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Old March 16th, 2009, 10:19 AM   #1
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What softbox to use for lowel tota/omni

I am wondering what low-budget softbox would work well for both the omni and tota lights (assuming there is one that can do both). More specifically, I want to be able to fit gels inside the softbox for both. Any ideas?

Last edited by Natan Pakman; March 16th, 2009 at 11:31 AM. Reason: Typo and clarification
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Old March 16th, 2009, 11:56 AM   #2
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Photoflex makes a speedring. It's funny they call these things speed rings, because theres nothing speedy about putting together one :)
Here is a link Photoflex Products

and Chimera makes some as well Photography Lighting, Film Video Lighting, Portable Lights || CHIMERA Lighting

When you can, take a look at the Lowel Rifa light too. Now that's speed.
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Old March 16th, 2009, 12:27 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. Can most softboxes be attached to photoflex speedrings?

The speed ring, softbox, and omni or tota lights cost less than a rifa of equal power, so, despite the rifa's quick on-set assembly, is the quality of its light much higher than than a tota/omni with a softbox? I'm looking for a good quality soft light for lighting subjects for interviews.

If non-lowel lights in this price range work better for this, please let me know!
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Old March 16th, 2009, 12:36 PM   #4
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I'd just use the Photoflex brand softboxes with their speedrings. The spec tolerance is tight enough as it is. You would want to you another manufacturers poles when setting up a different tent right?

Bang for buck, you're better off getting the Omni, Tota, or DP and doing what you're doing. You'll get more output, and with the money saved, you can get an egg crate for even more directional soft light. I just wanted you to be aware that the Rifa light is fast and easy to set up. For some that is more crucial. Whenever I have to set-up the Photoflex, I cringe. I have their "Constellation" and it's a bear.
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Old March 16th, 2009, 02:35 PM   #5
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Excellent.

I have an additional question:

If I want to have a good key light that I can easily switch between 3200K Tungsten color and daylight, what are your suggestions?

My only ideas are getting either a fluorescent or a tungsten fixture where I can gel them or change the bulbs, but I'm trying to figure out what makes economic and practical sense.

Any info would be appreciated.
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Old March 16th, 2009, 03:02 PM   #6
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How big of a soft box could you go with an Tota?

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Old March 16th, 2009, 03:35 PM   #7
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Guy, I checked reviews of the Photoflex speed ring for the Lowel Tota and many people complain that the speed ring impinges on the power cord. Have you heard of this problem? What alternative speed ring would you recommend?
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Old March 16th, 2009, 04:05 PM   #8
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I have this setup. . .tota, photoflex speed ring, and chimera 2x3 box.

I don't find that the power cord is "impinged upon." The thing can be a little annoying to put together 'til you get the hang of it, but it works fine once you do.

The tota has to be screwed by it's spud mount onto a similarly shaped bold, and just sort of hangs there, with all the weight on one side of the speed ring. But hey, it's never fallen apart or killed anyone.

Chimera makes a speed ring for the same application. . .maybe that one's better? It's not cheaper.

I can post pics if you want.

By the way, if it takes you a long time to put one of these together, you're doing it wrong. These more unconventional setups, with totas and speed rings and chimeras, can be a little more annoying than the typical arri open face 1K and speed ring and chimera, but if you're doing it right, you should be able to pop one of these together in less than thirty seconds. It took me forever until this dude showed me "the way."
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Old March 16th, 2009, 04:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Bass View Post

By the way, if it takes you a long time to put one of these together, you're doing it wrong. These more unconventional setups, with totas and speed rings and chimeras, can be a little more annoying than the typical arri open face 1K and speed ring and chimera, but if you're doing it right, you should be able to pop one of these together in less than thirty seconds. It took me forever until this dude showed me "the way."
Josh, you should throw a video together and put it up on YouTube!
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Old March 16th, 2009, 04:25 PM   #10
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I suppose I could, but what if I just describe the process? or take a series of pictures?

When I first started, I used to try to put the softbox on while the light was already on a stand. WRONG! This makes the whole process very difficult.

Basically, with the speed on the light or off it (your preference, really), put the softbox face down on the floor, try to "expand" it as much as possible, so that the rods are sticking in the general direction of up, at least a little bit.

Now, bring your speed ring and light (or speed ring by itself) down near the box, and insert a rod. Any rod. Now, insert the rod diagonal from that. Do the other two the same way (order is irrelevant, but you want to move diagonally). BAM! Should be done. If you haven't put the ring on the light, do that next. With an arri 1K open face, if you leave the ring on the light all the time, it really is super fast. The tota setup can be more of a pain.

When you're taking a speed ring apart, I do it the same way I put it together. Here's the thing though: you kind of have to pull up (bend the very tense metal toward your body, if the box is on the floor) on the rods as you're attempting to pull them out, to counteract the. . .uh. . .torq? of them being pulled down against the metal of the speed ring. So kind of bend the rod toward you and wiggle a little bit as you're attempting to pull it out, and they should come out fairly easily. Diagonals, folks.
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Old March 16th, 2009, 06:56 PM   #11
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I've used what Josh describes on smaller Chimera boxes - I can't imagine doing it any other way.

Although the technique works, I still find this style of box irritating, love the Rifa! Of course Rifa is a dedicated light+box, and if you're sticking a box on a Tota you have other ways you can use the Tota without the soft box. But I'm almost always lighting people, and almost always wanting a softbox or two to get the job done, so Rifa seems to work fine for me.
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Old March 16th, 2009, 08:27 PM   #12
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Natan.. I understand your question and have enjoyed reading the excellent responses from others posted in reply, but have to wonder aloud that unless you already own the Tota or Omni's, and assuming you will be doing interview type headshots, have you considered a flo softbox? A change of a bulb can go from Tungsten to Daylight. No light loss or hassle with a CTB and all that as on a Lowel tungsten unit.

You can pick up a decent 500W equiv flo softbox with one bulb and a grid for what the photoflex box and speedring alone would run you. Photoflex gets $100 for the grid alone.... and it is a must have accessory to a softbox IMHO. The 2nd bulb for your flo softbox (to give you 3200K and 5500K) would run you about another $80.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 07:02 AM   #13
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Natan, I use Photoflex speed rings with both Photoflex softboxes and Chimera softboxes. Both are good solutions, though the Chimera strikes me as better constructed -- the diffusion material is recessed a bit, which helps with spill, and the flaps on the back close better around the light. The Photoflex looks to have better venting holes (the Chimera has none -- though I don't think you should infer heat overload problems.) I use the 24"x32" (small) size. I tend to gang them to get enough light on my subject.

If it's in your budget, considering a large flo softbox satisfied many of your needs - primarily the easy switch to different temperature light. If reducing the heat on your subject is a big deal, you'll find any flo vastly better than what you have.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 08:38 AM   #14
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Chris or Dana, could you provide a link for the flo softbox(es) you're talking about, since I'm having trouble finding them.

Changing bulbs seems more logical to me than than losing light to CTB gels, but I'm trying to think it through to make a wise purchase.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 09:40 AM   #15
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Never mind, I found them (the Rifa ex units). These are great, but they are pricier than Totas/Omnis with softboxes, and the versatility is lost. There's too much stuff to pick from.
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