Rotolight Anova PRO 2 Studio/Location Lighting System Review

by Andy McKenzie, Chief Engineer, Finepoint Broadcast

rotolight-anova-pro-2-product-review

The Anova PRO 2 is the fourth generation of Rotolight’s studio/location light, offering 70% more power output than its predecessor. It is claimed to be one of the brightest LED lights ever launched in its class, delivering 10,700 lux at 3 feet yet consuming only 72 watts. Figure 1 shows the front with accessory mounting spigots (1), optional barn doors (2) and a gel frame holder.

Features

The lighting market is highly competitive but this model is notable for its exceptional versatility. It is capable of 14 lighting effects, including a ‘chase’ mode which uses DMX to control a line of lights to simulate a moving light source. Rotolight's wDMX can be used to control up to 512 wireless slaves from one Anova PRO 2 master. A multi-flash feature allows users to capture multiple frames of movement in a single exposure. Enhanced DMX features include FX Slave which allows more precise synchronisation between master and slave Anova PRO 2s.

A 'CineSFX' facility provides cinematographic lighting effects which can be controlled via wirelessly.  Operators can also use DMX or wDMX to connect multiple slave Anovas for studio lighting. An aperture dimming feature calculates and displays the correct aperture for a subject at a given distance. 'Designer Fade' provides custom fade up/down production effects.

Rotolight has integrated Elinchrom's Skyport 2.4 GHz HSS wireless flash receiver, eliminating the need to purchase a standalone flash receiver. This can be used to control up to 10 lights wirelessly in four groups at up to 200 metres. High-speed sync flash synchronises the light to the camera shutter release (up to 1/8000th of a second speed) for traditional photography. This uses a colour tuneable flash and a modelling light. Auto set-up allows single-click configuration of DMX channel settings on large groups of lights.

Components

Each kit includes one of the following: Rotolight Anova PRO 2; yoke with standard TVMP Bracket; universal power adapter with regional mains cable; gel filter holder; standard filter pack (216 full diffuser (1.5 stops) plus 250 medium, half white diffuser (3/4 stops) plus 184 a 'cosmetic peach' diffuser plus 279 1/8th minus green (magenta); and an impressively detailed user manual.

Options

Among 12 available options for the light are a 95 watt-hour V-Mount battery, dual and quad channel chargers, a double yoke, honeycomb louver, colour filter pack, the barn doors, an optical light shaping diffuser, flight case and travel kit.

Operation

All electrical controls are located on the rear of the lamp head, seen on the right of the photo. These comprise multi-role rotary encoder knobs (1), firmware programming port (2), power switch (3), two mounting brackets for yoke or barn doors (4), menu item or selected value display (5), DMX in/out (6), USB port (7), 13 to 17 volt DC power input (8), flash sync and trigger input port (9) and V-Lock battery plate (10). Dimming range is completely flicker-free from zero to maximum brightness. Brightness is adjusted by rotating the left rotary encoder. Simply rotating the knob adjusts the brightness in 1% increments. Press/hold/rotate adjusts the brightness in steps of 10%. Colour temperature range is from 3150 kelvin (tungsten) up to 6300 Kelvin (direct daylight), stabilised across the entire dimming range. An integral exposure calculator shows the brightness setting as an f-stop for the subject at a given distance, referencing the camera ISO and shutter.

Effects

The Anova PRO 2 is capable of an astonishing range of effects such a lightning simulation, strobe (obviously use with caution if intended for broadcast), light pulsing and colour cycle. 'Fire'  emulates a burning fire.  Multiple lights with slightly different settings and gels can be used to achieve quite realistic fire effects. A submenu set of spinning effects is accessible. 'Film' simulates the flicker from an old cine projector, 'Weld' an electric arc torch and perhaps most ambitious of all 'Chase' uses a line of up to 48 Anovas to simulate passing street lights.

Summary

Compact, very well thought out and robustly built, the Anova PRO 2 is quite simply one of the best and most versatile LED studio and location lights on the market.

 

This article is also published in Kitplus Magazine Issue 136 March/April 2019.