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#1 Filip Plesha

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 06:41 PM

Ok, now I need to ask you videographers and video amateurs out there something (because I assume these lights are your teritory)..

I'm planing to add a little compact cheap light to my light gear for photography, and I want
a semi-soft-ish floodlight, like Lowel Tota-light up to 1K, but I'm sort of confused about the models Lowel is offering.

I've already narowed by choice to two models: V-light and Tota-light, simply because I can get a 500W bulb for it in any local market for a candy-bar price.
And another reason is that I already have something similar and I love the glow I get with that shape of bulb and reflector, and I am getting really anoyed with the open faces I'm using, because they lack that glow.

So, did anyone use any of these two lights?

What's the difference (at the same wattage, of say 500W) between these two (Tota and V) ?

thanks
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#2 Bob Hayes

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 06:56 PM

I own two tota lights and they have become great work horses. Currently I keep the 2 totas, gel frames, umbrellas, a Pepper, and some extension cords in an old tripod bag. When I need to run out and do a quick small shoot it is always ready.
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#3 Tom Bays

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 06:56 PM

You don't like the umbrellas?
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#4 Filip Plesha

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 07:21 PM

You don't like the umbrellas?


are you asking me or bob?
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#5 Tom Bays

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 07:42 PM

are you asking me or bob?


You...it must have been a simultaneous post.
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#6 Filip Plesha

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 08:08 PM

You...it must have been a simultaneous post.


I find them to be such an ugly sight on any kind of set, for soft light I use home-made white sheet reflector panels or whatever they are called.
Easy to carry around, hold in hands, or attach to something.
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#7 Tom Bays

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 08:11 PM

I see what you are saying...The is it raining jokes get old. I just joke and tell people it takes years to learn how to illuminate like this. :)
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#8 Tom Bays

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 08:27 PM

Lowell

This is their site...it explains it pretty well. I personally try to use different light stands. Tota stands are for crap. Make sure you extend them all the way (whenever possible).

Edited by Kemper, 19 June 2006 - 08:28 PM.

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#9 Sam Wells

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 08:35 PM

I like the Lowel Rifa (the bargain Chimera), but that may be softer than you want.

-Sam
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#10 Bob Hayes

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 11:44 PM

Haskell Wexler lit a lot of Blaze with large umbrellas not Lowell style. There are much larger and softer sources then umbrellas. I own em and use them. But sometimes ease and speed outweight the quality of a large bounce, a Chimera, or a Large soft frame.
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#11 Michael Nash

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 02:12 AM

Haskell Wexler lit a lot of Blaze with large umbrellas not Lowell style. There are much larger and softer sources then umbrellas. I own em and use them. But sometimes ease and speed outweight the quality of a large bounce, a Chimera, or a Large soft frame.


I'm with Bob on this one. I use Lowel umbrellas quite a bit as they are quick, lightweight and convenient. Sure, the size of the source only amounts to approx. 24" diameter, but sometimes you can "gang up" two of them side-by-side for a softer effect. And the softness is relative to distance -- as a key light for talking heads they're great; to illuminate a larger set they're a drop in the bucket. A larger umbrella will naturally give a softer quality of light.

I also use Lowels on squeezers, and balance the levels by eye. When a light that isn't quite soft enough is toned down and blended more with the rest of the lighting, the contrast of the shadow is diminished and doesn't look as "hard" as a result. Lowel Omni's come with a snap-on "scrim" (although not a proper scrim set) that can let you knock down the output without changing the color temperature like you get with squeezers.
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#12 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 04:52 AM

I like the Lowel Rifa (the bargain Chimera), but that may be softer than you want.

