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Arri Fresnel vs. Lowel DP


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#1 Jamie MacLeod

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Posted 22 September 2014 - 07:42 AM

Hi,

 

I am looking to get some advice about what would be some good lights to look at getting.  There aren't any places near to me that I could rent from, and I have found some websites where I could buy some used kit.  I had been looking at trying to find some Arri Junior lights (300w-650w).  But I have come across someone selling a Lowel DP 1000w and Lowel Omni 500w for a decent price.  So I am basically wondering if there will be much of a difference between these two systems.

 

I know the Arri is a fresnel and the Lowel an open face so there will be differences, but would it be worth the extra money?

 

Thanks in advanced for the advice!

 

 

Jamie


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#2 PL Charron

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Posted 22 September 2014 - 09:53 AM

With the DPs, you definitely won't get the control you would have with fresnels.

 

So is it worth the extra bucks, not having to use as many flags and cutters - in my opinion, yes.

 

But don't limit yourself to Arri's in the used market - you could check for Mole-Richardson, Desisti or LTM fresnels.


Edited by PL Charron, 22 September 2014 - 09:54 AM.

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#3 Lance Soltys

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Posted 22 September 2014 - 10:24 AM

I have both and I do find the DP's can be handy if your bouncing it off something.  It's a nice light for bouncing off the ceiling to bring up overall light level.  The fresnel are more versatile though.  Good tip about looking at other manufacturers.  Moles are built like tanks and you can pick them up pretty cheap.


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#4 David Landau

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 10:22 PM

Lowel makes a great light - the Rifa. The Pro lights are okay for docs and interviews, they are small and light weight. The Lowel DP lights are very hot lights that bleed light everywhere. As mentioned above, they're good for bouncing into ceilings or white cards but they are in no way a match for an arri fresnel. These are two very different brushes in the painting with light palette. What do you want the lights for? What type of work will you be doing? Essentially, the fresnel is the prefered unit as it has a longer throw and a more controlable beam. The arri lights are also much more durable than the lowel lights.

 

If you are going to be shooting anything dramatic, including commercials, the arri fresnels are far superior units. If you are doing run and gun documentary or news, perhaps the lowels will suit you fine.  I can say that professionally - i.e. in the unionized world of Tv shows, commericals and feature films, you will never find Lowel DP units being used.  Rifa lights, yes. But I have shot for years with Lowel lights in the 80s shooting for Exxon video and other corp videos. So it all depends on what you want to do and what you need to do, lighting wise.


Edited by David Landau, 26 September 2014 - 10:23 PM.

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#5 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 27 September 2014 - 05:29 PM

I have three ARRI fresnels and they definitely worth the extra money.  I started with Lowels in college, then I purchased my own ARRI's and I saw a world of difference.  Besides being fresnels, they have a very nice beam and with the proper lighting control accessories, you can do a lot with them.  They also last.


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#6 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 27 September 2014 - 07:03 PM

Open face lights are getting a beating on this thread,  but aren't they just raw tools,  designed to be commonly bounced,  diffused,  flagged?  Also,  aren't we ignoring the various environments that will give context,  affect the way that various lights might be usefull.


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#7 Aharon Rothschild

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Posted 28 September 2014 - 09:42 PM

Truth is you can use any light including work lights, given enough time and energy to then diffuse and shape the light.
Fresnels are great because they allow you to throw or project light from a distance, ie. across the room or through a doorway. This is less important for interviews and much more important for narrative work. A Fresnel is shapeable and scrimable and throws a single shadow and looks good on skin. Its the product of many years of filmmaking and has been used in all the new technology advances from HMI to LED to Plasma.
So:)
I'd start with two 1k fresnels (the "As Arri" Chinese lights are not terrible) and two 1k dimmers and some dif and CTB and black foam-core for flags.
You can light anything with anything, its all just light:)))))
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#8 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 28 September 2014 - 11:45 PM

Truth is you can use any light .....given enough time and energy to then diffuse and shape the light.
........(fresnels are) the product of many years of filmmaking....

 

 

If Jamie is new then maybe spending that time and energy is useful.  Old Italian redheads would be a good start.

Fresnels have been around for a long time.  I have some MR 650s were made in the 40's I think


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#9 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 29 September 2014 - 11:03 AM

I'd start with two 1k fresnels (the "As Arri" Chinese lights are not terrible)

 

If you're going to buy ARRIs...buy ARRIs.  Granted, I've never used the knock-offs myself, but I've heard very bad reviews of them, including some safety issues.

 

But it's not like buying storebrand ibuprofen and Motrin, where the only difference is a nice logo on the side.  There is an actual difference in quality here.


Edited by Bill DiPietra, 29 September 2014 - 11:04 AM.

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#10 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 29 September 2014 - 11:32 AM

If Jamie is new then maybe spending that time and energy is useful.

 

Agreed!  Open-faced lights - specifically the Lowel DP light - is what I started with and I really couldn't figure out why I didn't like them until I started messing around with other types of light sources. The beveled texture of the DP light's reflector always seemed to create too harsh a beam for me.  Not sure if something like the Arrilite produces a similar effect since I never worked with any other brand of open-faced lights.  But ARRIs in general seem to have a nicer glow.


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#11 Aharon Rothschild

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Posted 29 September 2014 - 12:08 PM


If you're going to buy ARRIs...buy ARRIs.  Granted, I've never used the knock-offs myself, but I've heard very bad reviews of them, including some safety issues
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#12 Jamie MacLeod

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Posted 30 September 2014 - 05:03 AM

Thanks everyone for all the replies.. They have been very helpful!

 

A friend of mine actually revealed that he had a couple of Arri 650s and let me have a play with them, and wow can I tell the difference between those and the open face lights I have used in the past.  I am going to borrow his for some stuff for a bit and see how I get on.

 

Thanks again for the info!


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#13 JB Earl

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 11:02 AM

I love my fresnels, but the open face lights get used just as often through 4x4 diff, and bounce.  Get at least the DP in addition to the fresnels.


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#14 David Schuurman

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 02:34 PM

If you're on a budget, and depending on what type of lighting you do the Lowel DP is a really great light with a tremendous amount of value. I have an arri 1k and 3 lowel DP 1k's, I've used the arri once in 4 months. the lowels I use constantly. Why? Because they're light, they pack up neatly (I have the dp4 kit minus one). and I almost always use them behind either 2x2 or 4x4 diffusion, so it really makes no difference. they're light, they don't need a heavy light stand or c stand to put them up high like my arri does. Best part is they're  $200 vs $700, so you can buy 3 for the price of 1 arri. I would certainly get lowels as my first lights, not as much control sure, but I feel like I could do a lot more with 3 lowel dp's than one arri.


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#15 Dino Giammattei

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 04:23 AM

If I use open faced Lowell fixtures at all, I prefer Totas over Omni's. This is mostly due to the fact that I can go from 200-250 watts to 500, to 1000 watts in the same fixture. I can also fit a bunch of them in a small case. You may also find that using open faced fixtures with gels to be problematic as the lack of glass tends to let the heat destroy whatever shmootz you put in front of them in short order.


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#16 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 04:36 AM

If we talk about the relative value of fresnels vs open face lights for learning then I don't think it should be constrained to just Lowel's.  Whatever open face tungsten lights have been used in the local film/TV industry will filter down to be available in the used market.  New people wanting to collect a few lights should explore that. 


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