Archive for the 'Arri' Category


Arri Master Grips

“It’s all in the wrist,” well that’s what I’ve been told anyway.

Many years ago when I decided to learn to play the drums at school I was told it was all in the wrist, I never could get the hang of it but think that was more to do with having no rhythm so I gave up, then my mum told me it was all in the wrist when it comes to whisking so I brought myself a KitchenAid, in fact I’ve only found one pastime that my wrists seem to help with but we won’t go there in this blog.

Still, moving swiftly on from that I would like to tell you all about one new and exciting use for those wrists of yours, the all new Arri Master Grips.

For years the traditional style cine handgrips have helped firmly support and stabilise a camera on the operator’s shoulder and that’s about it. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has wished that I could turn the wheel on the grip to alter focus rather than having to let go with one hand to do so. Well it would seem the good folks at Arri have been thinking the same thing.

The latest addition to Arri’s ECS (Electronic Control System) are the rather trick Master Grips. They are available in four versions: Right side or Left side and with either a Thumb rocker for super smooth zooming or control wheel for iris and focus adjustment. Our setup allows for the left hand to switch between focus and iris control leaving the right hand to take care of zoom.


We can see this simply as a merging of documentary and cine style equipment allowing for a best of both worlds setup. Particularly when using small cameras like the Alexa mini with its reduced level of user interface, solid cine style grips with documentary style controls are going to be a great improvement in ergonomics.


When I first looked at these grips it occurred to me that the camera operator would have to become a multi-tasking genius. Not only holding and aiming the camera but zooming, focusing, and adjusting the iris all by themselves, that although possible would be challenging I imagine. I’m happy to say that Arri are one step ahead of me with this. By using the Arri WCU4 controller any or all of the functions can be taken over by the 1st AC so nobody is out of a job just yet.

Built to Arri’s super high standards and based around the proven ergonomics of the much loved Arriflex handgrips the master grips are solid, rugged, and reliable even in harsh shooting environments. Controls are easy to reach yet protected from accidental triggering.

At the moment the Master Grips allow for full control of cine lenses including adjustable motor speed, zoom response and motor limits, they also allow for control of integrated servomotors on ENG and EF lenses.

Featuring easy set up using the integrated touch screens or physical buttons all controls are fully configurable with reassuring status readout on the controls themselves.


I must say the Master Grips are rather impressive.  Arri have done their homework well on these, incorporating everything you would expect and more into a great package, putting you firmly in control whether you are shooting as a single operator or part of a crew. The Master Grips are sure to become a must have addition to your kit list. I’m giving them a full 10 out of 10 for my Brucie Coolness Rating.

So if you want to get you hands on some give us a call at Pixipixel Hoxton and we can arrange for them to be on your next shoot.

Oh and just in case you are wondering what that other use for my wrists is, well fishing, obviously!

Many thanks




KOTW-Arrimax 12/18 kW High Speed Ballast.

Arrimax 12/18 kW High Speed Ballast


So lets face it no matter how much I try to make this sound exciting it not going to be.

This is a fabulous bit of kit but it’s never going to score highly in the wow factor despite it’s cost and weight, I would say that its most popular feature is going to be the wheels!



I guess in the interest of spicing things up a little I should look into what a ballast actually is. Now although probably heavy enough this is definitely not the sort of ballast used to keep a boat the right way up or a balloon on the ground it’s something else entirely.


Put very simply, (to suit me) a ballast is an electronic device designed to limit the amount of current in an electric circuit. It automatically allows for a higher current at start up (striking) to allow for an arc to form between the electrodes in your bulb but then immediately limits that current to an optimum level, thus allowing for the bulb to produce the desired level of luminance whilst retaining its rated lifespan. Interestingly without a ballast a thing called a “negative differential resistance artifact” would cause the current in the bulb to very quickly “RISE TO DESTRUCTIVE LEVELS” and BANG. You get the idea, no more bulb, no more light.


So despite my obvious temptation to blow things up I guess that a ballast is a fairly important bit of kit, unless of course your dad owns Osram. So what’s so special about this one then? other than the wheels that is.


