Category Archives: Lighting

ARRI’s Done it Again with the Orbiter

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

What’s in Your Grip Truck? A Guide to Equipment and Loading

grip truck rental

They are the essential building blocks for a great lighting package. Grip trucks not only get your gear from here to there, but they also keep your production running smoothly and on schedule. Like most lighting rental companies, Dave’s Grip & Lighting rents grip trucks as well. In fact, we believe we’re South Florida’s most experienced and professional grip truck rental company!

A guide to grip truck rental

Whether you’re new to the job or are a seasoned veteran working with outside vendors like production rental houses, understanding the equipment that’s in your grip truck and how to properly handle it is a must. It also ensures you get the right sized truck with the equipment you need based on the type and size of your project.

We have a variety of grip trucks including 10-ton 5-ton, 3-ton, and 1-ton van packages. Your grip truck rental comes with or without a driver, and is pre-loaded with a variety of lighting, grip, and miscellaneous gear. Customization is always an option.

1-ton cargo van

This is not your standard minivan or sprinter! Sprinter trucks are typically used for small stage work, run-and-gun shoots, and independent narrative films, our 1-ton cargo van is a video producer’s dream. It’s perfect for small commercials, easy to park, and filled with must-have gear like C-stands, scrims, flags, clips, clamps, and more. This van is ready to go at a moment’s notice for your next production!

3-ton grip truck

Ideal for webisode’s, corporate videos, industrials, and smaller commercials and indie features, a 3-ton grip truck rental also has plenty of interior space for add-ons. It moves quick, handles nicely and, thanks to a highly functional shelving and cart layout, loading and unloading is super fast. Small enough to fit nicely on jobs that require more than our 1-ton van package can offer, it comes equipped with a big selection of stands, apple boxes, blankets, clamps, silks, frames, expendables, and a whole lot more. It also includes c-stand, cable, sandbag, header, and flag/net carts.

5-ton grip truck

Looking for a grip truck rental that adds some lights?  Our 5-ton package has a little of everything and a lot more than other production equipment rental companies offer in Miami.  A full-feature truck, it can haul twice the weight of a 3-ton. It has frames of every size, two stand carts, a full complement of c-stands, as per use HMI’s, LED lights, Arri Sky panels S60 and 11 ARRI tungsten lamps, as well as ETC Source Four 26 Degree 750w light for long throws. And there’s an abundance of expendables.

For larger productions, we also offer a 10-ton package that’s designed and built with a bigger crew in mind.

Depending on the package size you rent, consider scheduling a full or half prep day for one or 2 people. Have a newbie on the crew? Let them tag along so they can familiarize themselves with the gear and truck.

The art of loading a grip truck

Loading a small to medium sized grip truck doesn’t take more than an hour—if it’s done right. Of course, the time will vary depending on the size of your crew and how involved the shoot is. No matter what budget or size, there’s a two-point system for loading a grip truck that always works well.

Once wrap is called, assign grips to specific jobs. One or two may be tasked with wrapping cable, another to taking down lights and bringing them to the truck. Make sure light stands are all placed in the same area and make separate piles for cables, sand bags, and so on. And have two or more people on the truck handed the gear from outside in an assembly line fashion. This ensures all the gear ends up in its proper place.

At the grip truck rental house

Here are a few tips for dealing with a grip truck rental house on the day of pickup and during production.

  • Before you pull out of the lot, make a final count to ensure all of the gear you ordered is on board..
  • Keep the truck tidy at all times so gear is easily and quickly accessible.
  • Place ladders, frames, etc. in overhead storage if provided.
  • Keep carts organized and put on the brakes.
  • Tie everything down!
  • Communicate clearly when using the truck’s lift gate.

Every production is challenging. But having an experienced partner like Dave’s Grip & Lighting to help with your grip truck rental is one of the smartest pre-production moves you can make. And if we don’t offer what you need in-house? We’ll help you find it! Our wide range of services includes a fleet of grip trucks that add enormous value to your production while protecting your bottom line. To learn more about all the grip and lighting services we offer, call us today at 305.409.0009, or contact us online.

