View Full Version : 800w Redheads, cheap set
April 27th, 2012, 11:01 PM
I'm in the market for some lights (mainly for short films, interviews, etc). I found a set of 3x 800w redheads and stands for a REALLY good price ($440NZD, $360USD). My budget isn't huge and I thought they might be a good starting point..
The low price has me a bit suspicious... Can anyone give me some info on what I should be looking for? Is there any way to tell the quality of them? I haven't dealt with lights before so feel free to treat me as a newb :)
Trig Instruments New Zealand - Trilex 800W set of 3 Red head continuous lights with stands (http://www.triginstruments.co.nz/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=211&products_id=1570&osCsid=f5fbd6a0c892b79a37da85e0a34dd011)
Thanks for any info.
April 28th, 2012, 01:19 AM
these are cheap copies of the original redhead lights, made and imported from south east asia.
in my opinion there are not enough words in the english language to describe how badly built
they are made from poor quality parts and do not meet any electrical standards for australia
and should not be allowed in this country.
if you do decide to buy them i urge you to get them tested by a licensed electrician for your safety.
i could give you a page of things that are wrong with them.
having said all that the barn doors seem to work........
April 28th, 2012, 01:33 AM
Thanks very much for that info, you've made my decision easy :)
Could you or anyone else recommend me something decent? Is it possible to get a good quality set on a budget?
April 28th, 2012, 02:04 AM
i know it is difficult to build up a kit on a budget but it really is false economy
to buy the cheap knockoffs.
try to find name brands second hand. i know thats easier said than done....... but they do
i have a set of original ianiro red heads that are over 20 years old and they are still working perfectly.
check out Fluorescent HMI and LED Video Studio and Location Lighting - Cool Lights USA (http://www.coollights.biz) richard has a great range of lighting, not cheap but affordable
i have several of his flouros and leds and am very happy with them.
April 29th, 2012, 05:15 AM
Thanks for the advice, much appreciated.
April 29th, 2012, 11:40 PM
Hi, I've worked with strand century (ianiro) kits for loooooong time and nothing but respect. They were the standard issue kit for ABC net news for many years. In other words, they work as advertised and are field tough... I'm not talking about the cheap knockoffs flooding the market, now.
Send me a pm, I may be able to help out..
Paul R Johnson
April 30th, 2012, 02:33 AM
always worth looking on ebay now - as people are moving to LED. Here in the UK, the best redheads I've ever had are Ianiro (with nice fibreglass heads), and the Photon Beard ones. Compared to these, the chinese types are not so good - but hugely cheaper. Pay close attention, as mentioned above, to electrical safety. The ones I bought had no earth conductor - ok for our friends in the US, but not on in the UK for units with metal external parts.
If your use is casual - the chinese ones could be worth a look, but if it's regular use, then proper ones are a must!
April 30th, 2012, 03:34 AM
Agreed, the Chinese redheads are a good start.
When you get'em check all the screws are tightened and buy some local Osram globes, the Chinese ones that come with them are plain yellow rubbish.
Also the supplied stands might need some beefing up, but they're a good start.
Check around, prices vary for the same product.
April 30th, 2012, 04:29 AM
I agree with Allan. The cheap chinese kit i bought off fleabay is pretty basic but dirt cheap. The included bulbs all blew within the first two days but when i replaced them with good quality osram globes they are all still running. The switches are the dodgiest bits and I had to pull a couple apart and tighten up the connections inside asnthey were unreliable and would turn the light off when you moved the cord.
I have used ianiro redheads in the past both hired and at jobs and they are simply the best, but they very expensive if you're an indy and trying to put together a kit. I have an ianiro gulliver i've flogged mercilessly for 10 years and i haven't even had to replace the bulb. I love it and wouldn't part with it but it cost as much as three of the full chinese kits.
April 30th, 2012, 06:43 PM
Jody, when you do buy the 2 Chinese Redheads, also get 2 Osram globes locally, and only fit one.
Then set up both Redheads side by side and check the light difference between the 2 globes on a wall in a dark room.
You'll immediately see the difference and it'll make you feel like you're making good progress right off the bat :)
Also buy a pair of leather gloves, those Redheads get extremely hot and will burn you. You'll smell burning paint while the housings 'burn' themselves in.
