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Lowel Pro light and Red Head


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#1 Luke McMillian

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 03:12 AM

Hi all,

Been researching light kits for a while now, I've been using hardware lights and find them frustrating because they're hard to control. The lowel pro light seems appealing to me because it supposedly has a narrow beam of light, barn doors and a focusable lens for flood to spot. A couple questions : the max wattage the light can take is 250 watts, how much brighter or efficient would this be than say a 250 watt bare bulb in a simple hardware reflector?

Been also looking at a Ianiro redhead 1000 watt as a secondary light. On a quality stand point where do red heads stand? The lights I usually see talked about are Arris. I was originally looking at a lowel tota, but I've heard they get very hot, and heard cases of exploding bulbs from the heat, and that they flood too much. What kind of performance would I get out of a red head? I also plan to diffuse it with either an umbrella or photoflow speedring adapter and a medium photoflex softbox.

To give you a bit of background... I'm on a budget, shooting mini dv, right now just using hardware clamp style lights with some basic grip material, homemade cookies, reflectors, flags and gels. Shooting mostly indoor short drama and thriller type movies. At the point where I'm frustrated from considering too many options, what is my best bet?

Thanks all for your patience

Luke
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 05:06 AM

The Redheads are an older design that the Arri version. Having used both lights and own some Redheads, the main problem I have with the latter is that the stirrup isn't mounted at the CG of the light. This means that, with age, they can tend to slowly tilt down as the tilt friction washer becomes worn..

The Arri looks like it's better built: the Redheads regularly have barn door mounting screws coming loose in the light case for example. On the other hand the Redheads are smaller.

I've used an umbrella with the Redhead and it does work, I suspect the Arri might be too big for the umbrella.

At 10ft a flooded Arri will give 107 ft candles - that's roughly f2.8 at 100ASA with a shutter speed of 1/50th. The Redhead will be similar.

You should put a safety glass or wire in front of these lights, because bulbs can explode occasionally in all of them.

In the end, the Arris & the Redheads will both do the same job. However, you don't get great control from the barn doors.
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#3 David Bradley

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 05:29 AM

Arris at 800 watts are fine for indoor shoots balanced at 3200k. Plenty of light but quite a bit of flooding even when the light is rigged to spot. The main problem is spilling but you can't completely coat the light or it will overheat and explode.

I like the light from red heads but they're only really good in close proximity to the talent or for filling in dark spots at range.

probably try a blonde at 1000-1500 watts if you need to balance for Daylight as I find using a full CTB on a redhead cuts out at least 1/2 a Tstop, after you have properly diffused or reflected the lamps you have practically nothing to work with.

Bare in mind that (to my understanding) the relative ASA of Digital is approximately 320 (on a DVW 790 Digi Beta) so calculate accordingly (i'm too lazy to do the math)

hope this helps, dont take this to seriously I speak only from my very limited experience but in all my work I have used Arris at 800 watts.
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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 09:24 AM

probably try a blonde at 1000-1500 watts if you need to balance for Daylight as I find using a full CTB on a redhead cuts out at least 1/2 a Tstop, after you have properly diffused or reflected the lamps you have practically nothing to work with.


Blondes are 2k. If he's in the US (which I assume since he's talking about 1K Arris and Redheads instead of 800 watts), this will involve a mains tie in.

Only approx a 1/3 of the light is transmitted through a CTB, so you're losing just under one and half stops of light.

Redheads are fine for interview situations and lights of this wattage (or lower) are pretty standard in the average documentary kit.

You should careful about blocking the cooling vents of any light, but you can usually Blackwrap around the barn doors of a Redhead without any problems. However, if control is important you should use a Fresnel spot instead of an open faced light like a Redhead.
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#5 Luke McMillian

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 10:36 AM

I think a Blonde is out of the question for me because most circuits only handle 1500 watts of light and then they blow, and I'm not looking into generators at all. The red head would be just a replacement to a lowel tota because I've heard so many heat issues with the tota. I didn't know the red head was based on an arri design tho, cool! I'm assuming a red head will be much better light than a tota? By the way what are the other decent lights by this company, and things around the price of the red head, I'm on a budget http://www.ianiro.com/home_ita.asp

As well I need some feedback on the Lowel Pro light. I've heard some great things about it, and it seems very controllable. I'm just wondering when it's focused through the glass will the 250 watts suprise me in illumination, or could I use it just as a kicker or hair light at most>? I've seen guys with set ups of only pro lights! Probably because mini dv has the low light capabilites, but I want to be able to shoot at around f8 with my gs400 most of the time to get the sweet spot of the lens, and get less grain. What do you all think, I shoud be doing? Would bouncing a red off off the ceiling to bump up the overall illumination in the room, and then get in with a few pro lights and use directional lighting work well? Then adjust brightness and contrast in post production?

