Archive for the '@arrichannel' 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 / Cforce mini lens motor, AMC 1 and WCU 4

Arri / Cforce mini lens motor, AMC 1 and WCU 4


Ok ,so we are all familiar with the remote follow focus concept by now I would hope?

Basically a number of small electric motors controlled by a wireless transmitter attach to the side of the lens allowing for remote adjustment of focus, zoom and iris. This is a great system for remote operation (on a crane or drone etc) or just to have less people crowded round the camera. So what’s new and exciting about the latest version of this system, that we have just blown several grand on?


Well firstly being made in a collaboration between Arri and Cforce it’s going to work and perform beautifully as you would expect just like the older systems from this team, so why the investment?



The new motors are smaller and lighter than the older style ones, they also have increased torque for larger lenses and impressive speed of operation. Each motor is equipped with twin LBUS connectors to allow for “daisy chaining” up to three units together.


Direct compatibility with the Mini Alexa hints at their intended purpose (remote operation) but they can be used “independently of the camera” on any system with the addition of the AMC 1 (brain).



(The AMC 1 “brain” is required to use this system on cameras that are not directly compatible).


We hire these out as a kit including three motors, the AMC 1 brain and a WCU 4 wireless control unit to remotely operate everything, oh yes and leads, batteries etc etc.


I think I may as well tell you a bit about the WCU 4 controller while I have your attention as its quite a bit of kit in itself so two for the price of one on this blog, lucky you eh!!!.


The WCU 4 is a compact three-axis lens and camera controller with an impressively lightweight of approximately 780g. Equipped with a backlit focus knob, a transflective 3” display and vibrating focus markers it’s easy to use in any lighting condition and full splash proofing allows for the UK’s damp climate.

Full personalization of its features is available and this can be saved to an SD card for future use.


We also have the license that enables full Alexa remote control via the WCU 4 giving you control over everything from frame rate to false colour settings and all without going near the camera.


I can’t help thinking I could rig this system up to my fishing rods for those rainy days and reel in from the shelter of my car, now that would be cool eh!!!. Trouble is I could buy an awful lot of fish for the cost of this system so perhaps it’s a non-starter.


This is a cool improvement on an already very cool system so I have to give it at least an 8/10 BCR and it deserves it too with all the new features and the reduction in size and weight too.

That’s All folks for now



KOTW-Arri Compact 12000 Baby


KOTW Arri Compact 12000 Baby


So Christmas day is here at last!!!!!!!!!!!

Merry Christmas Everyone !!


We are (I hope) all spending the day with our loved ones, in a frenzy of gift opening, cooking, eating and DRINKING!!!!!!

That includes us here at Pixipixel too, but thanks to Steph’s mastering of all things social media we can still set this blog to hit sometime just after lunch and before you settle down to watch The Great Escape again!!!

(One day Steve McQueen is going to make that motorbike jump over the barbed wire, One day!!!!).

the great escape movie poster.jpg


So on the off chance that some of you are reading this on Christmas arvo then let me wish you a happy Christmas from us here at Pixipixel and tell you a nice little story about a baby, a bright light and some wise men.


I guess we can start with the baby, this is one of the latest offspring’s to arrive from the Arri “stable” and as normal she’s a beautiful little thing, her face is a bit wrinkled but that’s due to her parents being a pair of fresnels. She is bright as a button too with 12000w and weighs in at 42.7Kg so I wouldn’t go bouncing her on your knee, but she is still light compared to other members of her family.

The wise men are the guys at Arri who have brought this little baby into the world for us, building on their expertise in the world of lighting, they have surpassed themselves with this one.


And the bright light, well she is an HMI so its daylight light (not starlight) and bright yes, 12K bright! That’s bright enough to summon Batman let alone Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar to the stable.


Can’t think of anyway to get a donkey into this series of exceedingly tenuous similes, sorry also had no luck finding a virgin who wants to get involved but I will carry on regardless as that’s the story of my life.


So yes this little lady has the rather good pedigree, you could say she comes from good stock as she is an Arri and that always indicates quality. “The Arri Compact 12000 Baby” to use her full name is a compact HMI Fresnel light with 12k of power in a remarkably small package, but don’t let her size fool you.


Giving 2650 Lux at 60 ft (18.28 m) when set to middle flood (30 degrees) she packs one hell of a wallop and is the prefect choice for any application calling for an efficient, compact, and daylight spot.


Being described as a compact, I should, I guess give you her vital statistics, well she is a very tidy 44.25 x 34.7 x 32″ (112.4 x 88.3 x 81.3 cm) including yoke with a 19.6” (50 cm) Fresnel lens.


Other features include full corrosion-resistant aluminium construction, extremely even light output and a knob on the front AND rear! Focus knob that is ok! Also a focus indicator is included; just in case you cant see what the 12kw beam of light shining out the front is doing.


Now if you don’t want to attract a trio of gift giving, desert roaming astronomers to your stable in the middle of the night then you can always turn the power down to 50% via the flicker free ballast but 12kw is why you are going to hire it anyway so run it at full power and just send us the gold if it arrives (you can keep the frankincense and myrrh yourself thanks !!!!)


Ok, so hopefully I have not offended every Christian in the photographic industry with this rather silly piece but being one myself I think I can get away with it, besides I’m claiming that this is a great light not a miraculous light.


So next time you need some real oomph for a halo light (Sorry… hair light) perhaps, you know which inn to call don’t you??

Oh and yes it’s cool, cool because it’s about 10kg lighter than the equivalent 12k and I have sciatica so the lighter the better, BCR 8/10 from me for this newborn.


Once again welcome back and don’t forget to make reading this blog one of 2016 resolutions ok?


Merry Christmas to one and all!



“Bloody hell!!!!  Joseph, turn the Arri down before those 3 weirdo’s turn up again!!!”


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

Pixipixel Ltd

Office: 020 7739 3626
8am -18.30pm Monday to Friday

Nearest Overground: Hoxton
Follow Pixipixel on

Blog Stats

  • 45,520 hits

%d bloggers like this: