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Arri Skypanels...Plus Some Safety Advice!!!

I just had the pleasure of working on a car ad with the Arri Skypanel. It really was a neat piece of gear.

We ordered the daylight balanced fixture. We used it outdoors as a source inside a vehicle. It didn't do a lot compared to the 18K coming through the window but it sure added that "ping" to the brushed metal and chrome on the dash.

It is a very compact soft source that would be ideal for faces. It can be ganged together with other Skypanels to create a larger source, although it wraps around very nicely with one fixture. I really liked the highlight that it created in the eyes when I tested it on one of the grip brothers at the shop.

I liked it and I would be interested in others experience and applications using the fixture.

I have no affiliation with Arri other than liking a lot of their lighting products...

Andrew Gordon
Gaffer
Regina, SK
Canada


I looked at this unit and talked to an Arri rep at Cinegear a little this past June. It's an interesting concept but seems to fall into that "solution in search of a problem" category. IF you need an ultra thin light source in daylight or 3200K then this is the answer.

Since I saw the unit under a tent on a bright sunny day I couldn't tell what kind of output it might have. Even 4 panels ganged together couldn't be as bright as a 1200W PAR through a 6x6 could it?

Randy Miller, DP in LA


>Even 4 panels ganged together couldn't be as bright as a 1200W PAR >through a 6x6 could it?

Perhaps not. However they are meant to be used differently : you can put them together, as many as you wish, and go for veeery lage panels. In addition they fit at places where no 1200 + 6X6 can. And you save lots of power.

I have not measured them together, but I think skypanels are not brighter that fluorescents. The large lamp life is an issue, but there are rumours that the light output falls quite fast.

Also: Arri changed the fixture body within the first year.
Also: Osram discontinued their 220V ballast within the first year. (they are only selling 12V ballasts) Arri are making their own ballasts, since Osram’s are not flicker free, but the facts give space for suspicion perhaps?

Best Regards

Argyris Theos
DoP
Athens Greece


Argyris Theos wrote :

>In addition they (skypanels) fit at places where no 1200 + 6X6 can.

My own Satellight-X HMI softlight is 4 x 5 by 12" deep and packs 2300 Watts (4 x 575) of beautiful daylight at 110 or 220V because of "auto sensing" ballasts. With a 6 x 6 in front (for "double diffusion" if you like) it is still only about 18" deep.

Jerry Cotts
DP/Manufacturer/LA


>With a 6 x 6 in front (for "double diffusion" if you like) it is still only about >18" deep.

You can fill a 6x6 at that distance???!!!

Art Adams, DP [film|hidef|video]
San Francisco Bay Area - "Silicon Valley"
Dramatic License #CA14886
http://www.artadams.net/


I am positive that the output is not that of a 1200 par with diffusion. They win on size and I feel that they could be good source to use as a key light for a small ENG/corporate type lighting kit.

I re-iterate that it looked great on faces...I had a thought that if you ganged four together, you could make a pretty neat ring light. It would not be a true ring but it would be easy enough to build a rig to shoot through. There are lots of rigging opportunities on the fixture.

As for flicker free operation, I was told by the Arri rep out of LA that if it was used at 100% on the dimmer it was flicker free but when you dim it down, you are no longer assured of flicker free operation.

But at 160w, they sure put out some nice light.

Andrew Gordon
Gaffer
Regina, Saskatchewan
Canada


>With a 6 x 6 in front (for "double diffusion" if you like) it is still only about >18" deep.

>You can fill a 6x6 at that distance???!!!

Yes, easily...4-575W bulbs evenly illuminate a 4 x 5 foot diffuser (total=12"), so adding a 6 x 6, 6" in front results in a glowing 6 x 6. Oddly, it's even better if you pull the 4 x 5.

See www.satellight-x.com for the general idea.

Jerry Cotts
DP/LA


>My own Satellight-X HMI softlight is 4 x 5 by 12" deep and packs 2300 >Watts (4 x 575) of beautiful daylight at 110 or 220V because of "auto >sensing" ballasts.