Luke
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 10:45 AM

f/8? Most people shooting video try to work near the widest aperture to reduce depth of field. Or did you mean f/2.8? And noise has nothing to do with the f-stop you shoot at, only the gain level and whether you expose correctly so that you don't need to brighten it in post. At 0 db, the noise is the same whether you shoot at f/2.8 or f/16.
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#7 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 10:46 AM

The red head would be just a replacement to a lowel tota because I've heard so many heat issues with the tota. I didn't know the red head was based on an arri design tho, cool! I'm assuming a red head will be much better light than a tota? By the way what are the other decent lights by this company, and things around the price of the red head, I'm on a budget http://www.ianiro.com/home_ita.asp


The Iraniro Redhead was out a number of years before Arri decided to get into manufacturing lighting equipment.

"Redhead" has become a bit of a generic term for these lights.
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#8 Luke McMillian

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 11:04 AM

I thought when you shoot wide open a f2.8 you're getting a softer image. A couple people have told me that the sweet spot where you get the sharpest image from a lens is around f8. Thanks for the info on the noise level. I've tried to get shallow depth of field with the cam, but it's not a big deal to me anymore, I may get a 35mm adapter in the future or probably a much better cam.

Thanks for the replies

Luke
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#9 Michael Nash

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 05:26 PM

The "sweet spot" depends on the lens -- not all lenses are the same. You'd have to test your own lens to find where contrast and resolution starts to fall off, but I suspect you could still get a decent image at f-4.

I looked up the GS400 because I wasn't familiar, and it seems you need to make shure the shutter is "open" in order to have manual control over the gain. If you're shooting with a fast shutter, the camera will automatically apply gain to lift up low luminace levels, regardless of where your f-stop is set.

A 1/4" chip will never give you shallow depth of field, aside from macro.
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 05:41 PM

Generally, two stops closed from wide-open is a good place to be optically. If your zoom only opens to f/2.8, that would be f/5.6, but the truth is that a more shallow-focus image will have the illusion of looking sharper because what's in focus stands out better against an out of focus background. I don't think you're gaining anything by trying to shoot at f/8 -- I'm sure that f/4 would be fine, optically-speaking, for almost any typical lens.
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#11 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 06:27 PM

I think you're off to a good start. Open face units will give you the most light and force you to learn ways to control it. One easy way is to bounce the light. When you're bouncing it, it really doesn't matter if it's a redhead, blonde or a 2000 watt home depot work light that plugs into 2 separate lines. The key is to have diffusion ready on frames as well as flags and nets to then soften and darken specific areas of the image. I will admit that pointing these fixtures right at your subjects will often be tough to control. I'd have a lot of blackwrap handy.

Remember too that clipping diffusion right to the barndoors on these open face units is not the best idea. It's better to purchase some empty 2x3 and 18x24 flag frames or gel frames and some partial 4x rolls of various grades of diff. 1/4, 1/2 and full and then pick which one is best for which situation. Cut them to the frame size and arm them out on C-stands at least a foot from the fixture. You'll find a big difference in the quality of light from a redhead that has diff on the doors than one that has it on a frame. It will also drop the intensity somewhat. The farther the frame gets from the source, the more it becomes like a flag. It both softens and cuts the light.

