Den Lennie of F-Stop Academy posted a video comparison involving a test between a Rotolight Anova, Dedo 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?