Well its what’s known as a high-speed ballast and no that’s got nothing to do with the wheels, for a start they would be alloys and have low profile tyres on them if this was some kind of racing machine. No high speed refers to the ability of the ballast to produce a virtually constant output over the entire AC cycle, allowing for flicker free operation and in turn filming at higher frame rates without a problem.


Ok so I bet you are itching to know how this is done, well it’s all about the shape of waves. A normal AC power supply has a nice curvy wave pattern, if you care to look at it on your oscilloscope (what do you mean you don’t have an oscilloscope, call yourself a photographer but don’t have an oscilloscope for goodness sake!) it looks something like this.



Now, a normal “magnetic” ballast does a pretty good job in smoothing this out but if we look at the image below you can see that the light output fluctuates or flickers.


That flicker plays havoc when we are shooting at high frame rates so is not ideal.


A high-speed ballast like the Arri 12/18 kW squares off the wave pattern and in turn produces a far more constant light output see below.



Clever Stuff eh??






With this consistent output high frame rate filming becomes possible without issue. Arri says that frame rates up to 3000 fps are possible when using multiple sources due to the ability to use up to 1200Hz lamp operation. With a single source the new 1000Hz ballasts are fine for lighting at frame rates of 1000 fps and in many cases even faster.


Happily for us this square wave format should increases the life of the bulb by around 20% and you will be pleased to know it can also increase the light output by 6-8% so it is hip to be square after all.


Now with every up side it seems a down side must follow and surprise surprise this is no exception. The issue with square waves (other than being useless to surf) is noise. The square waves can cause the globe and igniter to buzz, the head becomes a resonating chamber and the noise, now amplified is projected out of the front of the light (because it has a big hole at the front) straight towards the set. This is not an issue unless you are recording sound and then it’s a nuisance to say the least. But an answer is at hand and it involves cutting corners!


By using a special circuit in the ballast the corners of the square waves can be “rounded off” this prevents the buzz and keeps the sound guys happy. This does have an effect on the Hz that you can run at unfortunately but the Arri unit still can put out a very respectful 50-60Hz for low noise environments.


So that was exciting wasn’t it I hope we are all now fully trained as far as waving is concerned and I would expect to see a marked increase in oscilloscope sales in the near future.


But back to the ballast in question I’ve had a bit of a look at its technical specifications and it has a couple of nice features beyond its wave changing trickery, how about cold striking and hot re striking and dimming from 100 -50% of power, oh and did I mention wheels?


This ballast also features DMX remote dimming capabilities (that’s fairly self explanatory) and an Active Line Filter for Power Factor Correction (a what for what?). from what I can understand about this it results in a more efficient power use and also assures a consistent colour output despite dimming or mains voltage fluctuations.


Full safety protection for over heating, short circuit and over voltage issues is built into the circuitry making for worry free operation. ABS and a drivers side airbag are not included however so be careful when pushing it around.


Well, I got through that without too much brain ache and I hope you did too?  Ballasts are never going to rock your world, but without them we would be in the dark (literally) so I am glad people like Arri are putting so much effort into making them better. I am hesitant to give a BCR Brucie coolness rating as its not going to score high enough on the cool side of things so on this occasion I will use my special BCR Ballast Capability Rating and award a 10 out of 10 to this beast.


Oh and it weighs about 49kg so if you have an assistant to punish let us know and we will take the wheels off!!!!


Cheers BB


KOTW Arri / Transvideo Starlite HD5

KOTW-Arri / Transvideo Starlite HD5



Today I would like to share with you a very simple recipe for success.


Take one part Arri and one part Transvideo, combine and allow to simmer slowly over a low heat until something tasty appears. That’s it, easy peasy lemon squeezy eh!


Well that’s the exact recipe which has produced todays piece of kit, it’s a gourmet offering that should appeal to all and you wont be needing any cutlery for it either because you can use your fingers!


I think it must be getting on for dinner time, as I’m obsessing about food again, sorry if I am making you hungry!!


So the dish in question is a small monitor called the Starlite 5HD Arri and is very basically the same as Transvideo’s existing Starlite HD5 Monitor that has been very popular since its release, however now that Arri has joined Transvideo in the kitchen it’s got a few extra ingredients. That’s about the end of my culinary similes, I promise but this little screen really is something to feast your eyes on. (Groan …sorry!!!)


