After even more research, I’ve decided to retrofit one of my Lowel Omni fixtures with a 70W HQI bulb.
~$86 for the bulb – Iwasaki EYE Color Arc MTD70/D #56227 which is4000 lumens, 6000hrs, 6500K 92CRI. the bulb is 120mm wide, so it’ll have to go at a 45 degree angle in the square fixture. The specs say it has an up to 15min restrike time, but I’m betting it’ll be more like 5mins, like the other Iwasaki HQI bulb that I have in my soft box. Here are the specs for the bulb- http://www.eyelighting.com/tb/MH/ColorArc/EQS-N-52-78-56227.pdf
~$98.43 for the ballast- 120v-277v input – electronic ballast for 70W bulb
~$5 for a lamp holder for this bulb
I ordered 1 bulb, 1 balast, and one lamp holder from Steve from Dyna-Brite Lighting in Tuscon (Phone: 1-520-882-4404). I’ll have to do a bit of metal work to get everything inside the fixture, and then will need to make some special cables to connect the light to the ballast, and ballast to the wall.
If it works, then I’ll have an openface/spot/flood adjustable Lowell Omni that puts out ~ 300W worth of light (in Tungsten terms) and pulls 70W from the wall. Not to shabby for a hair/rim light.
Started doing more research on a small HMI I can use for a hair light. Looks like there are several 200W HMIs on the market- by Arri, Joker, Frezzi to name a few. The Frezzi is $3500 for a hot-restrike unit that includes pelican case, soft box, filters, barn doors, and ballast. Similar unit from Arri that also includes a DC ballast costs $5200. Wow. This is for a single 200W HMI (puts out about 600W worth of light compared to a tungsten) in a fresnel housing, with accessories- but wow! That’s not cheap.
Turns out they all seem to use the same bulb- Phillips 200W MSR HR HMI bulb. Bulbs cost around $120 from Barndoor Lighting. The bulb has a GZY 9.5 base, and is 80mm (3.2″) tall.
Further research lead me to find only 1 compatible ballast for this bulb- made in Germany. Schiederwerk EVG 2-20 ballast roughly – $380, then you also need an ignitor - HZG 8-25 (Hot Restrike!), part number 32 058 1000. Ignitor – $95. The US distributor is Jeffrey Van Etten @ Professional Lamps firstname.lastname@example.org
So we’re at $600 for bulb, ballast, and ignitor. You still need a fixture, a box for the ballast (it’s a circuit board) and cabling.
If you can get away without hot-restrike, then things get a lot cheaper. Coollights has CDM (similar tech to HMI) bulbs 150W in an Arri knockoff shell with a nice ballast and cable for $460 or so. Takes 5 minutes to warm up, but is cheap, bright, and apparently well made.
Food for thought. Don’t know if a doubling in price is worth it for hot-restrike (one could get a similar arri knock off for $270, and replace the guts with an HMI and build a ballast box- but I bet you’re still near $1000 or more when done- but you’d have a pretty sweet 200W HMI for $1000, which isn’t all that bad.