Back in 1987, Lowel created one of the first patented location fluorescent systems. It was called the Light Array and is still in use today. The system was designed to use conventional 4-foot fluorescent lamps to reinforce ambient light when shooting in a conventional fluorescent environment, such as an office or store. Back then, the only other choice was to put that ugly green gel on a tungsten light and white balance the camera to it, which was never flattering to any skin tone you might be shooting. Lamp technology has evolved however, and there are now tungsten and daylight color temperature lamps with high CRI (color rendition index) available for the original Array.
Today, Lowel makes a variety of tungsten halogen and fluorescent lighting systems. Sometimes one is a better choice than the other. Sometimes a combination of the two is the way to go. For example, many tungsten studio fluorescents often combine with focusable tungsten-halogen fixtures (as key and accents) in 24-hour cable news rooms.
When you need softness in the studio, fluorescent is the way to go. Our dimmable studio fluorescent system has state-of-the-art control using either the DMX console or our revolutionary hand-held IR DMX Controller, which allows DMX dimming and 10-scene programming for up to 64 fixtures from a battery operated unit the size of a deck of cards. This is ideal for smaller studios or lighting designers who like to walk around a set experimenting with different levels. Fixtures in the studio system hold from two to eight (55W) compact lamps, and have an LED panel on the back for monitoring the DMX address, dimming levels, and lamp life. They also have a variety of front accessories.
For fluorescents on location, Lowel's approach has been to apply the same guidelines we use for the rest of our equipment. This is to design it from the vantage point of the user's needs, making it easy to transport and use on location, while keeping it as versatile and durable as possible. We have several different fluorescent options for different needs:
* Caselite is a compact, self-contained system in two or four (T-55W) lamp models. The case literally is the light, with a detachable lid that can hold the stand, mounting plate and bracket, egg crate, and power cord. Reversible barndoor/intensifiers can almost double the output, while individual lamp switches can reduce it. It gets a lot of use with ENG/EFP crews.
* LowelScandles has eight (22W) lamps arranged in a cluster like the barrel of a gun. It creates something closer to a point source than conventional fluorescent panels, allowing a slightly sharper output. In addition to having lamps switched in pairs, output is controlled by attachable front reflector accessories or the installed rotating speed ring that will accept conventional softboxes & Chinese Lanterns. It's proving very popular in digital studio photography and on location at feature film sets.
We are committed to integrating fluorescents into our award-winning line of tungsten lighting systems. As with other parts of this industry, the future will be about convergence and the ability to find the right combination of tools for the job at hand.
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