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Big Interview: Rotolight Continues To Break Ground With Its Innovative Products

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Rotolight is a rapidly growing family business based at Pinewood Studios, UK, specialising in the manufacture of multi award-winning on-camera, studio and location LED lighting systems for photography, videography, broadcast and cinematography.

Can you provide us with an insight into Rotolight's operations, such as staff and R&D?
The family-run business is headed by Rod Aaron Gammons, Managing Director, Rod Gammons, the Creative Director and Chairman, and Helen Gammons, the Financial Director.

Rotolight products are designed, manufactured, assembled, tested and dispatched from the United Kingdom and based at the world famous Pinewood Studios, home of James Bond and now Star Wars! Uniquely for the industry, the management team made a very conscious decision when starting the company to support local UK SME's by choosing to establish a UK supply chain for its product line, from raw materials, to metal working, plastics, PCB assembly, tool-making and quality control, in order to create a truly 'British made' lighting product, with a superior build quality and attention to detail than other LED competitors which are typically made in the far east.

Rotolight's first product, the Rotolight RL48 LED Ringlight proved to be a groundbreaking product, as for the first time the design allowed the light to be attached to a shot gun microphone mounted on top of the camera making it ideal for run and gun style documentary and ENG work on camcorders and the emerging D-SLR's.

How challenging is the market, and what demanded does this place on the company to remain successful?
We are moving into an era where technology enables us to streamline our workflow more than ever before and customers are looking to utilise equipment that is portable, versatile and energy efficient without undermining the quality of the end product. LED Lighting is increasingly more popular as LED technology advances and the unique features shine through. Studios are actively looking to cut huge energy bills, and creative's require lighting equipment that offers quality in terms of lighting. With the emergence of 'cheaper' LED Lighting products entering the market in recent times, it has put more pressure on manufacturers such as Rotolight to create first class features and quality in terms of colour reproduction at an affordable price.

How energy efficient are the prodcuts, and what are the technical properties of the light they emit? Is this their USP?
In 2012 Rotolight launched the Rotolight ANOVA – the world's most advances LED floodlight, offering never before seen wireless control via the Rotolight Magic Eye iPhone/iPad app. Winning countless industry awards and accolades such as the BKSTS Technological Achievement award and the Cinec Technical innovation award, the updated bi Colour ANOVA V2 produces a powerful 3.9Kw equivalent output but can run off a standard V-Lock broadcast camera battery for up to 3 hours, drawing just 42 Watts of power! Efficiency in terms of power draw is hugely important for most productions, having the ability to run powerful lighting without having the need for generators or large batteries is ideal. Rotolight's AOVA V2 range used 93% less energy than a typical tungsten bulb used in legacy hot lights, whilst also reducing air conditioning requirements for studios as they produce little to no heat.

What movie and TV productions have used Rotolight's product range?
Rotolight's team have worked tirelessly on the innovative feature set and quality of the products and it is testament to the high profile TV productions they have been utilized on, with the likes of EastEnders, Coronation Street, and the BBC's BAFTA winning series 'In The Flesh' on a long line of credits.

Rotolight's products have lit multi-million pound cinematic features such as Captain Phillips, James Bod Skyfall and Disney's Maleficent! Continuous lighting is being slowly adopted by stills photographers and has allowed Rotolight to enter a market that may have been seen suitable only for flash lighting. Rotolight's lighting and particular the ANOVA is constantly used by high end photographers and have recently lit campaigns for Harley-Davidson and Sundance Film Festival.

Last year, you launched Rotolight Neo. How has the reaction been since its release?
Rotolight are always looking to develop the next innovative feature or product that is going to turn heads! Designed and manufactured in the UK, the Rotolight Neo has been developed for the most demanding of professionals and was recently lauded as the "Next industry standard" by Television lighting cameraman and GTC member Simon Edwards. Rotolight Neo was identified by the expert-judging panel as one of the most innovative new products to be exhibited at the NAB Show 2015, finishing as a finalist in the IABM GameChanger awards – it is no surprise as Neo's feature set is probably the most advanced in Rotolight's expanding arsenal!

Neo's Bi-Colour LED system with Rotolight's AccColoud technology delivers exceptional colour rendering CRI>95 with an overall skintone CRI>99 and overall TLCI of 91! At a 1077 lux at 3 ft, the Rotolight Neo is the brightest bi colour on camera LED Lighting system on the market and is perfect for run and gun, documentary and even studio production.

Senior Special Effects technician Manex Efrem, who has recently worked on Pan, Maleficient and Gravity recently tested the Neo on location in remote Bali, where he put the Neo through it's paces.

"Rotolight have created a lighting system that will really change the way we work. The fact that it's lightweight and powerful with excellent versatility in terms of control will optimise workflow. The quality of the LED's and its colour reproduction is ideal when working with talent for WNG, guerrilla style docu's and location work. I can't wait to get my hands on the new 3 head kit, which is going to be the ultimate production kit for anyone working in the field or studio!"

Neo includes three ground-breaking features that set it apart from the field. Designer Fade mode for custom fade up/fade down production effects. True Aperture Dimming that accurately calculated the correct aperture (F-Stop) for your subject at a given distance. The Rotolight Neo offers an arsenal of Cinematographic Special FX (CineSFX), which has been designed in collaboration with leading cinematographers and Visual FX artists such as Stefan Lange (SkyFall, Dark Shadows, Batman). CineSFX provides customisable creative visual lighting effects, on set or location to simulate Strobe, Lightning, Fire, Cycle, Throb and TV! Rotolight have also developed a 10 piece 'Add on Colour FX' filter set which includes a selection of well-known cinematic filters such as 'Rust', 'Mist Blue' and 'Hollywood Frost' that combined with the CineSFX mode, will make Neo an incredibly versatile lighting tool for the industry.

Rotolight are now shipping the revolutionary Rotolight Neo starting from just £299inc and is available to purchase from CVP, Calumet Photographic, whilst rental is available from Alias Hire (

This article can also be read at BFV online.

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