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ARRI Orbiter – packed with features

What’s new? Everything!

ARRI Orbiter is an ultra-bright, tunable, and directional LED fixture from ARRI. All systems in Orbiter are completely new and designed with versatility in mind.

Changeable Optics

Changeable optics is the core innovation in Orbiter. With a wide variety of optics to choose from, Orbiter transforms into the perfect light for your application without sacrificing beam, output, or colour quality. The Quick Lighting Mount (QLM) in Orbiter allows for optics with vastly different properties to be connected to the fixture.

Say hello to ARRI Spectra

Including a red, green, blue, amber, cyan, and lime LED, the ARRI Spectra six-colour light engine translates into a wider colour gamut, more accurate colours, and most importantly, higher colour rendition across the entire CCT range.

Powerful Software

Orbiter is able to take advantage of over five years of software development for the SkyPanel. Orbiter’s new software called LiOS (Lighting Operating System) includes all the innovative and groundbreaking features from SkyPanel plus others, making Orbiter one of the most fully‑featured luminaires on the market.

Visual Impact invites Mediatech 2019 attendees to short film screening

Through experience and focus Visual Impacta leading provider of digital broadcast solutions – has developed its ability to handle large scale reality TV broadcasts over the last 16 years.

“We have worked on some of the largest reality television series such as I Am a Celebrity, Fear Factor, Survivor, Big Brother, Idols, You Deserve it and The Bachelor to name a few,” said a representative of the company. “To increase our scope on set and our differential advantage we have developed cost-effective fibre solutions allowing us to have connectivity and functionality over several kilometres and – on occasion – have integrated up to 40 cameras.”

Visual Impact’s fly away reality TV systems are renowned for their ability to bring a full-scale studio anywhere a client might need – from city to jungle. Nowhere has this ability been challenged as much as with the recently-completed season of Survivor in Samoa. Working on a remote island with periodic cyclonic storms and 40 km per hour winds challenged both the Visual Impact team and the equipment.

Survivor is the longest-running reality TV show in the world. This challenging show demands a lot from crew and equipment as it is often shot on rugged and remote islands like Samoa and the Philippines. For the first time ever ARRI Skypanel lamps were used on a Survivor series to light Tribal Council and the reality scenes – the team at Visual Impact opted for the versatile Skypanel S120, S60 and S30 lights.

One of the unique and very well developed features of the Skypanel are the built in lighting effects. Explosion, welding, paparazzi and fluorescent flicker are options available over and above the other 17 pre-programmed lighting effects. Explosion is the perfect effect for gun muzzle flashes and explosion effects. Welding mimics the sparks of a high intensity welding source. Process sends light shooting down the surface of a SkyPanel to imitate the effect of a street light passing over a car and finally the fluorescent flicker effect recreates the hum and flutter of a malfunctioning fluorescent bulb. The favourite cop car lighting effect has over five different colour combinations. These user-friendly effects make the lights very versatile and attractive to Directors of Photography.

Visual Impact is at Mediatech Africa 2019, currently taking place at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg until 19 July. The company has put together a short film that shares the experience of using the ARRI Skypanels in Samoa in extremely challenging conditions. The film also features interviews with key players from the series as well as stunning footage of the breathtaking Samoan landscape.

To view the short film head over to the Visual Impact stand (G12) where it will be playing on a repeat loop for the duration of the three-day show.

ARRI WVS Software Update Package 4.3.28

The ARRI WVS Software Update Package (SUP) 4.3.28 is shipping with all ARRI Wireless Video System components: integrated HD video transmitters inside ALEXA LF and ALEXA SXT W cameras, Wireless Video Transmitter WVT-1, Wireless Video Receiver WVR-1, and Wireless Video Receiver small WVR-1s.

Support for Wireless Video Receiver WVR-1s

WVS SUP 4.3.28 supports the new Wireless Video Receiver WVR-1s. A transmitter with WVS SUP 4.3.26 installed is also compatible with a Wireless Video Receiver WVR-1s but the WVR-1s will prompt the message ‘Please update software’ on the monitoring output. ARRI recommends updating all WVS devices to WVS SUP 4.3.28.

Download here.

ARRI launches ALEXA Mini-LF camera

At this year’s NAB Show, held in Las Vegas from 6 to 11 April 2019, visitors got their first chance to view the new ALEXA Mini LF.

Featuring a large-format, 4.5K sensor within a small camera body, the ALEXA Mini LF boasts three internal, motorised FSND filters (ND 0.6, 1.2 and 1.8), 12V power input, extra power outputs, a new Codex Compact Drive, as well as a new MVF-2 high-contrast HD viewfinder.

Large format, small camera

Jeff Loch, writing for cinema5D, explains: “The new ARRI ALEXA Mini LF features the same large 25.54 x 36.70 mm sensor as the ALEXA LF. This ALEV 3 A2X sensor is a bit larger than “traditional” 24 x 36 full-frame sensors. In terms of specs, the maximum resolution available is 4.5K (4448 x 3096 ) at up to 40 frames per second. If you need higher frame rates, you can go up to 90 frames per second in 2K resolution. The camera can record internally in MXF/ARRIRAW or MXF/Apple ProRes onto Codex’s Compact Drives.

“Part of ARRI cameras’ reputation is the “look” of the image,” he continues. “Colors are natural, skin tones are beautiful-looking, the highlights roll-off is smooth and there is low noise in the footage. You can even use the Mini LF for High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Color Gamut (WCG) scenarios.”

