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Lowell Tota lights ....


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#1 Nick Mulder

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 04:19 PM

Hello,

I've been offered a Lowell Tota light kit - 3 lamps, kinda like this here:
Posted Image
Each with at least 1 stand, gel frame and flag for each lamp (if not more flags) - not to mention case, extra bulbs and a few tota style grippy bits'n'bobs - but minus the reflectors ...

more info here also

Its an old kit, but very well looked after (not used often).

What are your impressions from using them in shooting set ups ? Where are they best utilized ? They are pretty lightweight for the 800w output.

I also shoot stills (120, and 8x10) - mostly outdoors but want to try out portraiture, I have strobes yes but no modeling lights on them so its always a bit random...

Any info/advice appreciated

An idea of the going price for such a kit would be helpful too.

cheers,
Nick
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#2 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 05:40 PM

Without the umbrellas or some type of diffusion or softbox on them, to me, they're basically like halogen shoplights.

You can get adaptor speed rings for attaching chimeras or photoflex softboxes to them, but just bare as they are, they're kinda hard to control by themselves. Fine lights regardless, but they will require a bit more control.
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#3 Bob Hayes

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 07:03 PM

Jump on it. These are great lights if you know how to use them. They are super lightweight and super small. The umbrella makes a nice soft key. They bounce well off of the ceiling to give you over all ambience in a documentary environment. They suck however as back lights and it is impossible to create slash like lighting. You will also need to buy some gel frames if you want to change the color temperature or add diffusion.
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#4 Nick Mulder

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 07:08 PM

They're steamy little things too - hot hot ... I'd probably point them away from the subject and bounce off card for diffusion and use some cinefoil/blackwrap if not the flags to control the spills...

If the price is right then I cant go wrong - just not sure what that price is though :huh:

Off topic a little and considering using them for B&W stills (or B+W for that matter) is there anything stopping me from using a single fade dimmer or similar on each lamp ?
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#5 Walter Graff

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 07:40 PM

Lowel lights ar a great buy and in most every pros kit in some form or another.
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#6 Peter Cote

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 04:58 PM

It really depends on what you use them for. I think these are great for interviews and such. They are not my favorite lights to work with, becaues they do get very hot, but if they are used properly they can get the job done.
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#7 A. Whitehouse

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 09:42 PM

Hello,

I've been offered a Lowell Tota light kit - 3 lamps, kinda like this here:
Posted Image
Each with at least 1 stand, gel frame and flag for each lamp (if not more flags) - not to mention case, extra bulbs and a few tota style grippy bits'n'bobs - but minus the reflectors ...

more info here also

Its an old kit, but very well looked after (not used often).

What are your impressions from using them in shooting set ups ? Where are they best utilized ? They are pretty lightweight for the 800w output.

I also shoot stills (120, and 8x10) - mostly outdoors but want to try out portraiture, I have strobes yes but no modeling lights on them so its always a bit random...

Any info/advice appreciated

An idea of the going price for such a kit would be helpful too.

cheers,
Nick


I was surprised when I saw this post because I had an experience yesterday on set with a kit of these (which Ive used before with no problems) where an electric standing next to me had a very very bad shock from a faulty plug. It was really quite frightening and because of the electricity he was unable to let go of the head and it was several seconds before someone turned it off at the wall. He was fine eventually but it was the first time that I had been on set and someone needed to be taken away in an ambulance and it was a real eye opener for me about safe practices when dealing with worn equipment.
Looking at the kit afterwards we never would have plugged them in, taped together switch housings, molten plugs etc... but at the time while we were setting it up none of this was going through our minds we just had to get the pre-light done quickly before the band turned up. All I could think afterwards was that it could have been any of us and I'm not sure that my body would have stood up to the shock as well as his did. Luckily he was a fit guy and fine after being released from hospital several hours later but it was a major fright for everyone involved.
I don't want to make cast any aspersions on these lights as this particular kit was not well maintained but I was surprised to see this posting after yesterday.
In my experience Ive always found these lights to be hot and difficult to use and as someone already pointed out when pointed directly without some form of diffusion they are little more than shop lights. Earlier this year I ended up turning the whole unit around and just using the diffuse light that punches through the back side of the umbrella because it was far from what you would call a subtle light.
I am fond however of the Lowell Softlight, the one with the hood which is I think a 1Kw light. Its incredibly punchy and when a 4 bank 2 foot Kino wouldn't do the job it lept to the occasion.
I don't about what price would be fair, perhaps a kit of Arri 650s would be more useful?
I hope this helps.

Sasha
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#8 Nick Mulder

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 12:45 AM

I've used them once now and taken the advice from everyone on board - the stills folk (at apug.org) think that strobes with modeling lights are the go' - interesting to see more positive responses here (naturally strobes aren't going to be good for cine without a major investment $$$!) ...

I'm at the point where I can see where they would be useful (and not) and its really just time to but out the cost - Obviously no one (except maybe the guy that was electrocuted) would turn them down for free ... What would you personally pay for this kit ? Although 'old' the lamps have been sitting around unused for a fair heap of that time (years) - there are no melted bits etc... just that lovely old camera smell you get when opening a case thats been in the closet for some time
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#9 Robert Hughes

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 12:32 PM

I've had a set of 4 Tota Lites for years, they get used alot. They do run hot and have no beam control, but work fine for umbrella bounce lites. Strobe lites? How would you use them on a film or video shoot, unless you can flash them at 120 Hz?
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#10 Nick Mulder

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 02:06 PM

I've had a set of 4 Tota Lites for years, they get used alot. They do run hot and have no beam control, but work fine for umbrella bounce lites. Strobe lites? How would you use them on a film or video shoot, unless you can flash them at 120 Hz?


Just sync them with your shutter - or with a 180deg shutter use a rate of double the fps, like 48Hz to run un-synced ... not sure what 120Hz would be for ?

Other shutter angles (esp. larger) require a bit more thought for non-sync

heres a related product: http://www.lightning...LS-brochure.pdf
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Visual Products

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Broadcast Solutions Inc

Technodolly

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Metropolis Post

Paralinx LLC

Wooden Camera

Glidecam

Willys Widgets

CineTape