GVM 880 RS Multifunction LED Light Kit lights: Video and Film Lighting Kit

Michael DelGaudio
11/16/21 2:47 PM Comment(s)

Handy Cool-running LED Lights for your Video Studio

Links in the article below may be affiliate links.  I may earn a small commission, but are totally free to you, and do not change the price you pay. 

Overview

The GVM 880 RS Multifunction LED Light Kit is a set of 2 led lights that are designed for video and film content creators. With this kit, you get the perfect lighting setup without needing to spend hours setting it up



Product Name: The GVM 880 RS Multifunction LED Lights: Video and Film Lighting Kit

 Recently, I've been on a quest trying to learn lighting techniques to make my videos and my B-Roll LOOK better -- especially to improve my B-Roll shots.   Lighting is not my strong suit and I was looking for something that would be easy to set up and would help me be more productive. 

The good folks over a GVM sent me these lights and asked if I would review the product. They sent me the two light kit. These are multi-function L. E. D.  lights designed for video content creators and  filmmakers.

I want to disclose right up front that GVM sent me the lights in consideration for making this video. But I am otherwise not compensated by GVM, they have no input on what I say, and they won't see this video before you do. My only goal is to help you decide if these lights might be right for you. 



\Now, normally I don't say yes to review lighting products for video as it isn't my strong suit -- I'm no expert,  but since these seemed beginner friendly and pretty affordable I thought I would see if these could solve my needs as I make  my videos. 
The kit comes in a semi rigid case that has everything you need for basic two point  lighting. There are the two lights, of course, that each come in a protective bag. The lights come pre-mounted in these U mounts , and each light has these barn door flaps all  preinstalled. That's cool!  They're pretty much plug and play! No installation or configuration is required. Very beginner friendly.

The kit includes power adapters for wall power! So, these can be your front lights for your Youtube setup -- you don't have to worry about changing batteries, or recharging all the time. 

Image showing two battery slots
But they are not limited to wall power.  There are  battery slots on the back.  You can get compatible batteries separately from the GVM website. There are two slots on the back and you  need to flip the power switch to choose between wall power or battery power. You do need both batteries connected at the same time, if you pull one out, the light will go out, so you can't hot swap the batteries. 


Light Stands

There are two light stands included. 

These are basic lightweight stands.  They are fine, but nothing to write home about. They can elevate the  lights around 7 feet in the air.  They fit in the case, and have their own  bags, so they won't scratch the lights when you store them. 


They're pretty typical stands.  However, the stands go higher than the length of the  cord on the power brick.  




So, if you're extending the light stands all the way up, it's a good idea to get bongo ties or velcro straps to hold the brick in place for strain relief. Otherwise, you might put too much stress on the cable, or the plug,  and damage the parts. That would not be good. It would be nice if the cord was long enough that the brick sat on the ground when the supplied stand was fully extended. But that's how it is. 

Here is an example of using one light set to white as the foreground, and one light set to a deep red as the background. 

Light Modes

The lights themselves have several modes  -- they can either be white, or can display RGB color. 


There are dedicated LEDs to adjust between  warm white or bright white, and separate LEDs for color.  Having separate White LEDS is great, and the adjustment lets you match the  color to other lights you already have. 

Just turn the knob to adjust between sunlight white, at fifty-six hundred kelvin. Or, add more yellow down to thirty-two hundred kelvin.  Which is similar to incandescent or warm white. 



As an alternative, you can switch to RGB mode.  And, choose any color you want. The LEDs for color are separate from the White LEDs so the accuracy of the whites is better than if they were trying to match a temperature with the RGB LEDs. 

They also have a good brightness range, from off, to really bright. They're rated at 60 watts, so they can go quite bright. 

That includes the color LEDs are bright and vibrant.  And, you can adjust both the saturation and brightness over a nice wide range. You get a broad range of colors. 



You can use the dials and buttons on the back of the light to get to the color you want, but the colors are easier to set in the app. 

Remember that the knob on the right side here is also a button, so you can switch between hue  and saturation to find the exact color you want.  YOu see I have a sticker here that gets me to the blue that I like to use.

