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Old December 25th, 2010, 04:52 PM   #1
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JieTu...ARRI knockoff...good?

Anyone have a set of these? http://cgi.ebay.com/JieTu-3-650W-Fre...item1c181d91f2

I'm looking to get a light kit. Right now I have a 5 point flurorescent kit, but I need to get some controllable tungstens. Is it bad to have all fresnels? I'm sure I'll have to add to this kit, but would it be a good place to start?
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Old December 26th, 2010, 02:58 AM   #2
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Patrick.


Those lights appear similar to if not the same source build as other lights discussed here :-

Cheap Fresnels


and also here :-

Steven Studio 650 watt fresnel lights.


Please note. I am not promoting these particular items but have posted some unauthorised handling notes to hopefully assist members here because no documentation accompanies these lights.

Last edited by Bob Hart; December 26th, 2010 at 03:22 AM. Reason: added text
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Old December 26th, 2010, 03:08 AM   #3
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It's up to you and your conscience (and your videography).

If you would buy a pirate DVD or CD, or wear a fake Rolex, then these are the lights for you.

Bear in mind though that, for not much more, you could get proper Ianiro Solaris kits or top condition secondhand Arris.

If you're an amateur enthusiast, then it's a cheap way of using kit similar to professional stuff. If you're a professional, it's a way of having your peers look down on you with pity.
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Old December 26th, 2010, 03:20 AM   #4
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"If you're an amateur enthusiast, then it's a cheap way of using kit similar to professional stuff. If you're a professional, it's a way of having your peers look down on you with pity."

Look down then upon the pitious creature called "ol' Bob" then.

Collectively here a while back we got into a bit of a philosophical about the cheap emulations of ARRI lights etc., and speculated whether the cheaper lights were generating their own market because of affordability.

Would research suggest that the marketplace of the genuine products was being seriously hurt and original buyers of the cheaper lights maybe then moving on to ARRI etc.. when they could afford the quality and robustness of the genuine article?
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Old December 26th, 2010, 08:08 AM   #5
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Calm down Bob, it's only an opinion.

I don't know a single colleague who would go on a paying job with a fake Arri. Maybe it's different in Oz, I don't know because I've never worked there but, certainly on the "London Circuit", turning up on location with a fake Arri would be like going to a party with a fake Rolex. Okay for a laugh but not good practice for a jobbing cameraman.

I read the other thread, how the fakes have issues with the casting , the focussing and the electrics, all of which have to be addressed before they can be used professionally. If you can deal with that on a job, fine. I can't. If you can accept that the barn doors fall of after a couple of weeks, fine. Or that they have to be tightened with a screwdriver every time you move them, fine. I can't be doing with that.
If you use all the equipment by yourself, you know that you mustn't adjust a particular unit because it blows the bulb but if you're working with others, you can't take that risk. If your insurance will cover you when it goes wrong and damages or injures someone, fine. However, if you get a visit on location by a Health and Safety rep, be prepared to rapidly hire some proper kit or pack up and go home. If you get zapped by an inspector and it hasn't got the "CE" mark... you could end up with a fine.

It's up to you and your conscience Bob, I'm not telling you not to do anything or to act like I do. Just pointing out that a fake is a fake. But I tell you now, if you turn up for a paid broadcast job in the UK and took out some home-made kit, the colleagues would treat you with more respect than if you bought out a fake Arri.
As you pointed out, they would look down on you with pity, sorry.

In my opinion, for enthusiasts, semi-pros and beginners, it's an excellent way to learn and a great way for video clubs and amateur groups to get a lighting kit on the cheap. As a professional however, which is what the OP is aiming at, in the long term, you spend more than you save. A second hand Arri, Ianiro or Desisti will last much longer than a Chinese fake, be safer, and hold its resale value.

Pirate DVDs, copied CDs, cracked software, fake Rolexes, fake Arris. All the same.

It's up to each individual how they ease their conscience but it's bad practice for a full-time professional to use fake equipment.
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Old December 26th, 2010, 08:30 AM   #6
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I think we need to get out of the habit of assuming that because something is less expensive and manufactured in China it is inferior. In my (much) younger days this was how Japanese goods were considered and yet it was a Japanese company that pretty much got most of us to where we are today in this business.

