Lowel Lighting’s Pro Power LED Kit

Tiffen and Lowel have taken the next step in light emitting diode (LED) technology by creating a kit with three focusable daylight or tungsten fixtures and accessories that maximize the benefits of LEDs in an easily transportable package.
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The Lowel Pro Power LED lighting kit in use Tiffen and Lowel have taken the next step in light emitting diode technology by creating a kit with three focusable daylight or tungsten fixtures and accessories that maximize the benefits of LEDs in an easily transportable package. With just this Pro Power LED Kit, you can easily three-point illuminate almost any scene.

FEATURES
The Lowel kit is packaged in a TO-84Z wheeled case and includes three Pro Power LED instruments. (In my review kit, the lights were daylight balanced at 5000 degrees K, but tungsten fixtures are also available.)

The Lowel Pro Power LED units are focusable from a flooded 43-degrees to a spotted 10-degrees. In addition, each light may be dimmed throughout the range without changing color temperature.

The lights are equipped with the accessories you’d expect from Lowel, including three: two-way barndoors, AC plugs and eight-foot Uni-To stands. There’s also a 27-inch silver Tota-brella, along with LED gel frames and the G5-79 gel set cut to a smaller size to better fit the LED fixturess. Another addition to the package is a softbox for diffusing the LED’s hard light and this softbox sets up as easily as its larger brothers. The lights themselves feature a two-year warranty and the stands come with a five-year manufacturer’s warranty.

These Fresnel fixtures have an 8:1 focus range and an output comparable to that of a 150 Watt tungsten lamp without the heat, power consumption, or short life span associated with tungstens.

This kit contains just about everything you need and maneuvering the 40-pound case is made easier with wheels.

IN USE
I purchased my first Lowel light kit back in 1988 and it contained two Lowel Totas and two Omnis. That heavy package has traveled with me ever since and I still use it, but was eager to see what they had done with LEDs.

In my opinion, the only real problems with LED fixtures are their initial expense and the light “throw.” from the instruments. However, once you get past the cost of the light, you won’t be dealing with any lamp or reflector replacement for a very long time, if ever, and there’s no excessively long cool-down periods as with older tungsten fixtures. You’re looking at a kit that will require almost no maintenance during the next 10 years or longer.

LEDs are great “close-up” lights in that they give off no perceptible heat, consume little power and can be placed very close to talent without causing discomfort. The drawback is that if you try to use most LEDs at a distance greater than 10 feet, you have very little light output left. The falloff is just that great.

Lowel’s specifications for these fixtures operated as a 10-degree spot (full spot) is 553 footcandles at five feet. That’s pretty bright.

Not wanting to blind my talent, I did my own falloff test with the fixtures at full flood, which amounts to 43-degrees of spread. I normally would light subjects with LEDs using more of a flood setting than spot—not because of any heat issues (there really isn’t any), but due to the uncomfortable brightness that such spotting creates. The only other factor in my falloff test was that the fixture was set at 100 percent output (no dimming).

Obviously at full flood, the output was not as great. At a distance of three feet, I measured it at 320 footcandles. Doubling the distance to six feet, the output dropped to 80. At 10 feet, output was reduced down to just 20 footcandles.

Falloff is still an issue with these LED instruments, but this can be used to advantage. This entire LED kit could function as my interview lighting package, allowing the talent to feel more comfortable than with hot tungsten lights. In lighting a dramatic scene for a film shoot, these Pro Power LEDs could be placed anywhere on location without worry.

In one of my tests, the ability to focus and dim these fixtures allowed me to place a light between books on a shelf without worrying about any excessive heat causing problems. (I would not even think of trying to do this with my older tungsten units.)

Everything seems to be moving towards daylight lighting, as most shooting environments seem to have windows, and mixing color temperatures is still an issue. Daylight LEDs can be placed throughout the location to create your own key, fill, and backlighting in such situations.

The only real negative factor I experienced with the Pro Power LED fixtures was their cooling fan noise. When the camera was working in close proximity to the fixtures, I could hear the fan buzzing. (This was reminiscent of my first film shoot done in the 1970s, but back then it was aleways the camera that was made too much noise and interfered with the sound.)

I did find that if your microphone is placed more than about three feet from the lighting units then the noise is no longer really an issue with the Pro Power LEDs.

I used the Lowel kit for several location shoots and enjoyed having access to the included gels, softbox, and umbrella for further controlling light output. When shooting was completed, I could pack everything in the case and be on my way. It’s really nice to know that you can now pack up your lights without waiting until they’ve cooled sufficiently.

Lowel lighting has come a long way since I acquired my first kit. Maybe it’s time to finally retire it; I know my talent and crew really prefer the new LEDs.

SUMMARY
This is a versatile LED lighting kit that can easily travel just about anywhere and due to the nature of these LED light emitters, it’s going to last a very long time without much, if any, routine maintenance. Also, the fixtures require minimal set-up time and due to the miniscule amount of heat genetrated there’s virtually no cooling-off period required. LED technology is here to stay!

Chuck Gloman is an associate professor and chair of the TV/film department at DeSales University. He may be contacted at chuck.gloman@desales.edu.

FAST FACTS

APPLICATION
Anywhere portable illumination is required
KEY FEATURES
AC/DC powered, tungsten or daylight balanced, low power consumption, long lamp life, small footprint
PRICE
$3,200 MSRP
CONTACT
The Tiffen Company
800 645 2522
www.lowel.tiffen.com