For those of you not familiar with the original HD5 monitor let me wet your appetite. Firstly and rather unsurprisingly it’s a High Definition 5 inch monitor screen, so it’s about the size of your smart phone but has an advantage over your phone because it never ever rings. It has numerous high-end features including waveform, vectorscope and histogram displays. Power is provided via a mini Lemo2 connector and it will accept DC voltages of anything from 5 – 44 volts. Inputs of HD-SDI and 3G are catered for and the whole unit weighs in at 190g so it won’t ruin you new years resolution to loose weight. (If in fact you are one of the few that are still sticking to your new years resolution???)


Happily all these features are still available on the new “Arri” version but a healthy pinch of Arri all spice has been added sometime in the cooking process. It now acts as a control for your Alexa mini or Amira allowing for a much more user-friendly interface between you and the camera.

Transvideo say that it is:

“A new concept of human interface” and it “uses the power of the touch screen panel and rids the user of incomprehensible and endless tiered menus.”

The last time I saw an endless and incomprehensible menu was in a Vietnamese restaurant in Melbourne (I ended up eating chicken feet of all things).


So that in itself is a great feature, particularly thinking of the Alexa mini and its remote operation possibilities on cranes etc etc…..


But wait that’s not everything! Do you have room for desert? I hope so, because the chefs from Arri and Transvideo have included one last sweet treat. Onboard H.264 recording for the days rushes to SD cards,  Now that’s tasty!



The whole thing is incased in a rugged aviation grade aluminum body so its nice and robust as you would expect from the master chefs who created it.


Now as I seem to have gone down the food line on this one I will change from my normal BCR (Brucie coolness rating) and on this occasion award the Starlite HD5 Arri one Michelin star.


Bon appétit  folks




KOTW – Arri / Zeiss Master Primes

Arri / Zeiss Master Primes


I remember buying my first Canon L series lens many years ago, it was a second-hand 28-70 f2.8l and I was chuffed to bits, it even made me feel like a photographer (for a little while anyway) I told all my mates how good it was and how L series lenses were the best and so on and so on. Many years later having replaced it with a 24-70 mk 2 I realize that it wasn’t nearly as good as I thought and in fact my shiny new one although a great lens is a good way down the list as far as best lenses in the world are concerned.

Now I’m not being exactly fair because I am comparing a stills lens to a moving image one but life isn’t fair so I’m going to run with it anyway, my point is that no matter what you have in the way of lenses there is always something better, unless you have a set of these that is…….


So how come these lenses are so good that they rate near if not on the top of the best lenses list (if such a list exists) well for starters they are made via collaboration between Arri and Zeiss so they come from good stock. Arri describes them as a “cinematographers dream” and say that they have an “optical performance surpassing all other primes” those are two powerful claims to be making but I don’t hear anyone in the industry disagreeing with them.

Why then are they so good? Well in short because they are very fast, have fantastic optical performance, unprecedented resolution, great contrast and virtually no breathing.

Further more these lenses retain all of these features across their entire T-stop range from T1.3 – T22. Yes you did read that correctly T1.3 that’s huge, great for low light and that classic shallow depth of field look.

Now many cine prime lenses are either good for close focus work or have very little breathing (the unwanted shift in image size during focus changing) but until now none were really good at both. Generally a floating element is employed to improve the close focus however this same element can cause breathing problems. Arri and Zeiss have figured a way of using two floating elements to improve the close focus and to virtually eliminate breathing (like a short-sighted asthmatic I suppose and I can say that because I am one)

An improved T* XP coating, light traps and “strategically painted lens rims” (must use that on the other half, we have a strategically painted house) all help with the contrast and resolution along with reducing veiling glare. Also these lenses are as sharp and bright in the corners of the frame as they are in the center no matter what T stop you are using or how you are focusing.

Now a couple of other nice features standard across the entire range are reversible focus rings for metric or imperial markings (great idea) and fluorescent markings for easy reading even in low light. A clever built-in Lens Data System allowing for real-time lens data to be gathered and displayed onto a peripheral device, this is a boon especially when the lens is in use in a remote situation, say on a crane or steadicam. Also the whole range of lenses have been super colour matched with each other so that’s one less thing to worry about.


