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Old May 27th, 2012, 10:26 PM   #1
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how good are lowel lights?

I am contemplating investing in some lowel lights, what are the general consensus of this brand?
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Old May 27th, 2012, 10:45 PM   #2
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Re: how good are lowel lights?

Lowel are considered a very good brand.

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Old May 27th, 2012, 10:47 PM   #3
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Re: how good are lowel lights?

do you own any of them or use them before Allan?
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Old May 27th, 2012, 11:06 PM   #4
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Re: how good are lowel lights?

No but I know outfits that do. Try a search here and you'll find positive posts from users.

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Old May 28th, 2012, 12:00 PM   #5
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Re: how good are lowel lights?

Of their line,Lowel's best is the RIFA line of softboxes. Quick set up and really nice
light too. Beware the stands, though light and strong enough for the job, they
need to be treated well. I've had several collars on them crack (cast Alum.)
when others handled them or knocked them over (light stands may need sand bags).

I intend to buy more for use in our video studio soon.
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Old May 28th, 2012, 04:37 PM   #6
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Re: how good are lowel lights?

I have about $400 right now to spend on light (need to find a new job) so I can basically buy 2 lowel light, what would you guys recommend?
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Old May 28th, 2012, 05:33 PM   #7
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Re: how good are lowel lights?

What kind of stuff are you wanting to do? Interviews or ?
Reason being, $400 won't buy even one small RIFA kit.

There are probably alternatives to recommend (used) if you can let us know.
Really don't want to recommend the wrong tools for the job.

HTH.
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Old May 28th, 2012, 06:18 PM   #8
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Re: how good are lowel lights?

music video, like this
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Old May 28th, 2012, 06:55 PM   #9
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Re: how good are lowel lights?

Use eBay to save you some money on good gear. The Lowel stuff is good and well liked. It will last you. It looks like you need a softbox. There's two models of the Rifas. The original and the EX. You can save some money on the original. The EX just enables you to use interchangeable sockets to switch from tungsten to Flo. Your money will go further on Lowel stuff on eBay. Quality matters in a softbox. Assembly and disassembly takes it's toll.... rips... holes... One softbox and a Lowel Pro for a hair light might be enough to get you going. Add another Rifa or Pro for fill later... use a reflector for now

Last edited by Les Wilson; May 28th, 2012 at 08:58 PM.
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Old May 28th, 2012, 07:43 PM   #10
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Re: how good are lowel lights?

Looks to me like you need a at least one, if not two soft lights and a fresnel or two.

Other questions:
how much power output? 200W - 2K?
The type of camera and its light requirements need to be considered.
Choices made in power output effect the kind of cable, stands and vehicle you'll need
and heat generated.

Lanterns can be a cost effect source of soft light. They do, however, output it
in all directions, so having the ability to skirt the instrument is good.

Chimera makes nice lanterns
Chimera 30" Lantern Light Bank w/Skirt #1885 845077018851 | eBay

Or possibly a used Mole like this:
1k Mole Richardson Super Softlites type 2551 Tungsten Studio Light | eBay

Egg-Crate attachments and barn doors that are accessories to the Mole design can help shape and keep the diffused light directional.

Lowel might be a good choice for an inexpensive back/hard/jaw light, but I prefer something like the Mole Inky or Betweenie. Both available used on Ebay.
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Old May 28th, 2012, 07:54 PM   #11
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Re: how good are lowel lights?

My two cents: I would recommend that you buy some books or videos on lighting before purchasing gear. At $40-80, it would be your best investment and a good way to avoid spending money on equipment you might not need.
There are many DIY solutions to creating soft light, some as simple as shower curtains, photo umbrellas, and bedsheets. Therefore, you might want to maximize your spending dollars on a quality hard light fixture (fresnel) that can serve multiple purposes.

Can you rent the gear for your first few shoots? $400 goes a long way towards top-quality light gear rental. You'll also be able to figure out what works and doesn't work based on your style and skill.
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Old May 29th, 2012, 10:45 AM   #12
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Re: how good are lowel lights?

I would second Oren's advise about renting gear first. If you're going to continue to shoot and it's not just a one time event, lights are something that you will keep with you for a long time. You'll want to learn what works best for you and what types of lighting instruments you'll need to get the look you like.

I started out with a small kit of Lowell lights. They are a pretty good deal for the amount they cost and are of higher quality than a lot of the cheap Chinese made knock offs. But, they do run hot and are not as controllable as say a Fresnel. But they are a lot more affordable. A lot will depend on what type of projects you shoot.

From the look of the video they uses a few Fresnels, diffused one behind the band member with the stripped shirt, and used the practicals (the lights you see in the shot) to provide some shadows and fill. You would have a hard time controlling the spill from open faced lights such as the Lowell's to achieve the look of that video. You could do it but you'd have to have some black wrap and a lot of flags to achieve it. At least that is my read on it.

$400 for lighting equipment is not a lot of money. If you do only spend that much you won't really get much or you'll be buying very cheaply made lights. Don't forget you'll also be investing in things like stands, gels, extension cords, dimmers, so it will add up fast but those are the pieces of equipment that will help you really shape the light to achieve the look you want.

In addition to books there are some very good basic lighting tutorials on the web.
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Old May 29th, 2012, 11:15 AM   #13
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Re: how good are lowel lights?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oren Arieli View Post
There are many DIY solutions to creating soft light, some as simple as shower curtains, ...and bedsheets....
With all respect to Oren and legions of DIYers, please avoid use of flammable materials for diffusion. Yes, they work. But, sometimes, they contact a hot light and go up in flames. All sorts of unpleasant consequences can follow.

Spend $20 at your favorite grip and lighting source and purchase some Rosco Tough Spun, designed for the job. Your sawbuck will get you about 3 sheets 20x24", that can be clipped, stiched, or taped together. Better still is if the retailer will cut some off a wide roll.
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Old May 29th, 2012, 12:14 PM   #14
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Re: how good are lowel lights?

Agreed Seth. I forgot to make that very important message regarding hot lights and flammable materials. There is no excuse for a burning set other than carelessness and/or stupidity. Even fluorescent lights generate heat that needs to be accounted for.
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Old May 29th, 2012, 10:43 PM   #15
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Re: how good are lowel lights?

seems like many people does start with lowel but then upgrade to Arri later on. I'm thinking of biting the bullets and just buy a 650 arri fresnel for starter because I don't want to upgrade in the future. Can you please tell me why you upgraded to Arri?
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