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This is the Video Light Comparison Rotolight Didn't Want You to See

08.7.13 @ 4:42AM Tags : , , , , ,

Den Lennie F-Stop Academy Rotolight TestDen Lennie of F-Stop Academy posted a video comparison involving a test between a Rotolight AnovaDedo Softbox, and Kino Flo Celeb. Five months later (and without contacting Den first), Rotolight, one of the manufacturers in the test, had this review abruptly taken down by Vimeo because of supposed copyright infringement. He was then contacted directly by Rotolight days later explaining that they did not think the test was fair or representative of their product. Den responded on Facebook to express his disappointment, and Rotolight later issued a statement to give their side of the story. Here’s what has happened since.

[UPDATE]: Since the video was reinstated, Den has been talking with Rotolight. Here is the current situation as of August 7th:

Just to let you guys know I am now in positive conversations with Rod Gammons CEO of Rotolight.

We are setting up a time to meet at our earliest convenience since I am currently mid-journey am returning from a trip to Australia.

There is a positive outcome from all of this and we are focussing on that now.

Rotolight have welcomed me to work with them to see if any further improvements can be made to the existing technology.

They have offered to send a new light to test asap. They are being very open and we are working towards a retests that will hopefully be attended and administered under the watchful eye of Rodney Charters ASC.

We’ll be extending this test to any manufacturer who wishes to be involved.

I’m pleased that now the dust has settled we can work positively towards a bigger test that will benefit all film makers looking at LED tech.

The video was reinstated by Vimeo just days later because there were no grounds for its removal, and Den wrote a long post explaining what happened. Den was given legal advice by Booth Sweet LLP, Commercial Arts & Technology law firm, and it was only then that he decided to name Rotolight in his blog post and explain the situation. Here’s part of what he wrote followed by the original comparison:


If the light was faulty..then I am happy to retest and publish those results… If it was faulty then  the Quality Control procedures should be reviewed by that manufacturer.  Either way a light costing £2000 should work out of the box without a complex user guide.

For the record I have been sent images from another DOP who tested the Anova and those images yield similar results to me- However I will hold off posting those until a retest. I’ve also received a note from a reseller who experienced a similar result and is still awaiting a replacement unit. And a well respected DP who works for a highly regarded US education and reseller also tested and experienced similar results..so my results are not isolated

What I will require during the retest is that it is carried out at an independent location and with a third party also present to maintain a fair and level field.  I will only retest if we are allowed to film the process and publish our results regardless of outcome. Rodney Charters ASC has offered to do this.

The moral of this story seems very simple to me…The manufacturer simply should have contacted me directly …had a discussion, offer a retest and I would have been happy to oblige…

Instead they opted to take the heavy handed approach to try and silence my results… and as a direct result of this action have now created some very strong feeling from fellow film makers…

Apparently something called the Streisand Effect has ended up happening…

If you missed it, this was part of Rotolight’s response explaining why they wanted the test removed:

Due to a simple human error, the light featured in this Video was found to have a minor anomaly in its manual software calibration process,which affected only this particular light. It was immediately rectified and returned to the customer, resolving the issue displayed in the Video. The issue here was not that we simply ‘didn’t like the results’ but that the original test video was posted to Vimeo 5 months after the issue had been rectified, without any reference to this. It was therefore felt the Video was potentially misleading and unrepresentative, although we fully accept that this was not the intention of the Video when it was uploaded.

We will see if Den is given a new light and able to perform his own retest. This post is not to gang up on a small manufacturer who has admitted that they should have contacted Den first before going to Vimeo with a copyright complaint, but simply to give all sides of the story. If there was an issue with the light, then a retest with a new model should not show the same problems.

What do you think?

Links:

Related Posts

  1. Light Manufacturer Rotolight Responds to the Takedown of Den Lennie's Video Review
  2. If a Company Doesn't Like a Product Review, Should They Be Able to Take it Down?

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  • Rotolight were in the wrong.

    No question.

    However, I think it was disingenuous to have posted this without checking with Rotolight first. Not that you need or should seek permission before doing a review, but it seems totally apparent that the light was so far out that there had to be something wrong. Rotolight should have spoken to Den before having the review pulled, but if I had been in Den’s shoes I would have probably had a word with Rotolight before posting the review.

    If that is how the Anova looks and works, then yeah we should be informed. I would just have given Rotolight the benefit of the doubt.

