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Lowell Rifa Lights


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#1 Scott Brown

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Posted 07 February 2008 - 02:10 PM

Hi there

Anyone had any experience of using Lowell's Rifa lights?

Saw a recent demo and they look very impressive - very quick to set up + a nice soft even light.

All too often I have to do one man shoots and I need a lighting kit for interviews that is light weight and easy to use - I currently work with a set of 3 dedo lights but I'm finding that when shooting with smaller HDV cameras, the Dedo's are not giving me enough light output and I'm having to shoot wide open a lot of the time when shooting interior setups.

My only concern is that I notice there appears to be NO protection of the bulb and I'd be terrified in case a bulb exploded and injured someone.

Does anyone have any thoughts?

Many thanks

Scott Brown

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#2 Chris Pritzlaff

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Posted 07 February 2008 - 05:53 PM

For what it sounds like you are doing the light is a great deal - the lamp is suspended in a ring with arms that hold the softbox - its not a very durable light and would probably not withstand heavy use on a film set, but for a portable interview kit it works quite nicely. Ive used them a couple of times and have never had a problem with the globes. Once the light is set the bulb is sealed inside the softbox if that is what your concern was. The only risk I could see is someone being to hasty to wrap the light after the shoot and breaking the exposed bulb once you open up the back of the softbox
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#3 Scott Brown

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Posted 07 February 2008 - 09:14 PM

Hi Chris

If the bulbs do explode during use, do you think the softbox would contain the glass? My worst nightmare would be to have molten glass flying over an interviewee!

I'm quite surprised that Lowell have not come up with some kind of protective mesh to cover the bulb area.

In terms of durability, I'm always very careful with my own bought and paid for kit so I'm not too concerned about this area.

Thanks for your feedback on this, it's appreciated.

Scott
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#4 Chris Pritzlaff

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Posted 07 February 2008 - 10:11 PM

As I personally have never had that happen to me, I couldn't say for sure. The bulb sits relatively far back inside the softbox, so I would be more concerned about someone behind the fixture than in front of it, but again this has never happened to me, nor have I heard it happen to anyone I work with while using this particular light.

I don't think it would be impossible to build a mesh cage around the lamp if you are concerned about that. Probably something could be made fairly easily to work in those lights
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#5 timHealy

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Posted 07 February 2008 - 10:24 PM

Rifa lights work well. They are fairly fast and light weight. Mo Flam (I Am Legend, Cold Mountain, English Patient) uses them a lot. Another gaffer I work with uses something like it called Half Domes. They come in few sizes. I am not sure who makes them off the top of my head.

Best

Tim
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#6 Kiarash Sadigh

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Posted 07 February 2008 - 10:50 PM

I bought a Riffa 66 about a year ago and have to say I quite like it...it's a great light for interview set ups and one-man-band type of shootings...but they are a bit finicky...the rods can break very easliy and the brass hold-rings on four corners of the diffusion material will come off sooner than you think...but it's the fastest soft light set up out there and should work for a long time if its handled with care...
About the bulb...I remember reading on this forum a while ago that someone's Riffa bulb did actually exploded and there was a big embarasment....since I read that I always put my diffusion material on, turn the lamp away, flick it on and then start tweaking....
Try to get the egg crate with it, it's a bit expensive but worths the price... also, I always add a pieace of grid cloth on top of the existing diffusion material to soften it up even more....
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#7 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 07 February 2008 - 11:12 PM

I use Rifas all the time. In fact, they've almost completely replaced KinoFlo's for me. I carry at least three Rifa 88's on every shoot and often a couple of 66's as well. They do blow bulbs easily if you move them when they're on, but other than that they're fantastic lights.

As a personal revelation - the longer I do this, the more I discover that the old, beat up classic lights are the best. For instance, I started using old school Mole Zip lights a couple of years ago, and now I absolutely love them. Such nice quality to them and so simple. And they come in a huge variety of sizes and power. Yet, whenever I speak to other DP's, almost no one brings them out. It's as if a light design that's been around for years is somehow inferior. Same goes for covered wagons - I mean, does it get much simpler than that?

I do Dino's and Wendy's more and more on exteriors as well, often half correcting them only. One of my gaffers has made a bridge so that he can fit a 2K tungsten bulb into a 12K or 20K head - it's great to get the size of that big fresnel, but not the wattage.

I'm a tungsten man these days. Had enough of bulky, noisy, magenta, expensive HMI's. Sometimes you have to, but surprisingly rare. Next project now that Panavision has bought Lee and AFM is to go to the old warehouse and dig out some really old junky lights from the back room... I'm salivating at the thought!
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#8 Scott Brown

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 02:44 PM

Hi Guys

Many thanks for your posts and thoughts on the Rifa lights.

I'm thinking of going for the Rifa 66 as a key light and sticking with the Dedo lights for fill etc. The Rifa 88 looks a bit on the large side?

As for the egg crate, what would you recommend for a key light, 30, 40 or 50 degrees?

