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Old May 6th, 2009, 03:49 PM   #1
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Question about Tota Lights

I have two lowell total lights that I use for indoor lighting. They do a great job really light up the area well. The only problem is they get VERY hot very quickly (i think there 500 watts). I normally shut them off evry 20 minutes or so so that they can cool down. Does anyone know how long I can leave these lights on without causing a problem? Also, is there another type of light that were work just as well foe about the same cost, that dont get as hot?
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Old May 6th, 2009, 04:02 PM   #2
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All quartz lights get hot. I've left Totas on all day when shooting. I don't think they get any hotter than other lights of the same wattage. You want to let them cool down before wrapping up to prolong bulb life.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 11:53 AM   #3
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I have also left Tota lights on for long periods of time, incuding all day.

To me its most important they stay away from anything that can catch on fire.

Also, in closed spaces, I try to leave them on for only a few minutes... the temperature can rise quickly without realizing it.
(They make great "compact space heaters" in cold, unheated rooms.)

However, if the room is large enough, there is some airflow, and the general climate is not hot, leaving the lights on for extended periods is fine.

Like Bill says, they should be cooled down before bumping or moving. And they should always be run in a horizontal position, not a vertical position.

Last edited by Jack Walker; May 7th, 2009 at 03:05 PM.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 01:49 PM   #4
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Always keep the doors open while light is on! I had an assistant who thought the doors could act as barndoors to control the light spread. Big mistake, as the doors blackened from the intense heat and almost melted. The smoke almost set off the fire alarms.

c
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Old May 9th, 2009, 05:49 AM   #5
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Even in softboxes, they can stay on all day. They produce an incredible amount of heat. Your talent might want to wear sunscreen. :)
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Old May 9th, 2009, 11:50 AM   #6
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Being careful with all lights is important. All open face lights can catch flammable things on fire if put too close. A 500 watt lamp in a Tota light doesn't generate anymore heat than a 500 watt lamp in an Omni or DP or Arri open face light.

Most people use Totas with umbrellas for a nice broad spread. I mostly use mine for lighting a chroma key wall. Two 750 watt Totas can light a 15 foot wall perfectly evenly. I use black wrap on one side to keep spill off the talent.

As mentioned above, the little reflector doors have to be opened before you turn them on. You can also buy gel holder frames or barn doors for the Totas. I have the clip-on barn doors for mine, which I like better for hanging gels than the gel frames. Sometimes I'll use a Tota hung from a grid in a studio for backlight, and in those cases it usually has to be gelled. Barn doors, gels, umbrellas and blackwrap can turn a Tota into a useful light. On their own they're good for even back wall lighting, as in chroma key, or for sticking in a corner to bring the overall level up in a large space.
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Old May 9th, 2009, 02:04 PM   #7
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Tota is my default fixture of choice to use inside my Chimera lightboxes. Small, lightweight perfect.
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Old May 9th, 2009, 05:34 PM   #8
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Bill's point about using the Lowel barndoors to attach gels to is well taken. You have that much more distance from the heat.
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Old May 9th, 2009, 05:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Li View Post
Tota is my default fixture of choice to use inside my Chimera lightboxes. Small, lightweight perfect.
Small and lightweight, yes. However not easily scrimmable like an open face unit, which means netting the front of the bag (awkward and slow), dimming (color temp shift) or moving the unit closer or further away (also awkward and changes the size of the source).
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Old May 9th, 2009, 10:20 PM   #10
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Is scrimming the lighting instrument inside a soft box an issue of priority?

My favorite softbox, the Lowel Rifa, isn't setup for internal scrimming.

Another way to "dim" the light in a softbox that offers quite a bit of control is neutral density filter. It is easy carry; it can be clipped with on quickly with C47s; it is easily adjusted or doubled; it can be stripped on to provide a graded source or cool down an area a bit.

To me, for travel and lots of setups, softboxes that require a ring and a light and the soft box all put together are the biggest hassle. That's why i like the Rifa the lights... they are ready to go in a minute.

Totas are also great for travel. You can put a couple in a suitcase, with an umbrella and a couple of small clamps. Not a light kit for fancy setups, but very useful when you don't know what you will find and you want to bring in some light when you have none.
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Old May 10th, 2009, 02:08 AM   #11
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Priorities are different dependent on useage. Rifas are indeed fast to set up which is good for travel purposes. For narrative work, the priority is generally more oriented towards speed on set when things need to change rather than the initial setup.

I recently shot an interior scene at magic hour for a short film. It was actually a reshoot since we didn't get it during principal photography, so we came back with a skeleton crew to get the one shot. As the light went down outside the windows, the gaffer and myself had to hustle around and drop scrim in something like 6 different lights in between takes, and we did this twice as I recall. In that instance, it was much quicker to add the scrim than it would have been to tack on layers of ND on the softbox. In point of fact, that particular softbox had a Tota speedring but I opted to use an open face Arri 600 in it that day specifically because of the scrim factor.

Again, it all depends on what kind of project one is shooting.
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Old May 10th, 2009, 03:36 PM   #12
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Very true. There's no one set of lights good for everything. A student asked me once what are the best lights to buy. One of each, I said.
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Old May 13th, 2009, 01:51 PM   #13
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Given that the Tota-frame connects to the Tota light at the same point where one would connect an umbrella, is there any way to both use a gel and an umbrella with this light?
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Old May 13th, 2009, 03:38 PM   #14
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Be flexi-ble

Lowel makes something called Flexi-shafts, something like heavy sculptors' armature wire that bends easily, with special ends that fit into receptors on Lowel's Tota-clamps (light-weight C-clamps with a stud) and other gear. Clamp a Totaclamp onto your stand, use a Flexishaft to hold your gel frame, and the Tota to hold the umbrella.

I don't recall offhand if the gel frame has a fitting or not; it not, rigging may take some gaffer's tape and ingenuity, but doesn't it usually?
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Old July 5th, 2009, 01:40 PM   #15
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The bulb

Hello Forum,

I just recently received a Lowel Lighting Kit which includes the Tota.

How do you put the bulb in? The bulb is so much longer than the fixture it belongs in. And the springs are so strong that it seems nearly impossible to get that bulb in!

Please help,

Trey Vollmer
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