In terms of ruggedness, the entire camera is spray- and dust-proof. The body is made of resilient carbon fiber, and it has a specified temperature range of -20° C to 45° C.

“The ALEXA Mini LF is relatively small and compact,” Loch points out. “It has the same dimensions as the ALEXA Mini, except for the media bay on the camera’s left side. The Mini LF weighs 2.6 kg, body and LPL lens mount only. The new MVF-2 viewfinder that goes with the Mini LF weighs just 800 grams.”

“New creative possibilities”

In the company’s words, “the ALEXA Mini-LF brings exciting new creative possibilities to ARRI’s large-format camera system.”

Among other features, the camera promises:

  • Immersive large-format look
  • Lower noise with higher usable sensitivity
  • Highest dynamic range of any production camera
  • ARRI color science for natural skin tones, easy color correction and clean VFX
  • Perfect for High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Color Gamut (WCG) displays

The ARRI ALEXA Mini-LF camera is currently available at leading South African suppliers such as Visual Impact.

ARRI, RED, Sony? Local industry pros pick their favourite cameras

SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE: The common consensus is that the production values of South African films have developed significantly in recent years. We’re seeing a wider variety of shots in a more diverse array of settings, greater experimentation with low-light shooting and a consistent output of great-looking films.

But what specific cameras are driving this success? A quick look at the equipment employed by this year’s Oscar-nominated films reveals a heavy bias towards ARRI cameras, and in particular the Alexa series (The Shape of Water, Get Out, Mudbound, Blade Runner 2049, The Darkest Hour), with only Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Phantom Thread (Panavision Panaflex) and Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk (IMAX MKIV) bucking this trend.

Does this preference also hold true for South African filmmakers?

When discussing his favourite pieces of equipment, Bruce McLaren-Lyall, senior editor (3D and Post) at The Ergo Company, is passionate about the role of the camera in the process of filmmaking:

“When you think about it, the camera is like an actor on set; arguably, the most important actor. And just like if a lead turns in a dud performance, if the camera is not doing its job, it doesn’t matter how great the script is, or how much potential the film might have had. It won’t connect with the audience.”

McLaren-Lyall goes on to explain that, from his position behind the editing desk, the job of evaluating cameras based on the raw footage he receives comes down to a “complex chain of three factors. Lighting and lenses, the camera body and the operator. You can get a sense of the lenses they’ve used and the lighting setup from the footage itself, and I work with footage coming in from different operators from all over the world. It’s a very delicate chemistry between those three factors, but – from my point of view – you tend to see certain camera bodies outperforming the others on a consistent basis.”

He is definitive in his appraisal. “The ARRI Alexas are unbeatable. On a consistent basis, the whole series – the XT, the Mini, especially when paired with Panavision lenses – gives beautiful depth, and incredible colour range in all kinds of lighting situations. You look at the raw footage and you immediately see potential in the grade; you don’t see problems. Other cameras I’ve worked with in post – like the Sony F65s and F55s, and the RED Dragons and the RED Scarlets – produce wonderful images, of course, but we go back to that chemistry between lighting, body and operator, and people just don’t seem to be able to get it as right as often. Maybe that means the ARRIs are more forgiving cameras, are more user-friendly,” he says. “But you can’t argue with the consistency and the quality of the images they produce.”

Meanwhile, Warrick Le Seur, one of the founders of Bounceboard Productions and a South African Society of Cinematographers award-nominated DoP, says, “I find that I always have a tendency to drift towards the RED range of cameras when given the choice. I think it’s the lightweight, compact bodies and easily-navigated touch screen menu that appeal to me. Although, there is also the ARRI Mini, which is an amazing camera – providing the user with ARRI’s incomparable colour science in a compact body – but I think by the time it came out I was already deep into my love for the REDs. I prefer to work on a lighter camera that won’t break my back at the end of the day but can still give me the image quality I desire, and this is where the RED brains excel for me. My ideal camera needs to be able to fit into every corner I find myself shoved into, as well as to easily switch from tripod, to gimbal, to crane or even to drone.”

Le Seur goes on to say that, “Resolution is also an important aspect for me. I feel that so much is done in post these days, allowing that extra resolution for some play in the post-production room can help a lot, especially during VFX. This is where the 6K capabilities of the RED Dragon, or the 8K of the Helium and Monstro sensors, really stand out from the rest.”

Amy Jephta – a director whose short film Soldaat won the 2017 KykNET Silwerskerm Award, and whose debut feature, Ellen, will hit South African theatres later this year – explains that although she is not particularly “technically minded”, when it comes to selecting equipment, she “likes for film to look like film. There’s something about the material nature of film that works with the style I enjoy: stark naturalism, an almost documentary feel, an organic grain that feels looser and more tactile. Like if you reached out and touched the picture, there would be texture to it. I don’t personally feel that the kind of work I want to make (intimate, close, emotional) is served by the edge and tight grain of digital. But although every filmmaker would love to, it’s not always possible to shoot on film, so I’m interested in how a cinematographer can achieve the same equivalent look and feel, toning down the sharpness of digital. My short film was shot on an ARRI Alexa Classic fitted with Zeiss Super Speeds, and that got very close to what I wanted to achieve.”

With some exciting rumours circulating about camera developments in the second half of 2018 – including new models from Sony and Blackmagic, as well as the release of the RED Hydrogen (a cellphone which promises to display “4V Holographic Video” content, and which will allow users to control RED cameras wirelessly) – it will be interesting to see which cameras remain at the vanguard of South African film production.


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