I've covered my wall with a neutral gray photography backdrop.  This allows me to use the RGB lights to splash any color I want onto the wall, and quickly transform the background for product shots.  This is a great way to quickly transform  the wall color with these lights.

Adjusting the Lights

 
There are several modes for adjusting the lights. You can switch modes with the buttons on the back, or you can adjust them with an app that you can grab from  the app store or the play store and there's a QR code that will take you to the GVM website where you can also find the app. 

With one light in Primary mode and one light in Secondary mode the lights will instantly pair with each other. You designate one light as the Primary light and the other light as the Secondary light. When you set them this way, the secondary light will automatically follow the same settings as the Primary light.  If you find that the secondary light does not adjust automatically ,you may click the up and down arrows on the secondary light until both lights are on the same channel.  Then the lights should sync up. 

The mode button cycles through the different modes of the light. Each light can be the Primary light,  or the secondary light.   

For any light you switch to the App setting, those lights will then only be controllable controlled over bluetooth from your phone or tablet using the GVM LED app.  THe knobs on the back stop working when its in app mode.

Finally, the lights can be adjusted by the rotating dials on the back -- thus the name rotate.

There are also some pre-made scenes that may be helpful, police lights, simulated lightning, TV flickering, candle flickering and so forth. Those modes don't really apply to me, but other people may find them helpful. 

Running Cool

One of the really nice factors I discovered after I opened the package, is that these lights get warm, but not uncomfortably hot.  I've left them on for more than 10 hours at a time to test, and they were only warm. 

The GVM lights stay cool enough that an internal fan is not needed.  This  is good, because fan noise is a deal breaker when recording audio, especially in my line of work. I would like to use these lights in my video studio and voice recording booth at times, and when sound is critical, fan noise is a non starter for me. These will not interfere with your microphone because they're fully silent.  Many of the larger lights need fans to stay cool. These are totally silent which is perfect for me. 

Flicker Free

If you've tried to use other LED lights that were not made specifically for video, you may see them flicker or otherwise make stripes in your video. These GVM light suffer no such flicker. they're for all intents and purposes continuous at any brightness or color.  That's part of what separates these from the inexpensive lights, and why you'll pay a bit more. They d on't flicker.

Light Quality

They're also way more color accurate than the cheap lights, or lights that try and combine RGB into a white light. Having dedicated white lights that you can control the temperature of is essential in my book, especially when filming people. and the color accuracy I find here is pretty good.

Cons

If I had any complaints about the lights themselves, they're pretty minor. First the design of the u stand here limits the range of motion when the barn doors are installed. It would be nice if you could actually rotate the unit with the barn doors installed, in this configuration I can only really tilt the light, up, when in most cases I want to turn the light in a downward direction to light me, or the product I'm filming. So, being able to rotate the lights a little more freely in both directions would be nice. In the long run I'm going to suspend these from the ceiling so it wont be an issue for me. But think about how you might want to position the lights. 


The lower barn door is removable if it is a problem for positioning the light correctly, BUT I NEEDED A HEX DRIVER TO LOOSEN THEM THE FIRST TIME. 

GVM LED App

On the other hand, the app was a little confusing to get installed and set up.  So many things want to use your phone as a remote and connect over either Bluetooth or  wifi, it makes it really hard and slow to constantly change connections between my camera's wifi connection, my gimbal's wifi or bluetooth connection, the light's Bluetooth connection and so forth. I've actually ended up using tablets and old phones to make remotes for all these products.  Having to stop and reconnect  makes using one phone as a remote inconvenient.  I don't see that changing though, so getting an inexpensive tabletor saving your old phones might be a good idea. I'm using this little Lenovo tablet which was less than 100 dollars and has been reliable. 

Once you're in the app and connected to a light it's easy to switch between modes, select between color or RGB, set the brightness and so on. It's easy enough to use. 

I have a couple wish list items for the app though. 

