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drpro

RIP Ross Lowell

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Ross Lowell the creator of Gaffers Tape passed away last week at age 92. I suspect almost everyone has use gaffers tape to secure cables on location at some point in their work.
Plus of course his contribution to light weight lighting products.

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Many of the earliest docs I worked on (mid-70s) would have been a lot uglier without his lighting gear.  That stuff was not easy to work with, but was small and light enough that you could do some pretty creative rigging pretty fast with a small crew.  My fave of these was the "Jon Else Chandelier", basically a 2x4 suspended over a dining room table with an alternating-sides array of TotaLites with their umbrella reflectors clamped to it in a way that the weight balanced.  Big soft high source with nice fall off behind the talent, and pretty boom-friendly for the times.  I still use one of those yellow-base Lowel-Lite kit stands for interview rigs--the clamps are kind of shot but its very nostalgic to use, right down to the very particular sound the metal legs make when extended or folded up.

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From PDN:

 

Obituary: Ross Lowell, Founder of Lowel-Light and Creator of Gaffer Tape, 92

 

Ross Lowell, the award-winning director, cinematographer and founder of Lowel-Light who created gaffer tape while fashioning lighting solutions for TV productions, died February 15 at his home in Pound Ridge, New York, according to his wife, Marilyn Shapiro-Lowell. He was 92.

 

Born in New York City in 1926, Lowell attended film school at UCLA before he served in the U.S. Navy, where he became a photographer. In the 1950s, he worked as a cinematographer in film and the new medium of television. He became frustrated with the few lighting options available for shooting TV footage outside broadcast studios. He fashioned a small socket on a ball swivel that could accept a flood light and also be attached to various mounts. He eventually founded Lowel-Light, and designed other portable lighting systems, including grips and reflectors. He held more than 20 patents and in 1979 won an Academy Award for Technical Achievement for “the development of compact lighting equipment for motion picture photography.”

 

Rest of the obit here:

https://pdnpulse.pdnonline.com/2019/02/obituary-ross-lowell-founder-of-lowel-light-and-creator-of-gaffer-tape-92.html

 

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I had his kit with the socket/clip/chain gag and the frame+barn doors that got clipped onto floodlight bulbs.  For a few years that was, with the addition of a couple of normal mic stands, our entire lighting kit....

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