Hue Lab Formula Examples – Color Loop, Living Scenes (& 12 More!) – New Video

The official Philips Hue app is a little bit… boring, to be honest. Unlike the LIFX app, there are no dynamic effects or scenes. Any scenes or colors chosen within the Hue app are just static – meaning they don’t then change color or brightness.

However thankfully Hue have the “Hue Labs”, which allow you to enable various formulas which ARE dynamic. For example, the Hue ColorLoop Lab Formula can rapidly change between loads of different colors. Alternatively the Living Scenes ‘Dinner Party’ formula is much more subtle, offering much less color and brightess variation (but still being dynamic enough to be a nice background effect):

There’s over 10 different lab formulas, which this video covers. Exact timestamps are:

  • 0:00 Intro
  • 0:50 A note about Bluetooth mode
  • 1:15 ColorLoop
  • 1:49 Living scenes (Dinner party)
  • 2:30 Living scenes (Over the rainbow)
  • 3:10 Outdoor living scenes (Soho)
  • 3:56 Cozy home living scenes (Scandinavian)
  • 4:36 Festival of light (Diwali)
  • 5:11 Autumn living scenes (Thanksgiving)
  • 6:09 Heart’s desire living scenes
  • 7:03 Choose your path
  • 7:45 Halloween (Haunted house)
  • 8:27 Sunset simulation
  • 9:00 Holiday living scenes
  • 9:43 Meditation lights
  • 10:20 Candlelight romance
  • 11:00 Ending

Video Transcript

Hello, I’m Tristan from Smart Home Point. In today’s video I have a Philips Hue bulb installed overhead and I have a Philips Hue light strip installed around my desk, and I wanted to walk through loads of different lab formulas that exist for Philips Hue lights. Now the reason this is important is that by default if you launch the Philips Hue app after you’ve just installed a bunch of Philips Hue products, you’ll probably be left disappointed, and that’s because the app by default only allows you to change color once or to select a scene and that’s it. It’s static. This so… there’s no dynamic effects built into the Philips Hue app, which is a bit rubbish.

But thankfully there’s something called the Hue labs that has loads of dynamic effects which they call formulas this is to rival things like LIFX app which by default has loads of different dynamic effects, so I wanted to show all these different Hue lab formulas in this video. Let’s take a look.

Before we get started the first thing to note is that if you want to experiment with the Hue lab formulas, you cannot use the Hue Bluetooth app. You must use the main Philips Hue app with the Hue bridge. And to get started you open the app you, go down to explore, and then you go to Hue labs. If we go into there, you can basically see all your lab formulas here and you can go in and try any out that you want.

So the first effect I wanted to look at is the Color Loop lab formula which I’ve set up to be vibrant and fast. what that means is there’s a lot of different colors shown and they flick between them very quickly, as you can see on the screen. You can however set this up so there’s less color variation, and the colors move around a lot slower, but for the purpose is this I just want it to be quite an in your face configuration, just so you could see exactly how this lab formula works.

Okay the next one I wanted to look at is Living Scenes. Now this is a more subtle effect and I set this up to be dinner party – there’s basically different palettes… colour palettes… and effects you can choose. So for dinner party – as you can see – this is a lot more of a subtle and softer effect compared to the previous one. You can see there’s some color variation, especially in the light strip and there’s a little bit on the bulb overhead, but there’s not as much variation with the dinner party effect.

Alternatively I also wanted to look at the over the rainbow Living Scenes effect – or palette – so you can see that’s selected now, and immediately you can see there’s a bit more variation. This feels a lot more vibrant, and there’s a bigger range of colors as you can see. So certainly if you’re looking to set the scene you know in the background, you might want the dinner party effect. Whilst if you’re looking for something a bit more in your face, you might want over the rainbow or something like Color Loop.

The next effect I wanted to look at is Outdoor Living Scenes and I set Soho as the effect, but you’ve got quite a few different ones here. And you can see the effect here, it looks kind of like daytime or potentially it’s moving into night time. there’s some nice different colors here which you’d probably expect on a busy street like Soho, and as you can see there’s some flickering there’s some color changes but it’s quite subtle so this is again quite a nice of background effect.