After you finish a shoot, the very first thing to do is shut the lights off to let 'em cool.
From my student days, when you set any lights up, have a fire blanket and suitable extinguisher closeby and make everyone on set aware of the possible dangers. When we have a short break, we leave the lights on, sometimes turning lights back on will blow the globes, it's called thermal shock.
If you're shooting in someones house check their house power and if possible, spread your power load across their multiple AC phases.
Use power blocks fitted with circuit breakers. But have spare house fuses available and the phone number of the fire dept.
Watch out if they are any fire sprinklers installed, that can really make your day.
That's the job of the location manager who should arrange all this in advance. Hey! that's you, have fun :)
May 1st, 2012, 03:57 AM
your last post puts up a great argument for not buying these cheap knockoffs.
my problems with them include:
power cable is not rated to 10 amp
no earth termination to the lamp head
switch is not rated to 10 amp
poor quality pressed tin design
yoke attachment to stand is metal....if the head goes live it will travel down the stand
spot/flood did not work
knobs are fragile and break easily
ceramics that hold the globe start turning back to sand after continual use
paint on housing starts turning black after continual use
screws work themselves loose after continual use
bluntly they are crap and not even worth the $100 they are selling for
May 1st, 2012, 05:43 AM
Ian, I hear what you're saying and fully agree, but for anyone getting started, those Redheads are a start without breaking the bank,
completely disillusioning anyone and hopefully not setting fire to their place.
A lot of newcomers to the video world won't progress past those, some will .. but who knows.
Jody, based on what Ian says, here's another suggestion .. get a local electrician to check 'em out for safe operation.
Cost wise you should still be ahead of most pro Redheads and when you outgrow those Chinese beauties you can post some help for others too :)
May 1st, 2012, 11:33 AM
It might be worth enquiring with the New Zealand vendor if he will confirm if the lights have had a pre-delivery check by a qualified electrician to see if they comply with NZ power standards and are earthed and will he put that in writing?
If he is simply importing them and turning them loose, you are likely no worse off importing direct from a Chinese vendor and having an electrician check them and if necessary changing the wiring to include an earth connection.
You may find the thumbscrews on the stands need a bit of babying. Tarzans or Green Hulks seem to abound in volunteer crews. If the thumbscrews are overtightened, the columns may be ruined or threads stripped.
May 1st, 2012, 05:06 PM
it is always a compromise between affordability and quality and i understand that all to well.
i think it is important that people have all the information upfront so they can make an informed
what worries me most about these lights is the complete disregard for electrical safety.
electricity is not your friend....it is your worst enemy and needs to be treated as such.
mechanically they can be fixed with a little work, but when you have a problem on
the electrical side its all over.
i would urge anybody who has these lights to have them looked at by a licensed sparky.
i specialise in repairing and overhauling the original ianiro redheads and those things
were designed 40 years ago so well they have only had minor design changes since then
and still work great. in fact all the spare parts are still available.
May 2nd, 2012, 12:29 AM
Yes, the only main weakness on the Ianiro Redheads is that stirrup isn't mounted at the light's CG when barndoors etc are fitted, so it tends to tilt forward over time. Perhaps even more of an issue when using a Chimera.
May 2nd, 2012, 02:20 AM
yes that is a problem but i guess they were invented before chimeras.
new fibre washers on the tightening side will probably help.
i have also put tightening knobs on both sides on some lights, that stops the thing drooping.
Paul R Johnson
May 2nd, 2012, 03:52 AM
I buy quite a lot of Chinese kit and here in the UK, everyone is well informed on electrical safety - so testing kit is often available. Some items fail the test just by looking at it. Seeing rubber cable with 2 core in big letters does make you think - but swapping it out and doing the metal part bonding isn't that hard if you know what you're doing - and then the tester has no problem generating a pass. Over the years I've had some of the Arri style fresnels that had the same problem, but my latest batch of these all passed the test and had decent internal wiring. For somebody who doesn't intend them to have heavy use, is it good business sense to pay for kit of Ianiro quality - as lifespan may be unimportant? A chinese kit that may be scrapped in a year or two could be very sensible in terms of value for money - as long as you know the potential hazards.
