Tuesday, 30 December 2014


For a number of years, I’ve been using my GoPro to make videos that I’ve been hosting on my YouTube channel, and more recently my Vimeo channel.  Despite using Windows Movie Maker, and more recently iMovie to edit my videos, my GoPro has traditionally been mounted to my primary light that produces either a hot spot at the bottom, or a beam running through my video.  I certainly wished I had some better lighting for my TDI Full Cave course. 

I’m a fan of the Light-for-Me range (hence why I sell their products) and have been impressed by their GoPro Video Lighting System so I thought it was about time I got one for myself in preparation for my upcoming trip to Egypt (report here).  In addition I also purchased the GoPro Protective Case

From the Light-for-Me website, the GoPro Video Lighting System specs consist of:
Light-for-me underwater video set for GoPro Hero and GoPro HD Hero2 consists of:
·     2 underwater video torches (3XPG MINI video).
·     2 bezels with ball joints.
·     2 butterfly connectors.
·     2 ball joints attached to a goodman handle.
·     1 goodman handle.
·     1 set of screws.
The lighting system designed to make underwater videos consists of two light sources - 3XPG MINI:
·     Lumen output: 1800 lumens (two sources of 900 lumens each).
·     Light angle: 120 degrees.
·     Light colour temperature: around 6000 K.
·     Made from anodised aluminium with laser engravings.
·     Switched on by twisting.
·     Powered by 1x 18650 Li-Ion battery each.
·     Pressure tested for 100m.
·     Weight and dimensions: body diameter: 3cm head diameter: 3.8cm length: 13.8cm weight without battery: 175g weight with battery: 220g.
The set does not include:
·     GoPro camera visible in photos.
·     Batteries 18650 Li-Ion - visible in photos.
·     Battery charger - visible in photos.


The items arrived well packaged from Light-for-Me, there was no way anything was going to get damaged.  No manuals are included however these are available to download here; this ensures that if you ever lose it you’ll be able to download another free of charge.  I also activated the warranty on the Light-for-Me website here.

In addition to the GoPro Video Lighting System and GoPro Protective Case, I ordered some batteries and a charger off eBay (there’s plenty to choose from).  Next I had to attach my GoPro.  For this I used the standard adhesive pad on the top of the goodman handle.  I’ve used one for years on my primary light and it’s never come unstuck, just make sure firm contact is applied whilst sticking it on.  If you don’t fancy this, I know of others who have used the tripod mount and screwed it on.  Finally I had to make an attachment to clip it off when not in use.  Rather than having a large bungee coil, I opted for a simple bungee loop and double-ended boltsnap (how-to here).

The quality of the GoPro Video Lighting System is easy to see and it feels solid.  But like anything aluminium it could scratch easily.  There is also a wide range of adjustment on the lights.  Personally I found the further apart the better.  The set is really simple to use as it’s turned on by a twist operation.  And with a double O-ring, the chance of flooding is minimal.  The lights were as a rule kept switched off until I used them to save battery life.  The lights are very effective with their 120o beam and produce an even spread of light, no hot spots to worry about.  The lights are extremely effective at night, during wreck penetration and for macro work, especially at depth.  The lights are less good for wide-angle landscapes as the light does not penetrate through the water, but I’ve yet to see a system at this price range that does.  For these shots I used a red/blue water filter.

When filming, you can use the goodman handle, however I preferred holding the set by the butterfly connectors as a 2 handed operation gives a more stable result.  You could upgrade and add the Light-For-Me Camera base as this has 2 vertical handles, and if you wanted a wider spread of light you could add their butterfly connectors and arms (available in 8, 10 and 20cm lengths).  Personally I would only do this if I were going to upgrade the lights as well, to something like the 3XML Video Light 3600 lumens, but then you’re looking at spending thousands of pounds rather than only a few hundred. 

I am very happy with the GoPro Video Lighting System, especially after having my GoPro torch mounted for a number of years.  I personally believe that the combination of that and the filter has given me the best results to date and I can’t wait to try the set out in the murky green waters of the UK.

My first attempt using the set can be found on YouTube (here) and Vimeo (here).  The video was filmed on a Hero 3 Black edition, but can be used with any of the GoPro cameras, or any action camera that will fit between the 2 butterfly connectors.

To show the strengths and weaknesses of the GoPro Video Lighting System, I have highlighted some examples below that used either a filter or the lights:
·     Wide angle reef (filter) – 00:50.
·     Wide angle wreck (filter) – 05:57.
·     Macro wreck (filter) – 08:20.
·     Macro reef (filter -20m) – 01:00.
·     Macro reef (lights -20m) – 00:35 and 00:45.
·     Macro reef (lights 20m+) – 01:10.
·     Wreck penetration (lights) – 03:00 and 08:48.
·     Night diving (lights) – 06:00.

Overall, the GoPro Video Lighting System is an excellent accessory to your GoPro, or indeed any small camera.  And at only £283.00 RRP its not going to break the bank.  If you have any questions, or are interested in purchasing either a GoPro Video Lighting System, or any of the Light-for-Me range then please get in touch.

EDIT – 2 August 2015
Since purchasing this system, all Light-for-Me GoPro video lights now have a housing base as standard.  Machined from delrin, the base itself is fixed to the existing Goodman handle by 2 screws (provided), although you will have to remove the adhesive pad first (which is easier than it sounds). 
Before fitment
Housing base

After fitment
With iQ sub housing

I can recommend the housing base, as it gives confidence that your GoPro will not become unstuck, and is a welcome accessory to the GoPro Video Lighting System.  If you already have a GoPro Video Lighting System, it can be purchased for less than a tenner.

The boring bit!
All opinions expressed in my articles are my own and may differ to other instructor’s and agency guidelines; by no means are they wrong and I would not wish to disrepute any of them.  This article is for information only and should not replace proper training.

Safe diving!

Timothy Gort
BSAC, PADI and SDI/TDI diver training
l Mob: 07968148261 l Email: tim@rectotec.co.uk l