As much as I have a love-tolerate relationship with this lighting company, I have to tip my hat to them for the ARRI Orbiter, another game-changing light. Groundbreaking technology comes to mind. Innovation at its best. For sure I’m going to have two of these on my grip truck in Miami the minute they’re released. I’m writing a check today to get on the shortlist for the very first batch to come to Miami.
Increased Processing Speed
After the design of the ARRI Skypanel, it blows my mind that they can come out with something as innovative as this new movie light. For starters, the processor is super, super fast. Its four times faster than the Skypanel. It has 125 times more memory and has smooth dimming features. There’s a lot more connectivity and its completely waterproof. Note: The ARRI Orbiter is a lot bigger than it looks in the photos. It’s not something you toss into a soft bag and run-and-gun. LOL.
This light is going to have multiple applications. Also, it’s going to be a fantastic theatrical light. The removable control panel is entirely innovative. A six-color light engine LED (lime, cyan, amber, blue, green, red) in their arrangement creates an all-in-one light field with apparent brightness (which ARRI is not saying how bright). They are making claims that skin tones will look natural and amazing. But that’s just a bunch of market-speak until I see the light in action on set.
Variety of Optics
Probably one of the coolest things about this new light is that it has a variety of optics you can put in front of the light, open face, projection, dome and light bank for a wide variety of scenes. This light can throw a beam far, pull that attachment off and add a soft bank, and now you have a big soft source. That’s crazy versatile. Think of the movie Transformers and what those amazing robots could do. That’s what this light is. Of course, you can power this thing with batteries, but like the Skypanel it probably will be a lot dimmer.
Color Temperature Features
With a magnetometer and a guide, it allows you to sample existing color temperature and then flip a switch to match it. That’s mind-boggling. This function can either be continuous or momentary. If it’s on continuous, it measures the ambient color and changes the light output accordingly. With the press of a button on momentary, it will take just a single reading. If the light is changing in a scene, this lighting fixture can adapt on the fly. Color changes happen without any human involvement. That’s game-changing. Hey, as a gaffer am I even needed on the set?
LiOS, lighting operating system
A lot of the great stuff that was in the Skypanel is now in the Orbiter. ARRI has a new software operating system called LiOS, lighting operating system. The light can store over 240 of your “go-to colors” in its big memory bank. The interface is straightforward. Simplification is coming with DMX, and there’s plenty of room for other innovations as this light evolves.
ARRI’s Orbiter has three operational modes to optimize the fixture’s performance for different applications. High color rendering mode provides the best color quality possible, high output mode generates the best brightness with slightly lower color rendition, while low noise mode creates a balance for quiet operation with decent output. I’ve talked to other gaffers and Directors of Photography around the country these past few days since the light was released to the press. We’re all scratching our heads wondering how BRIGHT this thing really is? Quite frankly we’re not going to get our hopes up. Doubt this thing’s going to replace an HMI for now.
As we all know the enemy of the LED light is heat, if the light is too hot, the LED will not last, turning into a service and maintenance nightmare. Apparently, multiple heat sensors internally are designed to cool to the optimal operating temperature. And, because this baby has a magnetometer it will be very useful for sensing the pan, tilt, and roll of the light. Additionally, the meta-data can be used for re-creating scenes as it relates to special effects work. That I would never have guessed!
At the end of the day
What everybody is wondering is how much light does this bad boy put out. ARRI is not saying. It’s frustrating. It seems like it’s going to be a bit less than for most gaffers liking. They’re already saying that at its maximum brightness you’ll have slightly lower color rendition. What remains to be seen is how noisy the fans will be when our good buddies the sound guys are on location. Guessing it will be quiet? Even so, this movie light is super, super versatile and it’s going to be a staple on my grip trucks.
Read below for more info on the ARRI Orbiter from our friends at Abelcine:
- Open Face – Produces a high-output, directional beam of light in several different beam angles, including 15°, 30°, and 60°Ideal for throwing light long distances or providing a broad swath of light
- Projection – High-quality projection optics contain high-end lenses that provide even illumination and color across the entire beam field for superior results
- Available fixed beam angles are 15°, 25°, 35° (wider angles may be added in the future)
- The zoom projection optics allow for flexibility in all kinds of applications.
- Dome – Fabric spheres available in three different diameters: small (approx. 0.25m), medium (~0.5m) and large (~0.9 m).
- The dome emits omnidirectional light, great for illuminating a large area with a beautiful, soft quality of light
- Light Bank – The light bank adapter creates a direct mounting point for your Chimera and DoPchoice products
- With easy attachment and no additional optical elements needed, the light bank adapter allows for a controlled soft light with incredible output
- Extremely powerful output for maximum brightness and perfect colors
- Variety of optics: open face, projection, dome, and light banks
- ARRI Spectra six-color, wide gamut light engine
- Perfected smooth dimming to zero
- Lighting Operating System (LiOS) with powerful software features
- Removable, intuitive control panel
- Wireless DMX
- Integrated color sensor for matching ambient light
- A full suite of connectors and sensors
- Weatherproof housing
- Lightweight internal power supply and a 3-pin XLR battery input for 48V batteries