The build and design quality of Chinese goods is improving and very quickly. No denying there's still a lot of rubbish being manufactured there but both the government and the local demand for quality is driving the sub standard manufacturers out of business. We've already handed them the know how to build better products. Because many of the plants are greenfield they can leap frog the rest of the world.

The other factor not to be overlooked is the Chinese know how to do business. Pretty much if it's made in China I can buy it on eBay and without some middleman markup. Their customer service is generally exemplary. My emails get answered, they're open to doing deals on volume purchases and they never seem to be closed.
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Old December 26th, 2010, 08:37 AM   #7
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You don't sell Chinese products by any chance do you?
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Old December 26th, 2010, 09:42 AM   #8
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Comparing pirated dvd's to knockoff lights isn't fair. A pirated DVD is illegal. It is stolen material...a direct copy of the source. It's not like this light company is stealing ARRI lights and putting their logo on them. They just studied the design and tried to replicate it. That'd be like watching a movie and then writing a similar storyline. Happens all the time.

As far as peers looking down on you...I'm pretty much a one man crew. I rarely run into peers, and clients generally don't know what ARRI is. Granted, showing up with a homemade plywood track dolly would look bad, but these lights at least look like the real deal. I'm not in any way defending this company, I just want to know if anyone has any experience with them. I don't mind paying more for quality, but if there's no difference then I'd rather spend less.
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Old December 26th, 2010, 11:01 AM   #9
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I'm of the opinion that the end result is all that matters. As mentioned, my clients don't know (and shouldn't be expected to) what the different styles and brands of lights are.
I do take apart any Chinese lights I acquire to make sure the wiring looks good and that the proper fuses are in place. If you know what to look for, it's just good practice.

To state that peers "look down at you" is just ridiculous. That's like saying if I put my cheap knockoff Strat in a really good guitar players hands it would bring him down and he wouldn't be as well repected. Since I've done that, it just doesnt work that way! Even the tone and nuances translate!

Put any light source in the hands of a skilled operator and it can look great. May not be as easy but that's the trade off. Who gives a crap what others think of the tools used to get results that keep clients happy and coming back!

I do 2-3 shoots a week and bunches of green screen work with cheap lights and guess what, never had a complaint, or a problem with the lights for that matter.

And for the record, I wear a Casio watch, wear Faded Glory $9 jeans, drive a 5 year old SUV and made my own teleprompter for $300 including all hardware, monitor, and run it from a 5 year old MacBook!
Maybe that's why I turn a good profit every year!
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Old December 26th, 2010, 11:47 AM   #10
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For someone with cheap taste in clothing, you have some nice camera equipment lol. I feel ya on the music thing. I'm a lifelong multi-instrumentalist musician. I'm not a big gear junkie. I have good gear. It's not the best, but it doesn't matter. I make it work for me. My friend is more of a hobbyist, but has really expensive stuff. Right now he's taking theory lessons from me. He keeps buying things and switching things and modding things looking for this elusive perfect tone, but it's really up to the player.

btw, I see you're in Mesa. My electric guitar amp is a Mesa Boogie Lonestar 2x12 =)
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Old December 26th, 2010, 12:13 PM   #11
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Yes...yes I do have some nice camera gear! Ha ha! And guess what, i didn't finance a single piece!
I'm still a gear hound at heart but there's stuff that's important to how I get a quality picture and stuff that can be a couple notches down.
I have 3 local companies that hire me specifically for the cameras and I go to their studios and use their lighting.
Only one of them uses "pro-level" lights yet I get the same results out of all three.
I don't claim to be a great cameraman or lighting guy but I'm making money so I must be doing something right.

On the music front as an analogy, I used to be a professional trumpet player and the best trick I used to show students who complained about their cheap horns was to pick theirs up (not even change the mouthpiece...eeeeewwwwwww!) and rip a bunch of insane riffs and some slower melodic stuff to show there wasn't a problem with the instrument. I'd even let them use my horn which was nice but nothing special to illustrate further. Good motivation to practice more! (learned that trick from one of my teachers who did it to me when I was learning on a hand-me-down trumpet while all my friends had the brand new ones!)