The app uses Bluetooth, which is fine,  except it appears that you can only control one light at a time. So when you want to adjust each light you have to go back to the start, sometimes click research,  and reconnect to each light individually. Which i understand, but, this leads to the main item on my wish list for the app. 

When you're connecting to each light, the only thing you have to identify the light is this long cryptic address here. As far as I can tell there is no way to rename it in the app. It would help to either put that weird address on  the back of the unit, because its not there,  or allow you to rename it in some way like a location.  Or even better,  a "find me" feature that flashes the light in some way without affecting the settings to identify which light is connected. So if you have 3 or 4 or 5 lights  on the app you could quickly identify which light you're adjusting without messing with the current setting by flashing it or something.  I only have two here and it's hard to keep them straight when you're looking at the app because the name is weird, if I had 4 or 5 lights as part of my overall studio it would be really confusing. So, a way to identify each light from the app  would be a welcome feature. 

But without those features some tape or little label from my p-Touch labeler and I can keep them straight. I put a sticker on the back here  so I can tell which light is which.  I also put a sticker for the color I prefer so I can dial that back in without opening the app.  That'll make sense in a sec. 

the app is not absolutely required, but if you want to access the custom scenes like police mode or lightning, or if you're the only one in the studio then the app is kinda necessary because you'll need the remote. 

It appears that you can save the current color or color temperature as a custom scene that you can quickly recall, however, on my android devices the app crashed whenever I tried to use that feature. So I can't attest to how it works, it crashed on every android device I tried, and I'm not an IOS user. That explains the sticker so I can dial the color back in when I want to go back to it.    At any rate, from what I can tell, it only recalls the scene for whatever light you're connected to, so if you wanted to try and create a specific scene using multiple lights, like to transition between  segments in a live stream it would be very time consuming, but doable.

Where the saved scene would be awesome would be if you wanted to have a custom color that matched your branding. you wouldn't have to find it on the color wheel every time. Since I can't get the save feature to work, that's a problem. And that's why I've got the sticker on the back

Hopefully an app update will sort that out. 

App Permissions

The app wants to access to your photos and files.  I think the files permission is so you can save scenes, but that feature seems to be broken in the Android version that I tested.

What is more concerning for me, is that  APP  requires GPS to operate.  I have  No idea why  GPS would be mandatory. I do not like that at all, and it could keep me from ever using the app. I could not find any explanation why the app needs to track your location. 

So there is that consideration, if you are concerned about such a thing. 

Also, Since the app is over bluetooth there does not appear to be a way to configure these lights over the internet, so trying to integrate with Alexa or  if - this- then- that seems to be impossible. Not a dealbreaker, but it would be cool to adjust the color of the light when something happens like on a livestream --  something like a superchat, the light changes,  As far as I can tell these lights can't help you there.

Price

From a price point this kit will run you about $290 US at the time I made the video. It seems reasonable for what you get, but I would love to see the app get a little more stable, and less intrusive with the GPS deal, for the price, and I would also prefer if they could supply just like a basic remote that covered more common uses , so that I don;t have to use a phone even if it was a really budget flat remote like you get with the cheap LED strips. 

ALso, If I had the money, I would probably opt for the three light kit over the two light kit. The three light version would allow you to do nice three point lighting setup for interviews, or give you two front lights and a nice color splash light for a youtube kind of set.   I say this because it appears that you cannot buy a single lamp on it's own so if you want to expand  with the same lights, you'd need to buy another pair. So starting with three could end up saving you money in the long run if you don't need four.  There are some single versions of other GVM models, so that might work, but I don't see the 880RS in a single version at this time. 

Conclusion


So As it is now, if I want to use the GVM for color accent lighting  and front lighting I also need a small fill light for the front. So, Consider what you might need in the near future when you're making your choice. 

At any rate, as video lights, these have been good and for what I'm doing in trying to step up my b-roll, this kit has suited my need just right, and has been quick and  easy to take down and store away. That part is great. But there are some weird things in the app that I wish were different. I'll leave it to you to decide if any of those issues are deal breakers. 

Thanks again to the folks from GVM for sharing their lights with me, I really appreciate it.

Disclosure

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