My Gratitude for Being a Gaffer in Miami

As I reflect on this past year’s work as a gaffer in Miami with my amazing clients and talented colleagues, I feel truly blessed and fortunate.  A 9 to 5 desk job never worked for me. 

Working as a gaffer in Miami is hard work with many challenges, but I happily take them on. Although 4:30 AM call times can be brutal, getting to watch the sunrise on Fort Lauderdale Beach makes an early call totally worth it. Yes, 20 hour days lighting music videos for new young artists can be exhausting, but they’re all part of the fun. And, call me crazy, but I seriously enjoy loading grip trucks on Sunday mornings with my grip and electric team.  Even building a 20 x 20 frame to punch a 12K light through in 15 knot wind over a $100K car though stressful can be part of the fun of being a gaffer in Miami, and for that I am grateful.

At the end of the day, this film business is not about the content or the toys, it’s about the people. With that in mind, a big thanks to my people: clients, my team of grips, best boys, key grips, riggers, Assistant directors, directors of photography, and cameraman in Miami, for making 2018 a great year for filmmaking! 

This year in gratitude for my loyal customers, we’ve donated to the World Wildlife Fund, WWF, honoring filmmaker Rob Stewart’s lifework Sharkwater Extinction, Sharkwater Extinction.

I know that 2019 is also going to be about the people. That’s why you’ll catch me at my 4:30 AM call, whether it’s Miami Beach, Key Biscayne or any other South Florida location!

Litepanels Gemini for Your Best Shoot Ever

New lights don’t often impress me. Quite frankly, all of this advancement in technology is often overblown, IMHO. But, this little beauty of a fixture, the Litepanels Gemini 2×1 LED Soft Panels, is my exception to that rule. They are the rental lights I now promote and a standard fixture on my grip trucks. Let me tell you why.

Litepanels Gemini On the Job Benefits

Short on time? You can do a lot with a Litepanels Gemini rental. Since you don’t need gels, just think of the savings on C47’s alone. Concerned about aesthetics? We’ve seen it with our own eyes — the Gemini wraps light nicely around its subjects, it works well as a bounce, and it’s soft enough for fill. It’s also worth noting that if you rent several of these Geminis you can replace space lights in a studio when their hung from above in a grid. The other cool thing about the Litepanels Gemini is it has a built-in ballast. One more part you won’t lose! Plus it can run on a battery. Also, Litepanels Geminis are lightweight at 22 lbs making it 40% lighter than the Arri SkyPanel. To me, they’re a much better solution when working with a small crew.

Litepanels Gemini Highlights

Bi-color is now the norm! In HIS mode you have total control over Hue, Saturation, and Intensity. RGBW mode lets you dial in a wide range of colors with Red, Green, Blue and white independently. Need to create the old standard TV refection in the face of a subject? That’s so easy now. The Gemini has useful effects like TV, Fire, Emergency, Paparazzi, Strobe, and Fireworks, to name a few. Plus and minus green is a godsend and a real time saver when shooting in retail stores with fluorescents. When it comes to form factor, you can read the LED screen on the light when it is high up on a stand. And, Sound Dept. do not fear, the fan on this light is super quiet.

Arri SkyPanel vs. Litepanels Gemini

Litepanels announced the Gemini 2×1 LED Soft Panel in September 2017.   Before this, Arri SkyPanel was arguably the most requested rental light on the market. Lightpanels wanted to take away some of Arri’s thunder by designing a light that was thinner and with no external ballast. The Arri SkyPanel that we rent is only slightly brighter than Litepanels’ Gemini — a difference gaffers tell me is not a negative. But the Arri SkyPanel weighs around 30lbs. A Litepanels Gemini rental combines daylight, tungsten, and red-green-blue LEDs. Both lights offer a very similar feature set. The Gemini comes with a host of new features not seen on Litepanels’ fixtures before. Not only is its Kelvin color temperature adjustable from 2700 to 6000K, but it also offers four different lighting modes, six presets for user-defined color temperature and plus/minus green control. It’s also Litepanels’ first 2×1 panel light, and the first to use RGB-Warm White LEDs.

As with most lighting equipment, these new lights are nothing more than a means to an end. However, we can now get there quicker with the new Litepanel Gemini.