    My personal experience of rotolight isn’t great, and I have no axe to grind with Den. Rotolight acted appallingly and seem to have acted pretty poorly with some of their PR since, but I don’t think either side comes out of it looking particularly covered in glory.

    • Chris Lambert on 08.7.13 @ 7:20AM

      At £2000 a light though you would think that they would check it first and if various other people are experiencing similar results… We all know film gear is ridiculously marked up but we accept this too a point as and maybe I am being naive in this that we get what we pay for & that hopefully someone has tested the item that they are probably making £1900 profit on

      Fair play to Den

    • Nonsense. If I’m paying $3000 for a light, the thing better work as-is right out of the box. Maybe the product was defective. So what? That is itself subject to a review as it shows a potential problem with reliability and product consistency.

      I have never heard of someone doing a review of anything withholding their results to double check with the people who made the product. Whether it’s Consumer Reports, PC Gamer, or CNET, the object in front of you is what gets reviewed as-is.

  • Why re-address this?

    This adds nothing to what you’ve previously posted.

    This post seems to say – ‘rotolight makes shit products and lie about it and are trying to scam you and if you complain they will remove your review from the internet.’

    Maybe the rotolight option isn’t the best option but instead of posting this gossipy trash just do you own test…

    This just feel like a tabloid-ish post.

    You are better than this no film school.

    • Joe Marine on 08.7.13 @ 5:22AM

      We included part of Den’s response which is entirely new information, plus the video which has now been reinstated. Why wouldn’t we follow up from the original story now that at least the copyright infringement part has been resolved?

      Companies like Vimeo will take down something immediately if they receive a copyright infringement notice, but it’s now clear that you do have a chance to defend yourself, and the process works – since Den was not infringing on anything. This is important for anyone to know who might face a similar situation in the future.

      • Agreed. Gossipy or not, I found it interesting to follow this case, especially as the reviewer got his right in the end, which proves that one shouldn’t just obey if a big company tries to silent you.

      • Thanks for posting this Joe. It’s good to have the visual to go with the story! Please continue to follow this story.

  • Ok, the manufacturer never has the right to pull a review, BUT obviously there was something wrong with the testing or the product. I have used Rotolights before, and they are not that green color. That test misrepresents the product. If I was the manufacturer, I would have contacted the reviewer first, and supplied a new light for a retest.

    When I first read this story, I was amazed at how stupid Rotolight was handling this… but then actually seeing the video in the review, I can see how they felt that this was a garbage test and letting that out on YouTube can really damage sales.

    So can we get a new review and see a new test, and get on with the rest of the world now?

    • Given how much bad press they’ve had on various sites about this, I’m shocked they didn’t immediately send a new light and fulfill their promise. They are completely in the wrong on how they handled the situation and are doing a terrible job at damage control.

    • Wait a minute? Are you suggesting the test was rigged and that Den was somehow conspiring with the Rotolight’s competitors to cast aspersions on a fine product?
      .
      Of course, the Rotolight itself does NOT assert that at all. It admitted to the product being faulty and giving off too much green. That plea then removes any and all doubts that Den’s video may have been inaccurate with either his testing procedures or his representation of the subsequently derived results.
      .
      And, if that is the case, there are two possible scenarios with regard to the product – it’s either a quality control problem (i.e., limited to a small batch of units) or a design flaw. Both make Rotolight the company and/or Rotolight Anova the product appear unfit for the mass use but Den himself did not assert anything of that nature beyond showing the test.
      .
      And that’s without going into the whole DCMA related runaround, which makes the cover-up worse than the original crime.

      • Where did I state that I felt Den “rigged” the review? Don’t put words in my mouth, you come off as a wise ass. I watched the video and MY FIRST IMPRESSION was there must have been something defective in the light or something on the camera setting were off. Which means I would question the entire REVIEW before I posted it any where.

        And as I mentioned in my first post, Rotolight handled this very poorly… so I am not defending their company in any way.

        I see tons of reviews of lighting gear and many use questionable techniques at comparing different gear. I take many online reviews with a grain of salt, your mileage may vary.

        • William Eisley on 08.7.13 @ 2:20PM

          The kick never changes color, so it’s safe to assume that the white balance never changes. The light design is either faulty or this light slipped through QC. Either point is valid for review. That’s why companies make it a point to tell you that “each product is hand tested”, so you know that their QC is awesome and that you will never a faulty product.

