Rototlight’s Neo — it doesn’t appear to be an acronym so why capitalize it? – is one of the most promising LED movie lights to appear at NAB 2015 and I for one will be very excited to see one in the flesh, as it were. I hope examples of the Neo turn up in Sydney soon after its release in late April 2015.
NOTE: planet5D will be giving away several of these cool Rotolight Neo LED lights in May so stay tuned!
Meanwhile I have been looking for videos and more information about this amazing new high TLCI-rated — Television Lighting Consistency Index – location LED light. B&H kindly obliged by posting a videoed demo with Rotolight’s Rod Gammons in the New York superstore’s Explora online news, tips and reviews NAB coverage web pages.
Ever since getting back into moviemaking and digital stills photography when the Canon EOS 5D Mark II appeared, I have been searching for the contemporary continuous-light equivalent of the Broncolor monobloc flash kit I used to cart around with me during my magazine portrait photography days.
That Broncolor kit had three heads, a few light shapers, stands and plenty of Lee and Rosco filters that I bought in short lengths then cut up to fit. It was the lightest, most durable, most versatile lighting kit I could find back then. It had thrived during many years of going down the mines in Western Australia and shooting corporate assignments before I moved east to change career.
I loved those filters and diffusers in all their subtlety. I loved the direct yet somewhat soft nature of the light beams I got out of those monoblocs. I would have preferred much brighter modeling lights than were provided though.
I had learned to light with movie and stage lighting gear as an art student then lowly go-fer on German and Canadian TV productions and relished using subtle bounce light and bending the edges of directional light to underscore emotion and make detail emerge out of darkness.
I am not, of course, looking for a direct equivalent of that Broncolor kit. Flash was a compromise made necessary by the low ISO films I needed when shooting full-page and front cover portraits on 4”x5” and 120 roll film cameras. But I do need some of the same types of light shapers and filters.
The color of light is crucial to my way of seeing. Subtly balancing warm against cool was key to my portrait lighting style, with other equally subtle color filtration thrown in when called for.
And I had to do it all fast and safe, in cramped locations with celebrity subjects who had been expecting a typical newspaper photographer to rock up with a Nikon SLR and on-camera flash for a quickie headshot. I was a weirdo by comparison but I got results. Wow did I get results.
I bought my first Rotolight products after Rod Gammon appeared at a little trade show in Sydney. They weren’t quite what I was after but I could see the potential in what Rotolight was doing. That promise was underscored when the Rotolight Anova series arrived in the pages of the Rotolight website.
And now we have the Neo coming out soon and this looks like the light for me. Though I would love to try out an Anova or three.NAB 2015: B&H reveals more about the amazing Rotolight Neo LED lights in video at Explora Click To Tweet
I won’t reiterate the amazing specs for the Neo and its high rating in the crucial TLCI test. That is all there to see in the B&H video, the Rotolight Neo product page and the downloadable Neo PDF product brochure. The clincher for me is a photograph in the Neo brochure, of the three-head kit.
I love those barndoors but the icing on the cake is the little Chimera softbox that Rod Gammons mentions in the B&H video. Add one of those to the kit and I will be very happy indeed. And, looking at that three-head kit photograph, I don’t think it will be anywhere near as heavy as my Broncolor kit was. That thing nearly killed me when running up and down narrow inner city stairways with it.
My Broncolor kit traveled the world with me for too short a time before it was stolen along with most of my other gear. I am not going to miss it at all, for stills at least, if I can acquire a Rotolight Neo 3 Light Kit plus dedicated Chimera softbox. This kit looks amazing for stills and moviemaking in this wonderful digital era.
NAB 2015: Rotolight NEO On-Camera LED Light
Rotolight is catching the eye of many people with its new NEO on-camera LED light, debuting at NAB 2015. With a brightness of 1,077 lux at 3′, the light is one of the brightness on-camera LEDs available, but can be dimmed to taste using its rear dial. The light delivers a soft, pleasing light output with high color accuracy. It also features Rotolight’s signature circular shape, which yields a distinctive round catchlight in the subject’s eye. In addition to dimming, the light also has a second rear dial for adjusting color temperature from 3150 to 6300K in 10-degree Kelvin increments. Users are sure to appreciate the digital readout on the back of the light that makes it easy to see exactly what your light output percentage and color temperature happens to be.
The NEO On-Camera LED Light also offers three unique features that help set it apart from the field. By clicking both rear buttons, you bring up a menu system that lets you access the Designer Fade mode to create custom lighting fades with a specified duration, for capturing in-camera fade effects. The light also has a True Aperture Dimming mode that accurately calculates the correct f-stop for your subject at a given distance. The third feature available is the CineSFX mode, which provides custom lighting effects to simulate strobe, lightning, flames, and more.
To power the light, you can use six AA batteries that will keep it going for three hours at full power. You can also plug into an AC adapter or D-Tap power source. Included with the NEO is a filter pack consisting of a half diffuser, full diffuser, 184 skin tone, and magenta filters. Also available is an optional 10-piece filer set that includes cinematic filter such as Rust, Mist Blue, and Hollywood Frost.
In the following video, B&H Photo's Steven Gladstone meets with Rod Aaron Gammons, from Rotolight, on the NAB 2015 trade-show floor for a first look at the new NEO.
NAB 2015: Rotolight NEO On-Camera LED Light
(cover photo credit: snap from B&H)
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