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I am looking for ways to decrease the power in my novatron lights....
Is it feasible to get diffusion material or gels...put them on between the heads and the umbrellas?
Yes, and you can often clip the ND gel to the head with spring clips; just "arch" it to allow for cooling air to flow.
...any other ideas...some locations don't allow for more distance between the subject and the lghts...
If the pack has multiple outlets, and if you have extra heads, you can connect multiple heads to the pack and aim an unused head (or heads) away from the subject. The ouput from the pack will be divided amongst the heads.
If all else fails, you can shoot at a smaller aperture, and than simulate shallow DoF with software. (This helps with nailing focus on location as well.)