zone between LEDs 3 and 4 where LIFX logo is located. For example if a zone is located on right hand side of screen, vertically in the middle of screen it's X-coordinate is 1.0 and Y-coordinate 0.5, (1.0, 0.5). Zone at top-left corner would have coordinates (0.0, 0.0).
Coordinates must be clamped to range [0..1]. Also each zone must be at the screen edge; zones at left hand side of screen will have X-coordinate 0.0, zones at right hand side of screen will have X-coordinate 1.0, zones at top of screen will have Y-coordinate 0.0 and zones at bottom of screen will have Y-coordinate 1.0.
Using KinoLight app
Connect your Mac to external screen if lightstrip is attached to one and click Start-button to enable ambilight-effect. Most settings can be changed while running light effects.
KinoLight app requires fast WiFi connection to work properly. If you experience slow updates and delays please check your local WiFi settings. As LIFX products only support 2.4 GHz WiFi you should ideally have all other wireless devices connected to 5 GHz network to avoid congestion slowing down lighstrip updates.