I've used the Satellight-X before and it's a very well thought out, location friendly light - easier to get up and down stairs, through doorways, etc. than a Kino FLo wall-o-light plus you can draw power from four different lines in case you're shooting w/out a generator.

Jessica Gallant
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
West Coast Systems Administrator, Cinematography Mailing List
https://cinematography.net


>See www.satellight-x.com for the general idea.

That's a pretty cool idea. If I wasn't spending all my money on a new reel

I'd price it out. That's going on the wish list.

Art Adams, DP [film|hidef|video]
San Francisco Bay Area - "Silicon Valley"
Dramatic License #CA14886


I was a bit concerned about the pattern from the "electrodes" (do note the quotes).

I think it is more a R and D device at this stage.

Steven Gladstone
New York Based D.P.
www.gladstonefilms.com
East Coast CML List administrator


>plus you can draw power from four different lines in case you're >shooting w/out a generator.

I was thinking that would be an advantage till I read this on the SatellightX page.

" · Use grounded circuits and plug both of the light's Edison plugs into the same circuit. If this is not possible, check polarity to see that both circuits used are wired correctly and that neutrals are not crossed."

Otherwise, I don't run onto 25 amp circuits on location very often (in the US.)

Steven Bradford
Collins College
Phoenix Arizona


Steven wrote :

>"· Use grounded circuits and plug both of the light's Edison plugs into >the same circuit. If this is not possible, check polarity to see that both >circuits used are wired correctly and that neutrals are not crossed."

"Otherwise, I don't run onto 25 amp circuits on location very often (in the US.)"

This may be mis-stated but the idea is clear enough, namely that you want the hots and neutrals to be consistent on both receptacles, whether they are on the same "circuit" or from the same "legs" in one building, generator, etc.

Jerry Cotts
DP/LA
Satellight-X, Inc.


Jerry Cotts writes :

>This may be mis-stated but the idea is clear enough, namely that you >want the hots and neutrals to be consistent on both receptacles, >whether they are on the same "circuit" or from the same "legs" in one >building, generator, etc.

Good advice.

Crossing a neutral with the hot leg, or crossing a ground to a hot, or crossing neutral to ground, or a missing ground. is not good no matter what lights you're using.

Simple cheap and easy to use plug-in receptacle polarity/ground checkers are available at most hardware stores, and should be used before plugging anything into a unknown
outlet.

Brian Heller
IA 600 DP


>Crossing a neutral with the hot leg, or crossing a ground to a hot, or >crossing neutral to ground, or a missing ground. is not good no matter >what lights you're using.

Well now I am not a gaffer. I am a DP, but I would have thought that far more important in an unknown situation is to be sure that the sockets are all on the same phase. If you pulled from two different parts of an unknown building, cross phasing could easily happen. OK - in the US the penalty for this can be spectacular and noisy but not especially dangerous. In Europe however this can happily expose one to 380 volts and in the UK 450 volts. Not to be highly recommended.

Which puts me in mind of Frank Ives. Fellow Brits may remember Frank who, back in the seventies, was Jim Axtell's best boy at Isleworth studios. When fitting plugs to practical cables Frank use to "skin" the sleeving with his teeth. He abandoned this dubious practice after surviving doing it by mistake to a cable whose other end was plugged into a 240V socket. =8-O

Thankfully it didn't affect his good nature.

David Macdonald


>Crossing a neutral with the hot leg, or crossing a ground to a hot, or >crossing neutral to ground, or a missing ground. is not good no matter >what lights you're using.

Just to underscore the wisdom of the above statement, here's a story of what happened on an American Idol audition in NYC I shot for the second season.

We were shooting in a hotel ballroom and the Audio guy, who was travelling with Idol, plugged his power strip into a quad box from the lighting tie in. Apparently he used a mis- wired cable. The breakers in his DAT and mixer popped, but the Distribution amps had no internal breakers and melted, which sent 110w, 20A through the XLR cables into the Beta-cams. 3 Sony 600s up in smoke, and I mean actual smoke. I heard my camera go, my head was against it at the time. (not my personal camera mind you, though the guy who owned the cams was there and showed notable restraint in the aftermath).