I love this bit even if I don’t have a clue what it means. By using “exotic glass with anomalous partial dispersion like fluor and barium dense flint” (what?) chromatic aberration has been greatly reduced. Or in Brucie terms, posh glass means less colour fringing.

Anyway enough techno babble, these lenses are simply superb, Arri and Zeiss together have created a set of primes that really are quite literally revolutionary to our industry they are as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside, have more features than Netflix and cost about as much as my house. But importantly they open up a new range of possibilities for the cinematographers in the world (that’s you)

Oh and don’t worry about the cost because I know someone who will hire them to you……

BCR 10/10 I don’t believe they can be faulted, they look, feel and perform fantastically, actually just like me………. NOT.

Cheers BB


KOTW- Arri SkyPanel

Arri SkyPanel

“Come on, come on hurry up Harry come on.”

What a great song from the old punk rockers Sham 69 that is and how remarkably apt it has seemed for the last few weeks, well in my head anyway.

Ok so I may have been singing hurry up ARRI but it sounds the same to me.

I’ve been hanging for Arri to deliver our new stock of Sky Panel LED soft-lights and I’m delighted to announce that they have now landed here at Pixipixel.


Now before you tune out, yes they are another LED panel soft light, but this time they have had the Arri treatment so I have been intrigued to see what their take on a LED panel will be like and not surprisingly they have NOT disappointed me.


Arri say that the new SkyPanel delivers “unsurpassed power and quality” now the build quality is not in question as Arri make great kit and I have no reason to think that the SkyPanels will be anything other than beautifully manufactured.

However quality can be measured in many different ways and until this point I have had build quality in mind but we also need to think about the light quality (well you wouldn’t buy a Rolls Royce that didn’t drive just because it was well-built would you?) Well again the SkyPanel has all the quality you could wish for as far as light is concerned. The buzzwords here are even and uniform and that’s exactly what these lights produce. Designed as a soft light they live up to their brief, perfectly producing a pool of uniform beautifully soft light at whatever colour temperature you fancy from 2,800 k all the way up to 10,000 k (most LED panels can only go from 3,200 k to 5,600 k) Furthermore full plus and minus green, vivid colour selection and saturation adjustment are all easily changed to your liking by using the simple controls on the rear of the unit.

Light quality can be measured using various acronyms such as CRI, CQX or TLCI (if you use any of these then you will know what they mean if not then it doesn’t matter) and the SkyPanel gets top marks for all. In fact Arri say that the Sky Panel excels in precise colour temperature settings, natural rendition of skin tones and accurate colour reproduction all of which are important.

Size is important (don’t tell my other half but it is) and as we all know bigger = softer and that’s why Arri have made the “light aperture” as large as possible on all SkyPanels. Also the front diffuser can be simply swapped out to vary the amount of diffusion from heavy to light. Arri also say that they will roll out further accessories in the future so I would expect honeycomb grids and so on to become available in due course.


Now what does beautiful light produce? Beautiful shadows that’s what and the SkyPanel gives remarkable soft single shadows with no colour fringing or multiple edges and that’s just what the Doctor ordered from a soft light.


Power is not going to be a problem, with the SkyPanel banging out more lux for your bucks than a 2 kw tungsten soft light or a 6 kw tungsten space light this panel has enough oomph for most applications but importantly also performs wonderfully at lower light levels.

Another great feature, especially for us technologically challenged folk is the easy and intuitive user interface (controls to you and I) with just three knobs to control everything you won’t waste time trying to figure out how to make changes or adjustments. Having these controls permanently on the unit is a bonus along with a large clear display so you can see what you are doing but should you wish to hang the panels out of reach then full DMX or even LAN network based control is also catered for.


I also appreciate the built-in battery input that allows for industry standard batteries to power the SkyPanel thus allowing you to go walkabout without the need for generators or miles of lead. The S60 can be run at 50% of its total power when using batteries.

Lastly I should draw your attention to the remarkable slimness of these units. Measuring a mere 130mm in-depth they can be tucked up against a wall or squeezed into other tight positions but still produce an astounding amount of beautiful quality light, this would be impossible to recreate using conventional lighting fixtures.

Overall I must say I am impressed with the SkyPanels, they seem to live up to the hype and I am sure you will like them too. My BCR is a firm 9/10 so why not give them a go, if you’re quick enough that is because they won’t be gathering any dust in our warehouse that’s for certain.