-Sam


Rifa's rule the earth. Great lights.
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#13 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 06:07 AM

Lowell Omni's are more flexible than Totas which heat up incredibly and are hard to control.
Umbrellas can be very handy when and if you don't have the grip gear available to support diffusion frames.
Sure wish sometimes that lower wattage bulbs were available.
5218 is so amazing that smaller and smaller wattages are needed.
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#14 Josh Bass

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 09:15 AM

You can use a tota with Chimeras.
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#15 Filip Plesha

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 09:57 AM

Lowell Omni's are more flexible than Totas which heat up incredibly and are hard to control.
Umbrellas can be very handy when and if you don't have the grip gear available to support diffusion frames.
Sure wish sometimes that lower wattage bulbs were available.
5218 is so amazing that smaller and smaller wattages are needed.



Getting enough light is a nightmare for me, so I never shoot without a tripod, and I always end up using very long exposures, so I've sort of given up on trying to get a decent level of light, and now I'm going for smaller, more compact lights instead.

I don't shoot on films faster than 100ISO, usually it's Ektachrome 64 for still life, portraits and such..

The reason I can't get enough light is:

1. I usually start with a 1K key and go from there
2. I have to cut it down by more than a stop by using a CTB full blue gel for conversion to daylight
3. I use a 64 ISO film
4. If I use any kind of difussion its much worse, or god forbid using bounced light
5. I usually don't open up more than f8

All that leaves me with very long exposures, which is a problem when shooting people,
plus Ektachrome 64 has reciprocity issues from 1 sec on, it goes slightly cyanish and loses some speed.


For getting adequate level of lights using those apertures and that kind of film, plus difussion and gels, I'd probably have to start with something like 8K, which is ridiculous
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#16 Tom Bays

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 10:31 AM

I was on a shoot where a 1k tota was turned on without opening the flaps. The light exploded and pretty much sent pieces of incredibly hot metal everywhere. By some grace, no one was standing there. Pieces of metal were melted into the floor. The only good to come out of it was that we were shooting a FLOORING business. :blink:

I just frigging cringe thinking about what would have happened if that hit someone.
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#17 Josh Bass

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 12:21 PM

Didn't it have the scrim on it? that's kinda supposed to as a "protector of flesh from flaming light fragments", isn't it?
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#18 Filip Plesha

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 12:42 PM

Those long halogen bulbs tend to blow up sometimes, but I've never heard them taking the lamp with them..

I've never really been able to picture my own death, but this feels like it, maybe one day I'll die in a tota-explosion. :unsure:

Don't they have some kind of fuse in them?

My lights turn off automatically when they overheat, like in case of closed barndoors
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#19 Michael Collier

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 03:07 PM

No lowell I know of has a heat cut-off or fuse. They are straight wired to the juice. We used to have some of the round 'scrims' built for the omnis, we bent those in two places to make a wrap around grill, but after a little bit of use they would bend and it would be difficult to mount them onto the tota. I have dropped using totas all together. In my head I avoid them unless there is no other solution that would work. They have way too much spill, get way too hot and are very hard to controll (any they explode? maybe thats why they have so many warnings on them about turning on without opening the doors, I myself have turned on totas like that, not for long, but someone in our shop did. We have a tota that has completley melted through the reflector and warped the whole unit, though it didnt explode)

Sounds like the way you shoot, you need to look at HMIs or Kino-Flos. Both are expensive, but you need daylight at 64asa at an f8? Seems like a lot of light. I would recomend you look at changing something in your shooting, at least for people. What are your stills for? Are they blown up to rediculous sizes, or are you shooting an 8x10? I can't figure out why you need an f8 for people (a typical wide lens you would shoot a portrait on should have plenty of DOF to cover their face) and as far as the speed, it seems like the boost in sharpness and lack of grain would be marganilized by the softening caused by subject movement.

Other than that can you get a tungsten based film? This would get you another stop or two of light (if your a photoshop guy, maybe you wouldnt mind shooting uncorrected and doing some color correction?)
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#20 Josh Bass

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 03:21 PM

I think the totas actually come with their own scrim. I have two, and they both have scrims that are shaped around the light.
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