The cameras had damage to multiple boards and the finger pointing was epic. Everyone wanted to blame the lighting company, but the audio guy had just grabbed a cable and plugged in without asking. The insurance companies are likely still suing over it. Always check the power.

Christopher Seivard
DP/600/NYC&PA


Of course they have been withdrawn by Arri because the 19 pin connectors didn't survive handling by sparks on location.

Look for the Mk2 soon!

Cheers

Geoff Boyle FBKS
Director of Photography
EU Based
www.cinematography.net


David Macdonald writes

>Well now I am not a gaffer. I am a DP, but I would have thought that far >more important in an unknown situation is to be sure that the sockets >are all on the same phase.

Technically speaking if the individual light sources in the multi-source fixture are wired independently then connecting the unit to sockets on different phases isn't likely to be a problem. Think of the traditional IWB (Internally Wired Bar) in a theatre. It's got several lights on it with their sockets fed either directly from a dimmer rack or from a patch panel. In both instances there might be more than one phase on a bar, but unless you open two lights simultaneously and stick your fingers in their lamp holders you are unlikely to experience a phase to phase shock situation.

The only real hazard that could exist in plugging a multi-source fixture into different circuits in a building is the joining of all the earths. If there was a significant potential difference between earths from two wildly different sources then there is a risk of high current flow in the earth wires.

This scenario is relatively unlikely if sockets within a common area are used.

Clive Mitchell
http://www.bigclive.com


Is this light http://www.satellight-x.com for sale or only for rent based in the cloudy UK ?

Rolfe Klement


>The cameras had damage to multiple boards and the finger pointing >was epic. Everyone wanted to blame the lighting company, but the >audio guy had just grabbed a cable and plugged in without asking.

Can you really blame the audio guy for using what he expected to be a standard cable?

It's the person who wired that cable wrongly that is responsible. Why should the audio guy have to do a complete electrical check on every cable he uses? (Apart from the routine workshop based inspections.)

Clive Mitchell


Clive Mitchell writes:

>Can you really blame the audio guy for using what he expected to be a >standard cable? It's the person who wired that cable wrongly that is >responsible.

That's not going to get your gear back.

Many Americans might remember the distinction between blame and responsibility from one of President Nixon's more famous speeches.

>Why should the audio guy have to do a complete electrical >check on every cable he uses? (Apart from the routine >workshop based inspections.)

In a perfect world, he shouldn't. And you should always get what you order at a take out restaurant. But alas....
It's very inexpensive insurance to check for correct polarity.

And since Arri and Panavision have opposite 24 vdc polarity, it's not a bad idea to check the polarity of unknown batteries as well.

Brian "A Platinum is a very expensive polarity tester." Heller
IA 600 DP


Clive Mitchell writes:

>The only real hazard that could exist in plugging a multi-source fixture >into different circuits in a building is the joining of all the earths.

I don't know how things are where you are Clive, but I have often seen electricians testing an outlet or an extension by plugging a light in. The light goes on, everything must be OK, right. Or with a little neon tester.

If the circuits in this Arri lighting fixture share a common ground, and if the neutral is bonded to the ground, then an outlet or extension miswired hot to neutral will create a dead short.

There are still many places in the US, older private homes for instance, that still use unpolarised two wire outlets. Even if these two wire systems are polarized, many are incorrectly or inconsistently wired.

I have had some of my most memorable experiences with electricity while sitting on a dolly. Fisher dollies are equipped with a three wire cord for charging the hydraulic accumulator; however, the ground pin can fold out of the way for two wire systems, this is a great convenience for the dolly grip. Add a correctly wired eye light on the camera or an ArriGlow and the fun begins.

I've learned to get off the dolly while recharging.

Brian "Why is this Panaflex smoking?" Heller
IA 600 DP


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