April 11, 2017
nab 2017

Digital Sputnik's New Voyager Series Aims at Low-Budget Filmmakers

Sputnik Voyager
Digital Sputnik ups the lighting game again with the new, affordable Voyager series lights to be released at NAB.

Building on its success with its RGB LED lights (famously used in Star Wars: Rogue One), Digital Sputnik will reveal the Voyager series at NAB this year. The new lights aim to provide an even more flexible, portable and affordable lighting toolset for the masses than the revolutionary DS series. The Voyagers complement the DS series by being tubular soft lights, with removable diffusers.

Digital Sputnik CEO Kaur Kallas told No Film School, "Our approach to lighting remains the same with the Voyager line. It is designed to be our most affordable fixture, and we have added all the features that we would want from a softlight—that we would like to use ourselves—into the Voyager."

The Voyager LED series will be offered in 2ft and a 4ft versions.  The lights can be controlled individually through their smartphone "LightGrading" app that automatically maps all the lights in a setup. Through the app, a user is easily able to modify all settings in the lights individually, with pixel-level control, including: on/off, intensity, temperature, hue and saturation.  One person can literally paint a scene without moving or touching a light or gel. 

The lights can also be controlled by a board using wireless DMX. Notably, both the LightGrading and DS Control DMX applications allow you to control Arri SkyPanels and Kino Flo Selects as well.

Voyager 2ft and 4ft ModelsCredit: Courtesy of Digital Sputnik

The visual user interface of the lights makes installations of multiple lights easy to control for people who don't have lighting board expertise. As Kallas described, "The biggest inhibitor for the widespread adoption of RGB pixel controllable lights is the user interface. Today we need to manually address each fixture/LED and then we have a programmable lighting board for the control." He said that Digital Sputnik aims to change this with the Voyager line, by having the software and hardware automate the addressing of fixtures, allowing them to be controlled visually.

Kallas added, "This way, the operator does not have to learn to program sophisticated lighting controller boards to create animations. Lighting boards will still have their use for very sophisticated and complex animations, but for 90% of the applications, our user interface will be sufficient. For the other 10%, users can use the lighting controller board."

These lights are meant to be mobile and tough, with a slim form-factor for tight spaces, a built-in battery and waterproof construction—that's waterproof as in can be used while fully submerged.

LightGrading™ Smartphone AppCredit: Courtesy of Digital Sputnik

Part of Digital Sputnik's mission is to build an affordable set of "tools for a new generation of filmmakers."  To that end, pricing on the units is aggressive: the 2ft Voyager will retail at $390 and the 4ft at $590, making these units within the reach of everyone.

Tech specs

Voyager 2ft
Dimensions: 696x70x50mm (24″x2.8″x2″)
Resolution: 32 pixels
Weight: 1.1kg (2.43lbs)
Power draw: 20W
Battery: 45Wh
Price: $390

Voyager 4ft
1392x70x50mm (48″x2.8″x2″)
Resolution: 64 pixels
Weight: 2.2kg (4.86lbs)
Power draw: 40W
Battery: 90Wh
Price: $590

Are you as excited as we are to get your hands on these lights?  Let us know in the comments if you are interested in adding these to your lighting kit.


No Film School's complete coverage of NAB 2017 is brought to you by My RØDE Reel, Vimeo 360, and Blackmagic Design.

Your Comment

11 Comments

Game changer. This will change the face of using color on modern lower-budget film sets.

April 11, 2017 at 5:47PM

7
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Ed David
Director of Photography
1655

They're definitely interesting. My only question is about battery life. The company really seems to have a passion for making their tools available for as many folks as possible.

Btw, that Tic-Tac commercial, nice. Must've been a trip to shoot.

April 12, 2017 at 12:08AM

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Craig Mieritz
Color, Light and Camera Geek

I love digital sputnik lights! I'm kinda hoping it pushes us to get more adventurous on set.

April 11, 2017 at 6:00PM

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Julian
Director
348

Cool tech but from the video it looks like the actual light output really sucks. I'd much rather have a fresnel-type light than a single light saber kino-tube but I'll wait for more tests. I do think it's a little misleading for them to use quotes from completely different products though.

April 12, 2017 at 12:49AM

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Stephen Herron
Writer/Director
1332

Those lights are aimed to be stylish practical lights. Not so much as Fresnels.
In that regard, they seems really great.

April 12, 2017 at 7:51AM, Edited April 12, 7:51AM

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ron fya
225

These are intended to complement the DS series. DS Series are hard light, Voyager series soft light. Two different, complementary uses.

The fact that they're giving users lightboard-like control of a roomful of lights through a phone app is the hidden-in-plain-sight nugget of gold. It gives indie filmmakers the most important functionality of a lightboard, without the cost or learning curve. I use lighting boards, believe me, this is a huge deal for small productions. They're great for theatrical productions or events but usially overkill for most film productions.

April 12, 2017 at 9:22AM

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Craig Mieritz
Color, Light and Camera Geek

I'm very curious about brightness levels, how do they compare to say a fresnel with a Chimera or a Kinoflow 4 bank of similar size?

Second question is, can they be powered by 120/240 as well as battery?

April 12, 2017 at 9:45AM

9
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Jason Hilton
Stunt Coordinator
81

Jason, the lights are powered by the internal battery only. I asked for light levels, they said they would release all the final technical specs at NAB. The diffuser is removable, so there will be the possibility of getting a harder/more powerful source from them.

As far as a fresnel with a Chimera, separate from the issue of light output, I would call it apples to oranges. There will be overlapping uses, but they're not the same, portability, weather-proof, ease of setting up, no heat, not requiring AC, etc. Factor in those considerations when you look at which light is appropriate for a job. If you are shooting interviews all day in a studio, then a Kino or Chimera might be more appropriate, if you're not changing set-ups and have easy access to AC.

I don't think that they intend for these to be "the" answer to anyone's lighting needs, but rather a thoughtful, integrated piece. The fact that you can control SkyPanels or Kino Flo Selects with their app, in conjunction with their lights is something we all should be happy about...the ability to choose the lights that suit your needs, both creatively and financially, without proprietary obstacles. That intention is what makes me happiest about this announcement and hope that they are successful.

April 12, 2017 at 11:09AM, Edited April 12, 11:11AM

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Craig Mieritz
Color, Light and Camera Geek

Thanks for the new voyager series! very valuable information!

April 12, 2017 at 12:17PM, Edited April 12, 12:16PM

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Melina Barbous
Student
77

Totally going to check these out at NAB! Looks pretty bad ass.

April 13, 2017 at 2:29PM

14
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Aaron Nanto
Creator/Filmmaker
283

Wow... definitely interested, and the price point was surprisingly affordable. I'll echo the main questions I see others have: what's the battery life like, and when can I get these? :-)

April 13, 2017 at 9:49PM

2
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Douglas Bischoff
Director of Photography
74

Every thing changed you must have a lower budget film sets before moving to the next steps

July 22, 2017 at 10:06AM, Edited July 22, 10:06AM

2
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Nicola Gilbert
student
67