Thread: CAME-TV Chinese 1200 Watt HMI - Video Review

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  1. #1 CAME-TV Chinese 1200 Watt HMI - Video Review 
    Hello, everyone!

    Anyone who's really wanted to get into using some bright lights but hasn't wanted to pay upwards of $7,000 for an Arri HMI has probably looked at all those tantalizing knockoff HMIs on Ebay. I picked up this light about a month ago now. There were virtually no reviews online so it was a scary process, but turned out to be well worth it. I've documented my full experience and reviewed the quality of this light for anyone who's interested in getting some cheap HMI lighting or just is new to HMI lighting in general.



    I also have to give Dennis Hingsberg a shoutout. He originally recommended me to photolight and has also been very happy with their 575 watt HMI, so that's two people happy with them!

    If you're interested, check it out and let me know what you think or if you have any questions! Also, it's been pointed out to me that I kind of goofed on the power calculations. I'm still learning that bit :)

    - Tommy
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  2. #2  
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    Hi Tommy. Thanks for taking the plunge. I was wondering when someone would get around to doing a full review. What I am really interested in is how it holds up over time. Please check in and keep us updated from time to time.
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  3. #3  
    Thanks, Josh! Will do. By the way, I see you're in Michigan. I'm in the Jackson area myself, cool to see a fellow Michigander on here! Must be nice living so close to Lowing Light and Grip! If I lived there I'd just rent the Arri HMIs.
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  4. #4  
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    Nice review Tommy, thanks.
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  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by Les Hillis View Post
    Nice review Tommy, thanks.
    Thanks, Les! Glad you enjoyed it :)
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  6. #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy Kraft View Post
    Hello, everyone!
    .... it's been pointed out to me that I kind of goofed on the power calculations. I'm still learning that bit :)
    What’s the problem with your math – it seems correct to me. What’s suspect is the reading of the Kill-a-Watt meter it is based upon. It takes a true RMS Clamp meter that costs hundreds of dollars to read HMIs accurately, so I doubt a $25 Kill-a-Watt meter will give accurate Amp readings. I suspect that the power factor is much worse than indicated – probably closer to .65.

    Unfortunately, in this world you generally get what you pay for. I have read on other forums that users of these lights have had difficulty operating them on portable generators where they had no problem on wall power. That’s because the harmonic currents drawn by non-pfc ballasts interact with the high impedance of portable generators to create voltage waveform distortion that can cause the HMIs to cut out. I have also heard that these ballasts will trip GFCIs - but that is true of most HMIs and Kinos. Film style GFCIs, like Shock Stops, that filter the noise generated by electronic ballasts are required for reliable ground fault protection with these lights.

    Paul Dean
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  7. #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Dean View Post
    What’s the problem with your math – it seems correct to me. What’s suspect is the reading of the Kill-a-Watt meter it is based upon. It takes a true RMS Clamp meter that costs hundreds of dollars to read HMIs accurately, so I doubt a $25 Kill-a-Watt meter will give accurate Amp readings. I suspect that the power factor is much worse than indicated – probably closer to .65.

    Unfortunately, in this world you generally get what you pay for. I have read on other forums that users of these lights have had difficulty operating them on portable generators where they had no problem on wall power. That’s because the harmonic currents drawn by non-pfc ballasts interact with the high impedance of portable generators to create voltage waveform distortion that can cause the HMIs to cut out. I have also heard that these ballasts will trip GFCIs - but that is true of most HMIs and Kinos. Film style GFCIs, like Shock Stops, that filter the noise generated by electronic ballasts are required for reliable ground fault protection with these lights.

    Paul Dean
    Well, apparently taking voltage*amperage gives you the voltamps and not the actual wattage. To be fair, my Kill-A-Watt reads 1040 watts on the HMI at 12.5ish amps. So something isn't adding up. I don't know, I've heard conflicting things from various people, including on whether or not the kill-a-watt is a decent device. It's worked for me previously and seems that it'd be decent enough to give you fairly accurate numbers on other more predictable appliances.

    I have plugged the light into a few GFCI outlets with no issue so far. Mainly the outlets on the outside of my house. I do expect though, like you said, to have issues running this off a genny (but haven't tried it). If I really needed generator-powered HMI, I'd either bite the bullet and do the 6 hour drive (3 hours 2 ways, 2 trips) to rent an Arri or pickup the more expensive Chinese model that is power factor corrected.

    There are certainly situations where this cheaper HMI won't work, of course that's true. But there's a ton of situations where I'm sure glad I'll have it when I need it.
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  8. #8  
    Senior Member Gene Sung's Avatar
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    Sorta similar topic, but a little off.

    I believe I've read that (correct me if I'm wrong) quality HMIs like the Arri M18 can run without a Ballast and just plug into the wall, but have the option of using a Ballast as well.

    What exactly does a ballast (or in general) do for the M18, if that model can plug directly into the wall? Does the ballast provided a way to have flicker free lighting at higher frame rates?
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    That is incorrect. You have to have the ballast. It's the power supply. When people say "you can just plug it into the wall" they mean the ballast.
    JAKE WILGANOWSKI
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  10. #10  
    Senior Member Terry VerHaar's Avatar
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    Tommy - This was a helpful review and easy to stay with. Specifically, I have seen so many "shoot from the hip" reviews like this where the reviewer just rambles. Despite the fact that you clearly weren't working from a script, your running commentary was always relevant and interesting. Good job.

    Note: The ballast on this light is most definitely not optional. lol I can't cite the specific technical aspects (I am not that articulate about electrical matters!) but the ballast is what pushes the electrical power up to the level that can drive the lamp at that illumination.
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