          The problem with a pre-arranged test is that the manufacturer gets to make sure that the light that is used in the test is up to snuff. How does that compare to what the average consumer gets?

          If a client sees a crumby video spot that I did, it doesn’t matter if I was having a bad day. It’s still representative of my work and is something for the client to take into account.

  • After watching that I can understand why after 5 months it only had 150 views….. !

    • I know right. By the way , how many views did your Rotolight review get after five months? I just want to compare your really awesome work with that of Den’s here. Maybe we can see where he went wrong by watching what you did right. If I were you, I would mail Den a complaint list so he can pull himself together using your really thoughtful analysis.

    • Rodrigo Molinsky on 08.7.13 @ 7:56AM

      I think there is a problem with this view counter from Vimeo. Because a lot of people wanted to watch the video – and they did. Including me.

  • Rodrigo Molinsky on 08.7.13 @ 8:12AM

    The thing is… would Rotolight issue a statement if this case had fallen into oblivion? And why Vimeo is also getting out from this?

    • Vimeo essentially errs on the side of caution. That’s why after a video is pulled you can file a counter to get it put back. It covers them from any issues when they side on the side of caution.

  • Michael Hawk on 08.7.13 @ 9:36AM

    The funny thing is, most people would have never seen this review if Roto light didn’t take it down in the first place.

    But I agree, $2000 for led light quality that can be found on ebay for $250….I mean, it’s all made in China anyways isn’t it?

  • Would love to read more articles like this. It’s these articles that save people time, money, and headaches.

    thanks

  • Just to let you guys know I am now in positive conversations with Rod Gammons CEO of Rotolight.

    We are setting up a time to meet at our earliest convenience since I am currently mid-journey am returning from a trip to Australia.

    There is a positive outcome from all of this and we are focussing on that now.

    Rotolight have welcomed me to work with them to see if any further improvements can be made to the existing technology.

    They have offered to send a new light to test asap. They are being very open and we are working towards a retests that will hopefully be attended and administered under the watchful eye of Rodney Charters ASC.

    We’ll be extending this test to any manufacturer who wishes to be involved.

    I’m pleased that now the dust has settled we can work positively towards a bigger test that will benefit all film makers looking at LED tech.

    • Thanks for the update, Den. Good to know that this is now heading in the positive direction.

    • Thanks for posting this Den. It’s good to know that this situation is working itself out in a positive way. Also, it’s super cool that you get to hang with Rodney Charters. That guy is a legend!

  • PR Fail, the video now has been seen by 200 times the amount of people who had seen it before.
    Streisand effect strikes again.

  • marklondon on 08.7.13 @ 1:48PM

    Just an aside – how nice does that Kino Celeb look? First time I’ve seen it used in anger.
    Might require a trip to FilmTools.

  • We have some Rotolight Anovas in our rental house and several of them had to be repaired within a matter of months. I don’t feel like the QC is there, at least not on the early runs of the lights. Maybe they’re better now. It seems like they spent more time on their WiFi app (which is awesome) then on the light itself.

  • Joe, can you guys, or someone, please do a review on the new Mole-Richardson LED Fresnels. Those are the real deal by a real lighting company with Osram LED technology. http://mole.com/lighting/led/mole_led.html

  • Can I get one of these Rotolights in blue?

  • Daniel Mimura on 08.15.13 @ 1:27AM

    I know this article is pretty old now, but I’m slowing catching up after being away for a few weeks.

    I haven’t used the Anova, but I have to say Rotolight makes some crappy products. I have their original rotolight. Everything is wrong with it. You have to snap it in place, and you can orient it a few different ways, so you can never find the on/off button (and there is no reason to orient it different ways because it’s a circle.).

    Half of it broke and that side only turns on when you flex it, and that’s after some pretty mild use after about 3 months. I didn’t bother getting it fixed, b/c I hate everything else about the light, I figured, why bother.

    As your batteries begin to lose power, instead of turning off, it begins to flicker. At what point do you decide to stop using it? When you have a million more important things going on while lighting things on location, the last thing you want is to think, well, that lights been on for a half hr…are the batteries dead?

    Most damning of all…it’s very green. Those supplied gels I suspect don’t really work right to correct it. Sometimes, they make it worse.

    I generally don’t really like most LED’s (litepanels are better, and I haven’t used the kinoflo LED unit yet), but Rotolight is the worst I’ve used, and I’ve used the cheap knock offs.

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