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The Story of Rotolight

In a little over a decade, British LED lighting manufacturer, Rotolight, has emerged from a fledgling business and underdog in a mature sector to breaking boundaries with numerous industry firsts. Today, its market-leading innovations and 50+ patented technologies, designs and trademarks, forge the cornerstone of photographers, filmmakers and content creators across the globe, with over 140,000 units sold worldwide to date. Read on to learn more about how Rotolight grew from the founding family’s garden shed to an internationally recognised, award-winning LED lighting brand.

Prior to the birth of Rotolight in 2009, the family behind the brand, Rod Gammons Snr, Helen Gammons, and Rod Aaron Gammons, had already built a successful business in supplying tech into the film and broadcast market, whilst also supplying photographers and independent filmmakers with brands including Sony, Canon and Apple.

“We love being the disruptors. We’re all innovators, we’re all creatives, we all love the industry,” says Rod Gammons SNR, co-founder & head of product design. It was the launch of the Canon 5D Mark II in November 2008, that changed everything. It was a camera that transformed the imaging industry, democratising filmmaking and offering filmmakers an affordable, professional-grade camera system, that could shoot high definition video at an accessible price point for the very first time. The family recognised the shift in the market that this ground-breaking camera identified and hatched their plan to create a product that would offer the same advantages in the emerging LED lighting space. Rotolight was born.

“Rotolight started from really humble beginnings. Our first office was literally the garden shed at the back of my parent’s house. And I vividly remember, every single day at the end of a work day, my dad, my mum myself would be sat at the kitchen table, literally hand assembling these products and putting them together, and the FedEx truck would turn up at the house. And that was our business,” said Rod Aaron Gammons, CEO.

Many long hours were spent, developing a light that would deliver the efficiency of LED along with an excellent quality of colour. Rotolight’s first product was the RL48, a small and highly portable light that could mount over a shotgun mic or to a hot shoe. It was immediately recognised as a product that perfectly met the needs of the burgeoning DSLR filmmaking market, instantly propelling the Rotolight brand into the psyche of a new generation of creatives.

“It was crazy. People absolutely loved them because it was something that they could slip into their pocket and just pull out whenever they needed it,“ said Rod Gammons SNR.

Rotolight made a conscious decision to manufacture its products in the UK, sharing a production facility used by Red Bull Formula 1 and McLaren. As the epicentre of global innovation and engineering expertise, this helps to maintain the brand’s reputation of producing the highest quality lighting in the industry. Rotolight has persisted in investing heavily in research and development and has shown a consistent track record of bringing market first innovations, such as the very first suite of cinematic lighting effects, (CineSFX™), SmartSoft™ Electronic Diffusion, and being the first LEDs to offer ‘shoot what you see’ benefits of continuous lighting and High-Speed Sync flash all-in-one, allowing users to flash in any of 16.7M colours, 2500 digital gels or white light from 3-10,000 Kelvin.

“One of the great advantages we have at Rotolight is that we are a family business. We listen to our users. In fact, quite frankly, we think of them as part of our family. As a family business, we’re able to react extremely quickly to good things. We can change stuff and if we have an idea, we can run with it. It gives us incredible flexibility, which in some respects is why we perhaps do unexpected things; things that the larger companies take much longer to actually get on to. That’s why you’ve seen so many surprising new technologies coming out of Rotolight’s product line.” Said Rod Gammons SNR.

These technologies can be found across the multi-award-winning range of Rotolight products which have been used on major feature films, including Ghostbusters, Afterlife, The Colour Room and James Bond – Skyfall, as well as many TV shows, such as ITV’s Dancing on Ice, Amazon’s The Expanse, and Emmy-Award winning, Grey’s Anatomy. They’ve also been used by leading celebrity portrait photographers to capture iconic images of Grace Jones, Elton John, Jake Gyllenhall, Benedict Cumberbatch, Margot Robbie and Martin Scorcese. Rotolight’s products have since gone on to become the most highly awarded LED lights in history, with over 40 awards for innovation.

“Rotolight is a family business and that really means something. You know we’ve all got very different strengths, and yet we can all overlap a little bit too, which is why family businesses do so well. I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved. We’ve worked so hard, and so have our staff. It’s been a really brilliant journey.” Said Helen Gammons, COO, Rotolight.

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