Amazing Beauty Shots with this Mega Ring Light

Beauty Ring Light Rental MiamiThis mega ring light rental illuminates so well it can take 20 years off of any face and produce a gorgeous ring reflection in the eye. It sets up quick and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to rent!   Plus, it’s so simple to use. My 10 year old uses this light to shoot photos of her friends.

Simple to use, simple to rent

Stick your camera in the center of the ring light and shoot to your hearts content.  It’s fully dimmable so you have great control over the light that it casts . Just add a little CTO to warm up the light. This sturdy unit is made of metal and is ultra durable.

You can get our mega ring light rental and pick it up in a small van.  You’ll want two Matthews beefy baby stands, two Maffer or Cardellini grip clamps, two sand bags, a stinger or two with your ring light rental and you’re good to go!   Note that It doesn’t come in a case, but if needed we can make a huge box out of plywood for shipment.   Heads up:  we have only mega ring light rental, so supply is limited.

Invented for those up close and personal shots

Believe it or not, a dentist Lester A. Dine invented the ring light in 1952 for dental photography.  Ring lights come in continuous versions and flash versions and are often used in portrait and macro photography. Ring lights  provide ultra even illumination by casting very few shadows. The downside is they have to be close to the subject. However, the bright illumination of our mega ring light rental allows you to back the light off and get a great result.  I’d say every Director of Photography and photographer needs to be skilled at using these wonderful instruments.

p.s. Remind me to shoot a great portrait of my lovely wife once this light comes back from its current rental.

LED Lighting

Led lighting has come a long way over the past 7 years. 

I rent Led lighting to my customers on just about every production I work as Gaffer on these days.   Ease of use is a big factor. I reach for the Astra-Lite Panels the most.  Battery powered, lightweight, nimble,  variable color temperature option on the fly and extremely powerful.  Astra light panels are quick and effective. The power consumption on LED lighting is amazing.  Color rendering used to be an issue but no more in my opinion!  You literally can shoot at night in the street with only 4 anton bauer batteries for 3 to 6 hours dependent on the brightness setting. 

Astra Lite Panels

Astra Lite Panels- LED Lighting
Astra Lite Panels- LED Lighting

“This compact 2-light kit has everything you need to light on-camera stand ups or a small location. The included
battery adapter plates make these kits a great mobile lighting solution. Both the Astra 1×1 Bi-Color panels provide soft, full spectrum illumination.”

The Advantage of LED Lighting

The big advantage of LEDs is that they tend to stay relatively cool and are super energy efficient. The light also takes Chimera diffusers or modifiers (still photographers language)  which soften, wrap and broaden the LED light.  You can mount these lights on the hood of a car on a bicycle or hold it in your hand and aim it at your subject.  If you are a 1 man crew the Astra Light panel is the hot ticket!  The Astra light panel is powerful enough to use on Miami beach to fill your subject or act as an eye light on a corporate interview shoots.  In Fort Lauderdale, LEDs are quickly replacing fluorescents as well in commercial applications.

The rental price for LED lighting is a great bang for your buck. Call Daves Grip and Lighting today for a great price on LED lighting rental.

Check it Out Film Buffs! Old Tungsten Lights at Mole and B&H Photo!

As a film lighting history guy, I was interested in tungsten lights from Mole Richardson Company.  When we traveled to Los Angeles recently, I checked out their set lights on display.  Some date back to 1930.

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According to their Wikipedia page, “Mole-Richardson invented the Fresnel Solar Spot unit in 1935, adapting the fresnel lighthouse lens for use in motion pictures. It won the first of four technical Academy Awards the company has earned.[2]”

img_5437Tungsten lights at Mole tungsten lights at Mole

Their Wikipedia page continues,  “Mole-Richardson is considered by many to be the staple of motion picture and television lighting in the movie industry today, setting the standard for tungsten fresnel fixtures. However, they do also manufacture HMI day-light lighting units. Their lighting is generally recognized by their maroon coloring and ‘MR’ logos.”

Mole-Richardson nameMole Richardson logo img_5431 img_5427

And then to my surprise, when I traveled to B&H Photo Video Pro Audio  in NYC we saw some iconic  Mole-Richardson Company 4K ZIP lights  for sale.