I'm planning on a trip to NAB in April so will probably buy the Rifa in the US...with the current exchange rates, US prices are amazing for us here in the UK! The Rifas work out at nearly 50% of what we'd pay for them here....

Looks like I should be able to possibly cover the lamp holder with a fine wire mesh that will act as a safety net if the bulb was to ever explode!

Best wishes

Scott
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#9 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 04:51 PM

I've never worked with Rifa's, but Lowell was at this year's Macworld so I hung out there for a few minutes. I dig them and I like how the front diffusion overlaps the softbox when it's velcroed on.

Quite nice, a little pricey for me though. I'm always an advocate for Photoflex lights which come a little cheaper and are quite durable. Look for them when you go to NAB, they're usually there.

Edited by Jonathan Bowerbank, 08 February 2008 - 04:52 PM.

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#10 David Auner aac

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 11:05 AM

I'm thinking of going for the Rifa 66 as a key light and sticking with the Dedo lights for fill etc. The Rifa 88 looks a bit on the large side?


You might get two, one as key, a smaller one as fill. A naked dedo as fill for such a soft lights might be too hard (you'd get hard shadows from the fill, not something that I'd usually go far). But then you'd loose quite some light. I have used my 150W Dedo DLH4 with the small 30x30 softbox that Dedo sells. That worked out really nice, but don't expect much output tough...

Cheers, Dave
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#11 JD Hartman

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 12:29 PM

As a personal revelation - the longer I do this, the more I discover that the old, beat up classic lights are the best. For instance, I started using old school Mole Zip lights a couple of years ago, and now I absolutely love them. Such nice quality to them and so simple. And they come in a huge variety of sizes and power. Yet, whenever I speak to other DP's, almost no one brings them out. It's as if a light design that's been around for years is somehow inferior. Same goes for covered wagons - I mean, does it get much simpler than that?


I completely agree with you on the Mole zips. Nothing wrong with re-building an older fixture and repainting the reflector surface with Mole paint. Why drag around a fabric soft box and have to assemble it and the speed ring onto a fixture? The Mole zip is up on a stand and doing it's job instantly. I've met DP's that had been in the business "forever", who were overjoyed when they learned that I had a couple of zips. One of their favorite tools.
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#12 timHealy

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 10:36 PM

I use Rifas all the time. In fact, they've almost completely replaced KinoFlo's for me. I carry at least three Rifa 88's on every shoot and often a couple of 66's as well. They do blow bulbs easily if you move them when they're on, but other than that they're fantastic lights.

As a personal revelation - the longer I do this, the more I discover that the old, beat up classic lights are the best. For instance, I started using old school Mole Zip lights a couple of years ago, and now I absolutely love them. Such nice quality to them and so simple. And they come in a huge variety of sizes and power. Yet, whenever I speak to other DP's, almost no one brings them out. It's as if a light design that's been around for years is somehow inferior. Same goes for covered wagons - I mean, does it get much simpler than that?

I do Dino's and Wendy's more and more on exteriors as well, often half correcting them only. One of my gaffers has made a bridge so that he can fit a 2K tungsten bulb into a 12K or 20K head - it's great to get the size of that big fresnel, but not the wattage.

I'm a tungsten man these days. Had enough of bulky, noisy, magenta, expensive HMI's. Sometimes you have to, but surprisingly rare. Next project now that Panavision has bought Lee and AFM is to go to the old warehouse and dig out some really old junky lights from the back room... I'm salivating at the thought!


I had the opportunity to work with Geoff Erb on a TV show in 1995 and all he used on day exteriors was mini and maxi brutes with full CTB diffusion and he basically worked with the sun and used tungsten for fill. It was the only time I have worked that way and in agreeing with your sentiments, I loved it!. It was a pleasure not to deal with HMI's and their assorted issues.

Best

Tim
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#13 Jeff Tanner

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 11:32 PM

Rifa lights are fantastic. But just like every other lighting instrument ever invented, it has it's place. The Rifa will not be a revolutionary lighting tool for you but they are excellent for producing a quick, soft, tungsten light. My favorite feature is the ability to change out the lamp socket for different types of bulbs (standard two pin FEL lamps, or medium base, or candelabra, plus others). I've been very happy with ours.

Respectfully,

Jeff Tanner
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#14 Bob Hayes

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 10:39 AM

The Rifa?s unique design offers a rigid soft source at minimal weight. Only the relatively fragile and difficult China ball comes close. I own a Rifa and use it on light weight menace arms.
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#15 Matt Irwin

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 02:51 PM

Anyone using the Rifa EX system with Lowel's daylight compact flo bulbs? I'm thinking about an 88EX and wondering how the color rendering is with those bulbs. The photometrics on Lowel's site put that fixture with the 3-bulb flo adapter in between the output of a Kino 2'x4 and 4'x4. Once you diffuse a 4'x4, they would probably be about equal, no?

This seems like it would be a great small-travelling, soft, tungsten/daylight system.
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