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Old April 28th, 2012, 12:01 AM   #1
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800w Redheads, cheap set

Hey guys,

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 :)

Link:
Trig Instruments New Zealand - Trilex 800W set of 3 Red head continuous lights with stands

Thanks for any info.
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Old April 28th, 2012, 02:19 AM   #2
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Re: 800w Redheads, cheap set

hi jody,

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
these are.

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........

cheers
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Old April 28th, 2012, 02:33 AM   #3
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Re: 800w Redheads, cheap set

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?

Thanks again.
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Old April 28th, 2012, 03:04 AM   #4
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Re: 800w Redheads, cheap set

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
come up.

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 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.

cheers
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Old April 29th, 2012, 06:15 AM   #5
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Re: 800w Redheads, cheap set

Thanks for the advice, much appreciated.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 12:40 AM   #6
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Re: 800w Redheads, cheap set

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..

Best,

John
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Old April 30th, 2012, 03:33 AM   #7
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Re: 800w Redheads, cheap set

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!
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Old April 30th, 2012, 04:34 AM   #8
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Re: 800w Redheads, cheap set

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.

Cheers.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 05:29 AM   #9
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Re: 800w Redheads, cheap set

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.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 07:43 PM   #10
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Re: 800w Redheads, cheap set

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 :)

Cheers.
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Old May 1st, 2012, 04:57 AM   #11
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Re: 800w Redheads, cheap set

hi allen

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

cheers
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Old May 1st, 2012, 06:43 AM   #12
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Re: 800w Redheads, cheap set

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 :)

Cheers.
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Old May 1st, 2012, 12:33 PM   #13
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Re: 800w Redheads, cheap set

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.

Last edited by Bob Hart; May 1st, 2012 at 12:35 PM. Reason: error
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Old May 1st, 2012, 06:06 PM   #14
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Re: 800w Redheads, cheap set

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
decision.
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.

cheers
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Old May 2nd, 2012, 01:29 AM   #15
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Re: 800w Redheads, cheap set

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.
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