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Enjoy this walk down the memory lane of Tungsten lighting.

A Great Lighting Resource – Rosco’s SoftDrop

We’re always on the search for ways to enhance our lighting kit and we recently came across these wicked cool SoftDrop backdrops by Rosco.  They look fantastic and with their extra large seamless size a Director of Photography can shoot from all angles without shooting a seam. They are 100% woven cotton and have a super matte finish so they don’t create lighting reflections — a DP’s nightmare.  They also don’t require as many lights as other backdrops.  The Rosco SoftDrops set up easily and are a great solution when shooting on a sound stage. Rosco also has some awesome Day Night SoftDrops. Hopefully we’ll be involved in a production in the future with one of these!

In this tutorial video Mike McMurray, CSC, Director of Photography talks about the Rosco SoftDrop.

For more information:

http://www.roscodigital.com/softdrop/docs/Rosco_SoftDrop_Data_NA_v2.pdf

ARRI SkyPanel Soft Light’s Debut at NAB 2015

This was one of the coolest lights we saw this year at the NABShow!

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These robust lights with aluminum bodies, simple controls have a large aperture. The light wraps beautifully for lighting actors.  It has adjustable color temperature from 2800K – 10,000K and add many types of diffusion with the front diffusion frame. Light draws 400 watts and output exceeds a 2K soft light. You can also power the light with batteries. We think the Arri SkyPanel will be relevant for a long time!

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Benefits of Renting ARRI Lighting Systems

Arri light

The  ARRI M8 is the smallest and newest edition to the ARRIMAX line of daylight HMI studio lights designed to compete with the ever-popular K5600 Joker 800 HMI fixture.

ARRI lights are the most desired lighting systems for any production, and the latest ARRI M-Series is exactly what Producers and Directors of Photography are looking for. The ARRI M8 is equipped with ARRIMAX Technology and its patented, open face design makes ARRI surpass the competition.

M8 lights can be focused between 15° and 65°, allowing for an ideal light field with crisp shadows. Its faceted reflect light output produces 800W and has a temperature tolerance of 6000K. The M8’s cross cooling allows for safe operation at 90° for that perfect shot.

The ARRI M8 was designed for mobility, but it still weighs in at 17.2 lb. making shipping a challenge.  If you are shooting in Florida, consider renting ARRI lights from Dave’s Grip & Lighting. We  can help save you hundreds in shipping, as well as frustration,  for your next off-set video production. Call us today about ARRI light rental pricing and your other grip, lighting and grip truck rental needs.

Hive Lighting Plasa Fixtures at NAB 2015

Hive Lighting brought out some cool new plasma lighting toys to NAB 2015 this year.  The innovative  Drone Source 4 Spot Kit shown here has tunable color from Tungsten to Moonlight and has other great features such as a Leko lens barrel for focus and directional control or use of an optional soft-box to diffuse the light.

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The Hive Drone Source 4 Spot Kit shown at NAB 2015

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The Drone has Tungsten, Hybrid, Daylight, and even a Moonlight color temperature setting!

For those of you unfamiliar with plasma lighting, it is similar to HMI lighting in the sense that a volatile gas is electrically charged that illuminates the bulb.  However, unlike HMI, plasma lighting uses solid state electronics and does not require metal electrodes in the bulb allowing plasma bulbs to be constructed out of a robust sealed quartz chamber instead of glass.  Additionally, plasma bulbs are dimmable, turns on and re-strikes quickly, and can operate in any orientation without fear of heat buildup.  And you might not have known it but that street light outside your house just may be a plasma light…so this isn’t new technology.  Plasma lighting is also in used with surgical equipment and microscopes for its proven reliability.

While the price point is a bit higher than some other lighting technologies,  you’ll get your moneys worth out of them with longevity and reliability.  Hive Lighting also has a rather maniacal looking stage lighting product dubbed the Honey Bee Theatrical Spot.  This modular fixture has an integrated power supply, Source 4 barrel, and yoke…and it looks like something you would find on top of a US Army Humvee.

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The Honey Bee Theatrical Spot Plasma Fixture