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Old July 12th, 2010, 03:52 PM   #1
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Have you used Jietu lights?

Hello, I was wondering if anyone have had some experience with Jietu's products. I was on ebay looking for some inexpensive lighting equipment and came across their fresnel lights which look exactly like the Arri fresnels, except the Jietu ones are for almost half the price.

According to the ebay page, they claim that unlike other small factories, they use imported lenses for their lights and they use higher quality paint to prevent smells (from the paint melting?). Their English site is a joke, product descriptions aren't written in and some links lead to nowhere. Their ebay page offers more info than their actual website!

I googled the company but couldn't find a lot of information on them, except this **page** which basically only talks about how their lights resemble the Arris and how cheap they are.

I searched DVi and found a thread in the private classifieds with someone selling a 600 watt Jietu fresnel and he said it was surprisingly good for an Arri copycat, but I would like to find out more about any other user experiences before I hand over my hard earned summer job money.
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Old July 12th, 2010, 10:09 PM   #2
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Kin:

Do you do this as a hobby or for a living?

If you are a hobbyist, perhaps you have enough spare time to mess around with off-brand, no-name products. If they break in the middle of a shoot, melt, short out or catch on fire, it becomes an inconvenience.

If you are a pro, why would you even consider risking your business on no-name products? I use some cheap products as a pro, but never in positions where if they failed, it would cause a shoot to fall apart in front of a client. I have a no-name gear tote. If it breaks, no biggie. But for lights, which are very important to your shoot and could cause an entire shoot to fail, why would you even consider risking it? If you need some inexpensive Arri type fresnels, at least step up to the Cool Lights knock off models or the Altmans. Or better yet, just buy some Arris, they are not that expensive and are an industry standard.

I have a lot of different lights about 40-50 of them, some are cheapo stuff like my little Ikea Leko. But if my little Ikea Leko breaks on a shoot, no big deal. My main lights are Arris, Moles, DeSistis and some Kinos though and none of them have ever done more than blow a bulb in fifteen years of usage.

My advice would be to spend a bit more and buy brand name or spend the same and buy used real lights. Buy a known commodity. I have never even heard of Jietu.

Dan
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Old July 13th, 2010, 12:05 AM   #3
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I know that buying knockoff brands isn't the smartest idea, that's why I posted here to see if anyone has used them before. I'm actually a student and I'm under a pretty tight budget. I tried making a cheap light kit with fluorescent bulbs and clamp lights, and PVC tubes as a stand, but it was hard to control the light and the output was pretty weak.

But anyways, it seems like a lot of people are using LEDs these days, so I'll check out the Altmans you suggested. Thanks for the reply Dan.
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Old July 13th, 2010, 11:10 AM   #4
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Kin, many of us have felt your pain. Dan's point is well taken but a little difficult for students/newbies to totally appreciate. As a pro, NOTHING shoulf go wrong on a shoot...and of course, things often do. Minimizing this by buying reliable gear, especially when, on an often 'generous' schedule;-), it's being whipped around from setup to setup, stands being tripped over, etc., the gear needs to endure sometimes rough handling.

All that said, there are alternatives. Used theater lights are often heavy, wil be PARs or Fresnels most likely, and you'll have to replace the c-clamp with a spud. CoolLights has decent gear at lower prices than say, ARRI. I got a couple of softboxes from e. ebay, and again, they were decently priced and built though not as well as ARRI's. I built 'eggcrates' for them using the cardboard boxes wine bottles come in, with the seperators, painted them black and cut them to fit, works like a charm.

There are websites that have DIY lighting instructions and tips as well. So there are many options, keep in learning and exploring. And as Dan pointed out, if you are going to go pro you need pro gear...but by then you'll have probably figured that ou for yourself.
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Old July 13th, 2010, 11:22 AM   #5
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Kin:

Not sure what your budget is and how many instruments you need or what you are trying to light. But you may find that some lightly used Lowel Omnis are are a good place to begin if you need cheap tungsten horsepower.

I would also advise you to read this, it will teach you a LOT of good information about building a real working kit that will be useful to you for years to come... Light Kit

Walter Graff wrote a classic article with this, I have used his advice on this kit for years, even though my kit is different, the ideas presented here are gold.

Dan
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Old July 13th, 2010, 11:40 PM   #6
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Thanks for your insight Eric, I guess I'll continue my search on ebay for used lights. Good tip on the eggcrates too, I'll keep that in mind for the future. Yea, I just took a cinematography class last year and I was lucky enough to get hands on experience with a lot of different kinds of lights. I'll definitely keep experimenting until I find something that works for my needs.

Dan, my budget is at a modest $600 (including accessories such as stands, stingers, sandbags, diffusion, gels, etc) and I'm trying to build a basic three light setup. I'll be mainly using it for narrative films, lighting mostly people. Thanks for that link too, I'm always interested in reading a good article or two about lighting!

Appreciate all the help fellas.
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Old July 14th, 2010, 02:36 AM   #7
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I've got three rather expensive 250W frensels with me to be repaired. Two of them have literaly gone boom with smoke and flames. Price is no indication of how likely that is to happen, in fact a lot of the cheap made in China stuff seems less likely to do that than the expensive kit unfortunately. For some obscure reason a lot of the top shelf manufactures use 3 core flex that just isn't flexible, the copper conductors fracture and eventually fireworks are almost inevitable. The one unit that hasn't gone boom just plain doesn't work because the active conductor has literaly snapped right though inside the cable. There's no external damage to the cable at all.

Certainly the mechanical quality of the Chinese stuff can leave a lot to be desired. I've had their barn doors fall apart due to rivets failing but that's easily fixed. If you're on a budget and are handy with tools they're not as bad an option as some would think. I'd replace the lamps with brand name ones. The Chinese lamps often fail because they skimp on the filament suspension. Some also seem to skip on the internal fuse which can cause quite spectacular failure of the lamp.

Aside from any of that tungsten lights are a pain. They use a lot of power and generate a lot of heat. That in itself stresses the simple electrical components more than other more complex lighting systems. Move a tungsten light whithout waiting for the filament to cool and you're likely to be up for a new lamp. Lighting systems other than tungsten are more expensive upfront but are easier to live with. If you're only lighting small spaces LEDs are a good choice as they're rugged and many have the option of running off batteries if needed.
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Old July 14th, 2010, 01:32 PM   #8
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Hello Bob, when you say the lights went 'boom,' do you mean the bulbs exploded? Did the glass fly out or anything like that? I know you're not suppose to touch the bulbs with your bare hands because of the oil on your skin will make them pop, but I was wondering exactly how dangerous there fixtures can be. Just in case if I do venture into the cheap no-name brands.
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Old July 16th, 2010, 04:05 AM   #9
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Kin,
what fails on a lot of the expensive instruments I've had to repair is the mains lead.
Quite often it's where the lead enters the light. The flexing of the lead at that point can cause the insulation or more commonly the conductors inside the lead to fail. Any light made by any company needs to be visually inspected as often as possible.
As I mentioned some of the made in China lamps are a bit dodgy. If you get some cheap instruments with no name lamps in them it might be a good idea to replace them with brand name ones. In general the quality of goods coming out of China is improving a lot. As you seem like quite a handy person, if you do buy some cheapies give them a good once over. Anything that's a safety issue replace with local parts, in particular mains leads, switches and plugs.
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Old July 16th, 2010, 04:28 AM   #10
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Gotcha, thanks for the heads up.
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