Love Mesa Boogie but cant seem to part with my old 15 watt all-tube Ampeg!
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Old December 26th, 2010, 01:46 PM   #12
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I play trumpet, too. Roy Lawler custom. Nothing special. I saw Arturo a few months ago for the 3rd time. Stunning.
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Old December 26th, 2010, 02:17 PM   #13
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The music analogy is an apropos one but as musicians (as I am also) I think you will also appreciate that once one has had enough experience and has grown into one's craft, the deficiencies in one's instrument become much more apparent and frustrating, to the point where an upgrade becomes mandatory if one is to be able to continue to grow. While the nuances of a fine musical instrument are more specific than one lighting instrument to the next, you know when a tool is right for you and when it is a source of frustration. When a component doesn't fit quite right and needs coaxing, when screws keep coming loose or adjustment knobs stick or heads sag in their yokes--all of these things can become major irritants over time. At first one is pleased enough to have saved the money and all is fine. But down the line you may end up using better gear and becoming aware of the difference, and that will always be in the back of your head as you return to the compromised gear. Over time that little sense can grow in your head and become more and more of a frustration. You never want your gear to restrict you, to slow you down, to divert your energy away from the creative process.

It should be noted that occasionally a 3rd party manufacturer will come along and create a new variation on an established product that is actually preferable in some ways (and may even be cheaper to boot). That may seem like a win-win, and if it is personally owned gear, it probably will be. However it can create other issues down the road if you begin to work with other crew people with your gear, if it is not industry standard. Case in point: years ago I was considering buying a Diva light and I was exposed to a little-known unit called the Gyoury that used similar tubes but was designed as a highly configurable system where the tubes could be used not just in a double housing like the Diva, but placed into a single housing, used bare, mounted into a China ball, mounted to a visor and so on; plus the ballast could be remoted, making the dimmer knob accessible, and the tubes were quick changable from 3200 to 5600. Great units and I got a lot of use out of them.

However, every job I took them on I had to run my electrics through a quick tutorial, not the least of which was how to pack everything back into the case, which took a certain amount of time and energy. And now that I am about to sell them (as I'm investing more into LED's), my resale will surely be lower than the equivalent Diva as they don't have the brand recognition.

In my opinion one is better off buying used Arri's from a reputable source than unknown brand copycat units--Arri's are workhorses and built to last and you may own them long after your current camera is considered obsolete (and maybe a few cameras to come). It is true that tungsten units are finally being challenged by newer technologies--it seems likely that even Arri will move to LED versions of their workhorses at some point--but you can still get years of service out of these heads regardless of what the state-of-the-art represents.
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Old December 26th, 2010, 02:39 PM   #14
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Great points Charles.
I've also sold musical instruments and would never recommend a beginner get the cheapest they could find. Better to find a mid-level that plays great. That way the interest level stays high as the instrument won't hold them back. I think that's the point we are trying to make here. The kit in question isn't cheap from a monetary standard but also doesn't look like a Home Depot light.

As things seem to be shifting from tungsten to fluorescent and LED in the small production market, I think my money will be better spent on some decent fixtures in those styles. I know it's a good idea to have a blend of all the styles of lights in my arsenal and since my tungstens aren't broken (after several years) I just don't see the reason to upgrade.
One of my big priorities is reduction of heat and power consumption during shoots. Here in Phoenix I think everyone in the video biz would love to do the same. And I have seen Arri's led fresnels but as expected, they're not cheap!
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Old December 26th, 2010, 06:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
...Arri's are workhorses and built to last ...
That right there is why the China-produced lights are less expensive. The Arri's will travel better and hold up much longer than the less expensive copies. You can still do great work with the copies, but you definitely need to be more careful with them.

Personally, I'd have no problem buying cheap lights if that's what I needed and all I could afford. Of course, I'd prefer to replace them with more durable units as soon as I could.

As far as clients go: as long as you don't show up with yellow "hardware store" work lights, they're impressed. As much as we hate to admit it, appearances go a long way.
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