Rotolight NEO Delivers Knock-Out Light by Golden Gate Bridge

by Hugh Brownstone2 Comments

In this short installment of our Derek Zoolander-inspired, occasional series entitled “Ridiculously Good-Looking,” we bring you the ultra-high CRI, bi-color, adjustable, on-camera LED ring light called the Rotolight NEO.

The new light looks interesting, as does the company: based at Pinewood Studios in the UK, Rotolight has a tremendous pedigree in the industry, where it is used on major motion pictures like SKYFALL and CAPTAIN PHILIPS. 

Visit their web site and check out the video entitled  “San Francisco Pin Up Shoot with the Rotolight NEO video light and the Sony A7/A7s by Jason Lanier” to see why: it's hard not to marvel at the quality of light in the images captured by the photographer with nothing more than one or two of these battery powered, hand-held units.

San Francisco Pin Up Shoot w/ the Rotolight Neo video light and the Sony A7/A7s by Jason Lanier

Well, OK: Jason Lanier also used — at times — a mini-boom and a human C-stand (otherwise known as his assistant).  Still, the result was a set of absolutely magically lit shots of model Katrina Kroetch by the Golden Gate Bridge.

I can’t imagine getting lighting like this without a lot more work from other lights with which I’m familiar – and like.


The Rotolight NEO begins shipping in late April. It’s priced at £299.99 on their UK web site, though U.S. pricing and availability are not yet confirmed. Visit their site to learn more. [bctt tweet=”Rotolight NEO Lights Up Model at Golden Gate Bridge”]

Rotolight NEO Lauded as the “NEXT INDUSTRY STANDARD” for on-camera lighting

Via Rotolight Press:

Rotolight, the multi-award winning British LED Lighting manufacturer has announced an innovative feature set for the hotly anticipated Neo on-camera lighting system that has been lauded as the “next industry standard” by highly experienced lighting cameraman and British Guild of Television Cameramen council member Simon Edwards. Edwards was granted the great privilege to be the first test pilot of the Rotolight Neo, whose credits include many projects for the BBC and feature films such as Dark Shadows.

“I think that Rotolight has moved the world of portable LED lighting on again with the Neo. It is a feature rich lamp with excellent output in terms of both colour and power. The Neo differs from other systems not only in the trademark Rotolight form factor but also its flexibility, build quality and quality & consistency of light. On the most basic level you have a lamp with tuneable colour and power, but start digging into the menu and you soon find the ability to match the lamp to your cameras settings and also perform fades up and down!”

Rotolight Neo

Designed for the most demanding of professionals, the Neo features Bi-Colour LED lighting technology with ‘Accu-Colour’™ Technology for best in class colour rendering and is the world’s first on-camera lighting system with accurate electronic colour temperature display (CCT) to enable fast, tuneable colour on location. Neo delivers a powerful 1077 lux at 3 feet (twice that of competing LED on camera lights), whilst providing a gorgeous soft light source, along with industry leading on-camera battery performance and Rotolight’s signature ‘Ring-light’ effect.

The Rotolight Neo was developed at Pinewood Studios UK, after years of extensive feedback from leading cinematographers and photographers around the world as to what they would most like to see in the next generation on camera light for professional television, film and photographic use. From that feedback the Rotolight ‘Neo’ was born, and it delivers never before seen technology in a truly unique versatile, highly portable package.

In focus: A look at NEO’s new key features:

Designer Fade™ Mode: Broadcast Video cameras typically feature an auto-fade button, whereas DSLR cameras do not. Neo for the first time allows DSLR cinematographers to create and design unique custom fade up / fade down production effects for your Video, or to seamlessly transition between scenes.


True Aperture Dimming™: NEO features a world’s first ground-breaking feature. Neo uses exposure information from the camera (Shutter speed and ISO) plus distance to the subject and data from the light to accurately calculate the correct aperture (F-Stop), whilst also compensating for skin tone contrast. This allows the photographer or cinematographer to work intuitively with the light, and no longer need to meter every shot saving valuable time. As you adjust the distance from your subject, or the brightness of the Neo, you would simply re-enter the relevant settings and Neo would display the updated recommended aperture accordingly (F-STOP).

Accu-Colour™ Technology: Best-in-class LED technology featuring an Overall CRI = 95 / 100 & near perfect skintone reproduction R15 Skintone = 99 / 100. TLCI (Television Lighting Consistency Index) = 85 / 100 Ideally suited for professional Television use.

“The tuneability was crucial to both projects I tried NEO on. Being able to accurately match the additional lighting (ANOVA 2, HMI, fluorescent and tungsten) that we have been using has been really useful. I think that we are now in at a stage with LED lighting where tuneable colour temperature is becoming an increasingly usable option rather than a gimmick and Rotolight with the Anova and now NEO are at the forefront of that technology.” Simon Edwards

Featuring an intuitive dual rotary encoder control system for rapid brightness and colour temperature adjustment in the field, and Rotolight’s ‘Dynamic Drift Compensation’ for smooth dimming from 0%-100% with no colour shift. Neo can be powered by 6 AA batteries for up to 5 hours (or 3 hours at 100% power), AC adapter or D-TAP cable, drawing only 9W at full power.

“Not many years ago we were used to lugging battery belts around for our battery lights and the lights themselves were pretty brutal things to use. Thankfully we no longer need to do that! I used the NEO primarily as a battery powered light, either on AA batteries or using a D-Tap adaptor from the output on the camera. Obviously it draws very little power and certainly made no difference to the running time of my camera. The AAs certainly seemed like an economical option too and of course being a universally available battery there would be no problem sourcing extra batteries in the field. I didn’t time the life of the AAs, I just let it run and run. It went on for hours!“

“I think NEO offers so much to so many people; stills and moving pictures, experienced camera people and those at the start of their careers, DSLR or full size cameras. NEO truly is a light for everyone and with Rotolight's pro-active approach to customer feedback and development I can see this being the beginning of the next generation of LED lighting coming from their Pinewood manufacturing base. I can’t recommend NEO highly enough – I see it becoming an industry standard unit.” Simon Edwards GTC.

Learn more about Rotolight NEO HERE

(cover photo credit: snap from Rotolight Press)

Hugh Brownstone

Hugh Brownstone

Hugh is the founder of Three Blind Men and An Elephant Productions. He and the team write, direct, shoot, score, and edit web-centric films; conduct photo shoots; and write copy, white papers and blog posts. Hugh also writes screenplays (he recently optioned a TV pilot) and just published his first eBook (Apple's iPhone: The Next Video Revolution). If it's about telling stories, it's in their wheelhouse.

And always with the ambition of authenticity, humanity and wit.
Hugh Brownstone


  1. “it’s hard not to marvel at the quality of light in the images captured by the photographer ”
    ” I can’t imagine getting lighting like this without a lot more work from other lights with which I’m familiar – and like.

    Really? Are you joking? Sorry but I don’t share your opinion, pictures are really crap here. The results are way too far from what you can expect from a beauty shooting.
    About the lights themselves, there is nothing new that a standard cheap LED panel can’t achieve.
    I still prefer to invest in cheaper panels for the same “quality of light” or to look at good strobes for a better result.

  2. YannickDerennes Horses for courses, Yannick.  I like and use both inexpensive LED panels and Canon speed lights with a couple of Gary Fong attachments  — but without diffusers, reflectors, snoots, egg crates and such on the 1-bys, it’s not a question of whether or not one can’t achieve the same effect, but instead at what cost (dollars and logistics).

    But I loved Jason’s shots, full stop.

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