A few thoughts on studio and location strobes.
I would not use an Alien Bee or any flash system that does not have a pyrex dome covering both
flash tube and modelling light.
So often I see photographers using strobes close to the subject with no SOLID protection over the flash tube.
An exploding tube and send shards of glass flying and through softboxes.
Flash tubes for the most part have a deliberate fracture line at the base to avoid tube explosion.
Sometimes this fails.
I have heads with both cleat and frosted Pyrex tube covers.
I do have a few heads without them, but only for use in strong light modifiers like the Elinchrom SL35
A second issue often ignored is pilot light and flash similarity.
With many flash systems the pilot light is not close enough to the light quality/geometry of the flash tube.
Not a big deal with diffuser type light modifiers, but it is an issue with specular light modifiers like fresnel lens spots.
Shadow sharpness and specular reflections can be totally different.
For example Broncolor heads used in the Flooter spot will cast crisp reflections of a completely different nature
to that the flash tube casts. No problem with the Elinchrom SL35 and Elinchrom heads.
Using a frosted pyrex dome does help reduce this issue, but it takes specularity away.
This is particularly important when shooting on location when it's a bit darker as bugs are known to fly into light sources.
A nice fat moth can blow a tube spraying moth guts and pyrex flash tube shards at you model.
I can just imagine a court case. Soon to be bride disfigured by exploding flash tube.
Another important issue to me is twin tube head designs.
As far as I know most twin head flash tube designs use two arch tubes side by side.
This effectively produces two light sources when used on a specular light modifier.
This results in nasty looking quality when used direct or with a focusing spot or fresnel.
profoto uses two tubes like this side by side:
same as Broncolor:
Also notice the poor design of this heads pyrex protection. While it protects the tubes, it is open at the front and in
a sense is somewhat of a shot gun. An exploding tube will send all shards that leave the head forward.
Elinchrom on the other hand uses two flash tubes that are sort of wrapped over each other producing a nice clean single
You can also see the two "zits" on the twin Elinchrom flash tubes that are there to "fail" and pop before the tube explodes
if the tube were to degrade.
The light that the Twin tube and the SL35 produces is really nice:
Shown here with a monolight.
Here is what comes out of the SL35....