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Old April 28th, 2007, 10:44 PM   #1
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Arri vs. Altman kit (the same?)

Any tips greatly appreciated... Here is what I am comparing:

Arri:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation

Altman:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation

I am having a tough time finding any differences except for the scrims and a $260 difference... I like the Arri kit primarily because of marketability of the name... Kind of like camera rigs that are overly exaggerated for no other real reason than the fact that they "look cool"... Is this the same? Anyone have any feedback on these kits? Experience with them? Pros? Cons? Much thanks.
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Old April 29th, 2007, 08:19 AM   #2
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I don't have any experience with Altman's video kits, but have worked with theatrical lighting for 40 some years. Generally speaking, Altman makes very serviceable stuff which gives good "bang for the buck." However the build quality and ergonomics are generally not as good as the more expensive gear. When it comes to stage lights, this can be seen in little things like controls which don't move smoothly and parts which break or wear out and optics which aren't quite as good.

I would expect this to be similar when comparing this kit to the Arri, which is widely respected because of their high quality. But since I don't have any personal experience with those small Altman lights I could be way off base here so let's see what others have to say.
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Old April 29th, 2007, 08:46 AM   #3
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Actually, with these small lights, I found the quality of the Altmans to be slightly better than the Arri's. Having used both side-by side, the Altmans stand abuse a bit better than the Arris, and also have slightly more output per watt. Arri makes some fantastic stuff, but I think in this range the Altmans represent a better deal. Just my opinion though - either way, you'll be getting great little lights.
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Old April 29th, 2007, 09:19 AM   #4
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I bought Altman lights and have never looked back.
Arri, has the name but shoot the same scene twice once with Arris lights once with Altmans lights, you will not see a difference.
The quility of the light is the same.

I did buy the Arri 150s as Altman does not have a 150.

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Old April 29th, 2007, 10:10 AM   #5
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My experience with Altmans was not great. The output of the light was not as smooth as the Arri's of the same wattage .From spot to flood the Arri was better focused. Maybe they have fixed this. I would try a side by side test of the instruments you are planning to buy
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Old April 29th, 2007, 10:48 AM   #6
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I hear very good things about the Altmans, played with them once, the video lights are numerous steps above their theatrical lights. Lots of good experiences with Arri.

I was about to buy an Altman kit once, and shied away because of the weight. Checked the two kits you're considering - Arri = <75Lbs, Altman = <100Lbs.

These are pretty important weight differences if you'll ever be flying with your kit. For me, I'm tired of schlepping 100Lb. freight unless it has 4 wheels and I'll always be pushing it on flat floors and in elevators. 100Lbs. up stairs? Ouch.
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Old April 29th, 2007, 11:38 AM   #7
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hmmm, never weighed mine, that extra weight may have been in the extra build quality of the Altmans. As far as light quality is concerned, they're all small fresnels - they are what they are - the lenses are small. I got the Arri 150 for a while too, but found it lacking, and traded it out for a couple of Dedos - far more expensive but more output than the 300 or 650's.
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Old April 29th, 2007, 09:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
I hear very good things about the Altmans, played with them once, the video lights are numerous steps above their theatrical lights. Lots of good experiences with Arri.

I was about to buy an Altman kit once, and shied away because of the weight. Checked the two kits you're considering - Arri = <75Lbs, Altman = <100Lbs.

These are pretty important weight differences if you'll ever be flying with your kit. For me, I'm tired of schlepping 100Lb. freight unless it has 4 wheels and I'll always be pushing it on flat floors and in elevators. 100Lbs. up stairs? Ouch.
That is definitely an issue is the weight... I fly a lot with Continental and they have a 70lb cap on "luggage".... I don't really care that much about lugging it around as much as just being able to have it... I may just go with the Arri kit...

Thanks much for all of the advice and insight guys... VERY appreciated...
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 05:47 PM   #9
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May or may not be important but I bought my first Arri kit more than a decade ago. I bought it used from a guy getting out of the business. He'd used it for 5 years before he sold it to me. He got most of his money back because he'd taken good care of it. So have I. If I put mine on eBay tomorrow, I'd likely get pretty close to what I paid for it (in current devalued dollars, of course)

The point is that top quality GRIP GEAR holds its value better than any other purchase you're likely to make. Try to find quality used cheap C-stands if you doubt me.

In a life cycle, it probably costs you about the currency devaluation involved and it potentially generates HUGE revenue since a few line-item billings for grip gear in the first few months generates a return that covers the depreciaion for YEARS.

Altman has a fine name. Arri has a pretty much unmatched one in professional lighting and an amaziing reputation for longevity. (witness that I can replace ANYTHING in my kit with a phone call more than 15 years after it was created and I can do that coast to coast in the US, in London, Paris, and likely in Bogata, Columbia given some patience.

So what's that worth?

Your call.
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Old May 8th, 2007, 09:52 AM   #10
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I went with the Arri kit... I did a "test shoot" and OH MY GOSH... Spectacular... I am still learning but just playing around I was able to achieve some amazing results... Reasonable weight and portability... Just if anyone was curious, I am very satisfied with the Arri kit...
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