May 3rd, 2012, 03:32 PM
I used Ianiro Redheads years ago and loved them. I have also used a set of the Chinese knockoffs that belonged to someone else. They were not badly built and had been in use for over a year with no problems. I thought the housings got hotter than the real Redheads, but other than that they were OK. The wiring was heavy duty, grounded plugs. There are different versions, so it might depend on who you buy from whether you get a decent set.
May 3rd, 2012, 08:58 PM
IA chinese kit that may be scrapped in a year or two could be very sensible in terms of value for money - as long as you know the potential hazards.
Scrap your lights in a year or two? I really disagree with that advice. Cameras come and go pretty fast these days, but lights, grip equipment, audio gear, tripods, etc. should last a decade or two. Lights should not be viewed as expendables. I have lights I use regularly that are more than 15 years old and still going strong. I have mics that are over 20 years old, and my tripod/head which cost $8500 14 years ago is still serving me well.
If you're in this business for the long haul. plan for the future and not just your immediate needs. Buy quality and you'll look more professional, enjoy your job more, save money in the long run, and won't burn down somebody's house when the lights short out and catch fire. It's just not worth it to go cheap. Not once in my entire 30+ year career have I regretted buying the best I could afford, but I've regretted several times going cheap.
Paul R Johnson
May 4th, 2012, 04:12 AM
You didn't see the reasoning. I have some kit in almost daily use that was made in 1965. No issue whatsoever with that, but equally, I have bought items for specific purposes that maybe get used just a few times, and then become obsolete. If I know this is going to happen, it is foolhardy to invest in long lifespan, high ticket price kit. My accountant would agree. With technical equipment getting cleverer all the time, it's better to hire in items for one offs - but with Chinese cheap kit, it is possible to use a purchase model that makes it the best choice - no issues at all. I have a dozen LED par cans sitting in the store - that this year, based on what I have on paper, will be in use for maybe 30 days. Last year they did 40 days. They cost me £25ish each, and hire charges would have made hire uneconomic. To buy quality ones, where perhaps all 12 would work - I'm actually down to 10 that are 100%, would have cost me nearly 8 times the amount, and would not yet be paid for. My cheap stuff is paid for, and now costs me nothing - in fact, saving me money.
Everyday items I consider to be worth buying as branded quality products. Occasional use kit should be hired in or bought cheap, as each situation arises. Maybe my particular area is a bit different - many of my lx items are for effects, essentially eye candy - but nowadays the 'buy quality' business model is not the only viable one.
If I scrap equipment after two years that is paid for, it works for me, because I can keep up as technology progresses. If you buy quality, and take a few years to recover the expenditure you cannot then keep up. Like it or not, but grip kit is also moving forward. I've no problem with using very old supports because they are heavy metal and well engineered, but the things I stick on them are moving on.
As we start to consider LED kit, then lifespan is going to be tiny, compared with our old stuff. Time to move onwards, I feel.
May 4th, 2012, 04:36 AM
Paul, I understand your reasoning, I'm just saying I still don't agree with it. I don't know why you think your LED lights are going to be worthless in a couple of years. I've invested in some very nice Litepanels instruments that I expect to give me solid ROI for the next 10 years or more. The lifespan is NOT tiny compare to old stuff. It doesn't matter what technology is just around the corner or what happens with pricing, those lights are rock solid good workhorses that will be serving me well for many many years. Nothing I buy is expendable no matter how cheap, except for gaffer tape and black wrap.
BTW, I don't see anything in your earlier posts that says you are talking about specialty lights that might only get used only a handful of times. As far as we know, you're talking about lights you use every day.
If your way works for you, that is great, but I just thought I'd throw out an alternative way of running a business just so people don't think that's the only way of doing it. In fact, I don't know anyone else who buys lights and expects to only use them for a couple of years. Two different ways of running a business.
May 4th, 2012, 05:55 AM
great discussion guys
i have no problem with buying lower cost gear, my argument would be that
the gear is reliable, built to some sort of standard and more importantly safe to use.
i think the market the knockoffs are targeted to are driven by price not quality.
as a professional when i pull a light out of the truck it has to work, i dont need everybody
standing around ready to shoot while i tighten up screws and muck around with
the light trying to figure out why it is not working.