Next up is Cozy Homes Living Scenes and I set Scandinavian here… there’s three different choices for the effect… and this feels like a – sort of – daytime color but with some warmth which you’d expect for a cozy home type effect. There’s some variation, especially in the brightness to get some sort flickering type effect, and a little bit of color changes but again this is quite a subtle effect, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Next up Phillips you have a Diwali effect lab formula called Festival of Lights it basically mimics a candle-like effect as you can see on the screen. This is quite a nice – sort of – soothing effect both the bulb and the light strip are dimming and brightening up.

The next one I want to look at is Autumn Living Scenes, I’ve got to set the Thanksgiving effect, and I set it so it changes color every 15 seconds. This is yet another fairly subtle lab formula, it’s a bit like the dinner party effect really. You have some color and brightness changes, but not that much. This one’s slightly brighter overall than the Dinner Party Living Scenes effect. Okay so some color change there but again nothing dramatic.

The next effect I wanted to look at is called Heart’s Desire Living Scenes. There’s again different effects here and again I set it so it’ll change the transition time will be fairly small – 15 seconds between different color changes – and as you can see there’s nothing again… this is another fairly subtle lab formula. There’s some color variation as you’ve just seen. The main thing with this though is brightness shifts – you know – the brightness moves around more than the color does, and it’s a nice background effect.

Okay the next one’s interesting, this is Choose Your Path, it’s a Star Wars one, and the way this works is basically you fill in this quiz that’s on the screen and then at the end it chooses a color for you. So as you’ve seen it’s decided to change to red, and you can see me filling in this quiz, but based on my quiz answers it decided that I’m in the dark side so now this particular effect is just set to red, and that’s about it. There’s not much color variation or brightness variation. It’s more a fun quiz essentially, and that’s that’s basically it. You fill in this quiz and then you’ve got that choice of color. It chooses it for you.

Next up Halloween Haunted House. This is a fun one. So I’ve chosen the haunted house effect and basically I’ve got itset so there’s a lot of variation in brightness, so it’s changing the color and the brightness quite a lot to make the house seem a little bit haunted. This is quite a nice one for halloween, as you can see, it’s quite a creepy one and sometimes it does completely turn off the lights as well which is quite a nice effect.

Okay the next effect is Sunset Simulation and this is quite nice, you can set it to run over two hours but in this case I’ve got it set to be quite quick – so it starts out with a sort of a daylight type effect, as you can see but then bit by bit it’s becoming darker and darker – you know – less bright, and also a bit more orangey (as you can see). And whilst this can run as I said over two hours, I have it set to run over, well, barely any time at all so it’s a very rapid uhm simulation.

Next is Holiday Living Scenes: again there’s different effects here, and as you can see on the effect itself, in this particular one you’ve got a blue type effect to begin with, but it does flick between colors, you can see that now this reflects more of a pinky type color, and there’s some brightness variation. Anyway, if you’re enjoying this video please do subscribe because they take a lot of effort and your subscription would be really appreciated! This is quite a nice effect overall.

Next up, Meditation Lights. The way this works is basically you configure it how you’d like, but then it basically brightens up and dims down to actually simulate breathing. So the idea here is as it dims down and brightens back up you’re meant to inhale and exhale, so this is for effectively visual guided meditation. It just dim it back down, and then it brightens back up, and that’s for helping you control your breathing.

The last effect I wanted to cover is Candlelit Romance, which is a bit like Festival of Lights. This will look… you can configure it… and it basically mimics candlelight, so as you can see it’s – sort of – an orangey yellowy type effect and there’s a lot of brightness variation. Yes, this is quite a nice effect as well and very similar to the Festival of Lights lab formula.

Okay that wraps up today’s video, thank you for watching it. I’m going to be doing a lot more smart lighting videos in the future so if you like this one please click the thumbs up button and don’t forget to subscribe. Thank you!

About Tristan Perry

Tristan Perry is a software developer who is passionate about tech gadgets, DIY and housing. He has therefore loved seeing smart homes hit the mainstream. Tristan also has an academic background (in Math & Computer Science), and so he enjoys digging into the technical ways that smart home devices work.

Tristan owns close to a dozen Amazon Echo devices, way too many Philips Hue bulbs and lightstrips, a boat-load of Ring Cameras and Doorbells... and a bunch of other smart home devices too (from Reolink, Google Nest, GLEDOPTO and others).

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions about this article, please leave a comment below. Please note that all comments go into a moderation queue (to prevent blog spam). Your comment will be manually reviewed and approved by Tristan in less than a week. Thanks!

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