$1,650

Lowel-Light Manufacturing, Inc.

140 58th St.

Brooklyn, NY 11220

(800) 334-3426

www.lowel.com

Long known as a company serving the film and TV

industry and professional broadcasters, Lowel proves it

has the right stuff for the consumer and prosumer alike.

Designed with the digital video shooter in mind, the Lowel

DV Creator 44 tungsten four-light kit delivers all the

needs the home-based or small video business requires in

one complete affordable package.

In reviewing the Lowel DV Creator 44 kit, we

had the opportunity to test it with a real world

application during a commercial shoot for a local hair

salon. As expected, the salon was crowded, cramped and had

varied lighting from overhead fluorescents, bright tiny

spots and natural outdoor spill from huge uncovered

windows and was chock-full of mirrors. Lots of them.

Everywhere. A photographer's nightmare. During a previous

shoot at this same location, we used a cheaper no-name,

less solid light kit, and the comparisons were remarkable.

Earlier, we forgot extension cords, and the struggle to

find available nearby outlets with the no-name's very

short light cords was a real pain. Worse still, the heads

and attachments to the no-name kit were flimsy and didn't

hold their position very well, dipping to the floor in the

most inopportune moments. Not so with the Lowel DV Creator

44 light kit.

Case Study
The Lowel DV Creator 44 kit comes with four tungsten

lights: a 300W Rifa-light plus soft box, a 750W

Tota-light, a 500W Omni-light, and a 250W Pro-light. The

kit also includes a gel kit, lobo-arms and flashes, a

Tota-brella, barn doors, four interchangeable stands and a

hardshell case.

Once fully packed, the carrying case is a heavy

one, and when we had to tote it up four flights of stairs,

the case seemed to get heavier on that last flight. The

case has both handle and a nice strong padded shoulder

strap, which helped navigate that last flight of stairs

tremendously.

Look into the Light
All of the lights except the 250W Pro-Light have on/off

switches attached to their cords. All of the cords were

more than 16 feet long and when fully extended, the stands

can reach a height of 7-1/2 to 8-1/2 feet. Add nearly

three feet of attached lamp cord, and you have room to

roam.

The Pro-Light 250 switch is on the lamp itself,

so the user needs to set the light stand where she wants

it and turn it on before extending the light-head out of

reach. The lamp is focusable, and removing or adding the

barn doors was quite easy. By using the Pro-Light

spotlight at its smallest beam, we were able to highlight

a very small background subject with ease. The small lamp

doesn't have a handle to fine-tune the light's position,

but touching just the right spot on the back of the light

found it wasn't too hot to handle. The other three lights

in the kit all had good solid handles to grab a hot light

with confidence.

Omni: Solid as a Rock
The focusable 500W Omni-Light is surely the workhorse in

this kit. This is the one you use and abuse the most. The

Lowel Omni-Light is solid, easy to assemble, and the

barn-doors attach on and off in a snap. Attaching and

engaging the Tota-brella umbrella is easy and it firmly

holds its placement, unlike the no-name kit whose umbrella

usually ended up pointed at the floor more than anywhere

else. For run-and-gun shooters, it's easy to replace the

bulb in a flash, losing very little time in the process.

Totally Tota

The 750W Tota-light was a bit difficult to operate, and

was our least favorite of the kit. The tota-brella space

was small and awkward, and attaching the protective screen

wasn't very intuitive. Frayed edges of the screen can poke

an unaware user and if you blow a bulb, you may struggle

to get the screen back on. With a 750-watt bulb, you'll

want to keep it covered. The Tota has a switch on the

cord, and this is a big plus because this light gets hot!

Unlike the Omni, the Tota-light doesn't have a grip

handle, but it does have a large knob for positioning the

lamp. The Tota-light is a powerful light and can

effortlessly light up even the darkest background.

The 300W Rifa-Light and soft box was clearly

the most fun light to play with. If the user could take

only one light to a shoot, this would be the one. The soft

box diffuser cover was easy to attach, either with the

light fully open or not. The Rifa-light opens and

collapses with no trouble at all, and packs tight in its

own cloth sack.

The kit comes with two sizes of polyester gels

for the Omni- and Pro-lights. Along with the blue gels to

match the tungsten light with daylight, and gray, called

frost, to soften and diffuse highlights or shadows, there

are also a few translucent mat/diffusion sheets. The gel

holders attach effortlessly to the lamp barndoors and have

easy-to-operate clips to attach the gels. Finally, the kit

has a couple strong, flexible lobo-arms and a large metal

flag to further extend the reach so you can precisely

control the light spill even more.

Large Hands Make Busy Work

One odd problem I discovered in the kit was when

loosening a thumbscrew on the small Pro-light. I'm

left-handed, and I always loosen when I mean to tighten a

screw. So while attaching the lamp to a light stand, I

twisted the light's thumbscrew open too far, and the screw

fell off, and the enclosed nut fell out of the lamp head

casing. The opening was so small, that I had a heck of a

time trying to get the nut back inside to re-tighten the

thumbscrew. Luckily, I had my handy-dandy makeup kit with

a couple photographer's dream tools: bobby-pins and

tweezers. I lost nearly half an hour of shoot time trying

to fix the lamp. I noticed that the Tota-light has this

same design, but the nuts and bolts of the Omni and Rifa

lights are within easy reach.

Conclusion

C-clamps would be a very nice addition to this kit, and

would round it out to the point where it would be hard to

imagine what else a typical videographer might need. But

this is being very nit-picky, since the Lowel DV Creator

44 tungsten four-light kit is a very full-featured kit. As

a former run-and-gun news photographer, I wish I had this

kit during many of the awkward lighting situations I came

across. The Lowel DV Creator 44 kit helped make our

commercial shoot at the salon a huge success, and every

bit as good as the Big Time Pros, and that's what really

counts.

TECH SPECS

Number of Lights in Kit 4

Watts per Light 750 Tota, 500 Omni, 250

Rifa, 250 Pro

Carrying Case Lowel GO-85 case

Accessory Mount no

Handles on Lamps yes

Spot/Flood Adjustable yes (Omni and Pro)

Barndoors yes

Scrims yes

Gels yes

Softbox yes

Umbrella Tota-brella

Maximum Tripod Height 8.5 feet

STRENGTHS

  • Solid handles on lamps
  • Barn doors snap off/on easily
  • Very high stands
  • Switches on cords
  • Long cords

    WEAKNESSES

  • Wobbly legs
  • Screen for tota-light not a smooth fit
  • Hard to replace nuts in the smaller
    thumbscrews

  • No C-clamps

    SUMMARY

    The Lowel DV Creator 44 Tungsten Four- Light Kit is

    rugged and dependable, and comes packed with all you would

    need in one light kit.

    Jennifer O'Rourke is Videomaker's Managing

    Editor.

  • LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here