Now just to round off this blog as I started it by using some lyrics from Sham 69.

“We’re going down the pub” cheers BB.

skypanel t shirt

How splendid would I look down the pub in an XL one of these??????? :0)))


KOTW-Arri L7 C Fresnel

Arri L7 C Fresnel

arri l7_1

It’s not often that I am jealous of a light, but I must admit to being a tad green with envy after the return of our L7 C LED Fresnels from Arri.

They have just returned from a trip to Germany where they went back to meet their makers and receive an upgrade.

So why am I jealous? Well they were a little on the dim side when they left us and are now back and are 25% brighter! I have asked Barney here if I can go on the same trip as I could do with a similar upgrade myself.

Anyway this does seem like a great opportunity to talk a bit about these rather nice LED fresnels as I don’t think we have been properly introduced to them before.

Ok so the obvious bit first they are a Fresnel light and have LED’s rather than a bulb.

Being an LED light you would expect to be able to adjust the colour temperature and you would be correct, the L7 C has a range from 2800 – 10,000 K but the adjustability doesn’t stop with colour temperature alone.

Continuously adjustable green-magenta control from full plus-green to full minus-green is also featured along with full RGB+W colour gamut with saturation and hue controls.

A CRI rating figure of 94 means that you have little to worry about regarding getting the colour right and dimming as you would expect ranges from 100% all the way down to off (0%)


Beam angle is also adjustable from 15 -50 degrees, so its great for everything from spot to flood and it has a tilt angle of +/_ 90 degrees (that’s pointing up or down or somewhere in-between in my book)

DMX control is also catered for should you require it.

Tipping the scales at only 8.2 Kg it won’t weigh you down either

So it’s lite and bright and LED so no more blown bulbs and all that makes the L7C a winner and everyone likes a winner don’t they?

That’s about it folks, it was cool before it left and now its back it’s even cooler not to mention brighter. Brucie coolness rating (BCR) of 8/10.

Pop in and have a look at the future of Fresnel lights here at Pixipixel.

L7 c _3

Cheers Brucie Blogger


KOTW Broad Lights (x Lights / Goya Lights)

Broad Lights (x Lights / Goya Lights)

Well what’s in a name anyway eh! Todays bit of kit started with a request to focus on our latest light from Filmgear, the 5000w Tungsten Broad light.

A bit of research showed me that this was part of a family of lights that go by different names depending on the manufacturer, but are all basically very similar. So with the intention of killing many birds with one stone I thought I would cover the whole broad light genus in one blog.

So what is a broad light or for that matter an X light or even a Goya light?

broad light 1dimension broad

Well for one thing they have absolutely nothing to do with Francisco Goya, the Spanish romantic painter (best known for being the first artist to explicitly depict hirsute ladies in art “edited for online content”, that’s a good one to use at a dinner party) or anything to connect them to the varicose waterways of Norfolk. We are talking broad as in “larger than normal from side to side” (at this moment I am biting my tongue to protect my love life.)

The Filmgear broad light, Arri X light or DeSisti Goya lights are all very very similar to each other, they are all open-faced lights and feature a very wide “broad” beam of un-focused light (approximately 130 deg)

They can be pointed in any direction including straight down or straight up.

When used with diffusion they become a softlight and when used without diffusion they produce a lovely hard shadow (great for silhouette work)

Many users simply bounce them off a wall to create an extremely large and hence soft light (remember, the bigger it is the softer it gets, that’s another one for the dinner party)

But the main feature in my opinion is that they can be positioned very close to the subject and give a very wide, uniform illumination with a very short throw.

This makes them ideal for lighting backgrounds, buildings and so on.

Being able to operate pointing straight down they lend themselves to be used as a space light and are frequently employed in this way.

Because they produce such a wide beam of light, less are required to evenly light the subject.

The light produced is very clean and even across its entire spread.

We have several versions here in HMI

.575 KW

1.2-1.8 KW

2.5 KW

4 KW

As well as our new baby

5000W Tungsten (if you want to warm things up a bit!)

Please note that all the specifications on this are for our new tungsten 5000 w unit.

tung broad


Cheers BB

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