Of course 4x4 beadboard and a jungle of cstands is not always practical in tight residential quarters. Clip lights are great for those situations in apartments at night but I wouldn't put a 250 in there. Even with a porcelain fixture. The Lowell pro-light is going to give off a much harder light than a clip light. Think of the pro-light as more of a background set light. Kind of a low-rent Dedo light. It's too hard to light people with unless you dim it way down and then you might as well use a clip light. Arri 150 fresnel fixtures however have a lot more control and I highly recommend those. You can put a 200 watt bulb in them. Arri also makes 300 watt fresnels that are far easier to work with than a pro-light. Great for backgrounds and as well as subjects. That's the best bet but it's not the cheapest. Hope this helps
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#12 Luke McMillian

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 05:41 PM

Hey thanks for the advice guys. I will shoot at f4 with my camera then. I'm really leaning towards picking up a red head. Might pair one up with a photoflex softbox,how would you compare the red head to say a lowel omni? I thought lowel was great, but i hear a lot of bad stuff about them heating up badly. If the pro light is on a 45 degree angle upwards or downwards apparantly it melts the wires and there is no automatic shut off if it over heats!

Michael, I will take your advice on using the diffusion further away from the light source, i never thought of that,I had always just clipped diffusion (parchment paper) onto my lights!

Any other light fixtures by ianiro i should be looking at that is controlable like a pro light, or should i look at the lowel omni, or the lowel dp light? I find my hardware lights have such a flood of light, i want a focused beam for the cheapest i can get, I'm on a budget.

Thanks so much

Luke
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#13 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 06:14 PM

As a general rule, I wouldn't buy any lights that I haven't already used or at least demoed.

You'll never really know what you're gonna get out of them until you've taken'em for a test drive.
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#14 Walter Graff

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 06:50 PM

"I was originally looking at a lowel tota, but I've heard they get very hot, and heard cases of exploding bulbs from the heat, and that they flood too much."

A lot of misinformation was given to you. Omnis are great lights as they can have a very sharp beam or very wide. I never heard of something being too wide with alight, especially as the Omni gives you beam control so wide can be good. I own about 12 Omnis and in 20 years never had one explode. They can just as any other fixtures bulb can. Omnis come with tiny mesh screens that protect you in case one should. Do they get hot? The lamp does. The barn doors do if you close them down so they block much of the fixture like any doors would. The fixture does not get not in general and in fact cools down quite fast after use because it is aluminum. Like any incandescent fixture the lamps burn at very high temperatures due to the range of light they mostly emit. But I'd say most of what has been told to you is myth or exaggeration. For the money you'd be hard to find a better fixture.
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#15 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 07:44 PM

Just personally, I'm not a big fan of the Omni...however, I do like its bike handlebar grip!!! Very handy for adjusting the light's direction.
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#16 Luke McMillian

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 03:45 AM

Walter Graff,

Thank you for the information on the omni!

You must have worked with Lowel Pro lights as well. How do you find the lowel pro light hold up against an omni? Any problems? and what would be the better light to go for. Looking for something that is easy to spot/flood and give me frensel type quality.

Thanks

Luke
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#17 Walter Graff

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 08:14 AM

The Omni creates more light than a pro light does. The pro light is a great fixture with fantastic spotting abilities. I don't think I can say one is better than the other. Rather they are similar but different and only applications can explain why. Being that the Pro light is smaller and has a smaller reflector it does not create as much light as does an Omni (also 200 watts compared to 600). But being smaller is also creates a smaller footprint in spot mode so perhaps this fixture is a bit more like a fresnel in terms of control. But I could not say one is better than the other as they are two different fixtures with two different wattages. If it was an Arri open face compared to a red head I'd be able to make more accurate comparisons due to the similarity in the fixtures design and throw but can't with an Omni vs Pro light due to the differences in size, wattage, etc. But both are well made lights.
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#18 Luke McMillian

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 03:54 PM

Walter thanks for the info regarding the pro light. You say you have an accurate comparison of a red to an arri open face? I've been looking at a red head as well as a small kicker like the pro, is the red head similar to an omni or is it a different light all together. i know the red head has more wattage, and it can be flooded or spotted, can you achieve a decent spot with it?

Luke
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#19 Walter Graff

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 05:53 PM

Luke,

I'd put the red head more in line with an Arri light than an omni light. Omnis will spot more but the flood side of the fixture is less even than is teh red head or ARRIlight. It's not better or worse just different as it has a less concave reflector so produces a different type of light beam. You can always look at photometric charts on the manufactures sites to see photo data.
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