Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Booster HMI Lighting

5th February 2004

Anyone used Booster HMIs that they claim output twice the light from the same lamp? They claim their 575w PAR puts out close to a 1200, but using 8 amps, and their 1200 PAR is similar to a 2500 when boosted to 17 amps.

Are these units reliable?

Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614

Wade wrote:

>Anyone used Booster HMIs that they claim output twice the light from the >same lamp?

I wrote about these lights many months ago. They were introduced relatively recently by an acquaintance with many years experience with HMI's. They use a standard, German-made ballast and igniter of high quality in their own housing. They "overdrive" a 575W lamp to about 800W and claim additional efficiencies from their optics to put them in the 1200W output range. Same with the1200. They claim color temperature is not shifted significantly and lamp life (normally 750 hours) is reduced only marginally, and they are very solidly built.

I'm told that several of the larger German companies that light Auto shows-typically with lots of 575's running day and night-thoroughly tested the Booster lights and ordered quite a few.

Its likely that they can be quite price competitive. So you might want to put them through their paces on some sort of purchase with right of return.

Jerry Cotts

Disclaimer :

I know these people and am friendly with them. Their owner/designer has given me technical help from time to time.

>How does this work? I would love more info...

I am familiar with Mitronic ballasts (German) and Arri.
Originally Mitronic were in high speed film crash testing for cars and utilized high frequency ballasts for their fixtures, to make them flicker free to a thousand frames or so..

They branched out into event lighting and now general film lighting with their studio ballasts.(Their ballast design is great by the way) I know they improved the light output of their lighting fixtures by improving the optics and design of the ellipsoidal reflectors in their par type lamps so they put out almost another stop over the opposition.

But I have never heard of overdriving the globe...except when the globe became old and a bit green, with the old magnetic ballasts (because they were virtually a autotransformer) you could select a higher ballast tapping and drive the globe harder and get a few more hours out of it. Not possible on the flicker free ballasts I am familiar with.


Graham Rutherford
(Gaffer) and former T.V. Broadcast tech.
Brisbane Australia.

Graham Rutherford wrote :

> How does this work? I would love more info..... I am familiar with >Mitronic ballasts (German) and Arri

Booster Lights do not contain Mitronic ballasts (although my Satellight-X softlight does...4 of them). The ballast they use is, I believe, designed to power bulbs from 575 to 800 watts. They include a dimmer which allows the user to "overdrive" as well as dim below 575W. Ballast makers Mitronic and Schiederwerk have their catalogues on the web. and

They might interest you.

Jerry Cotts

This idea is not new, btw. Sunray has long had some type of overdriven fixture, as did Cinemills at one time. The Cinemills fixture was indeed brighter than a conventional 575, but the source itself is not as large as a 1200w Par, and subsequently didn't have the coverage or the intensity over the same coverage as a 1200.

These type of fixtures make sense in scenarios where your only power source is a wall outlet, but in any other situation the cost of the unit may or may not pay off when balanced with any other cost savings such as cable rental or generator fuel. I'd test these thoroughly if I were to consider buying them.

Ted Hayash
Los Angeles, CA

Thanks for all the replies on Booster HMIs. Sounds like the Colortran of the new millennium, and something to check out carefully.

Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614

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