An interview from the 2016 National Association of Broadcasters Convention in Las Vegas with Mike Wagner of ARRI. ARRI is the world's leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of motion picture camera, digital intermediate (DI) and lighting equipment. The ARRI Group comprises a global network of subsidiaries and partners that covers every facet of the film industry, including worldwide camera, grip and lighting equipment rental through ARRI Rental; turnkey lighting solutions through the ARRI System Group; lab services, postproduction and visual effects through ARRI Film & TV; and film distribution through ARRI Worldsales. In this interview Mike talks with us about the latest Firmware Update 2.0 for the ARRI SkyPanel which is available now free of charge.
From the outset, part of the promise of the SkyPanel included firmware developments that would enhance the feature-set after purchase. SkyPanel Firmware 2.0 is the first release to deliver on this pledge, bringing 10 exciting, new features and several refinements:
Rosco/Lee Gel Libraries
Already able to create a vast number of colors, the SkyPanel with Firmware 2.0, can now emulate a wide variety of well-known lighting gels. The SkyPanel’s calibrated light engine reproduces color filters more accurately than a lighting console and enables users to select familiar gels in seconds via the on-board controls or through a new DMX protocol. SkyPanel gel libraries comprise Rosco and Lee filter categories that include color corrections, party colors, Rosco CalColor, Storaro Selection and many more.
Low End Mode
SkyPanel is known for its impressive output, but with camera sensors becoming more sensitive, the ability to produce good quality low light levels is also important. Low End Mode enables SkyPanel to generate accurate CCTs with high color rendition and smooth dimming at very low light levels. Finer control over the entire dimming range expands SkyPanels applications even further.
Tungsten sources have endured for more than 120 years because of their excellent light properties and attractive dimming behavior. In the new Tungsten Mode, SkyPanel can mimic the dimming curve and strike on-and-off effect of a traditional tungsten lamp. The CCT warms as the light is dimmed and when the intensity drops to zero quickly there is a short afterglow of warm light. This mode is perfect for mixing the SkyPanel with tungsten sources or for producing a familiar effect.
DMX Fan Control
Fans on the SkyPanel provide cutting-edge cooling that allows the LEDs to last for a long time and prevents CCT shift during usage. Even at less than a whisper-quiet 20dB, fans can become a sound problem on the most sensitive sets. For added control and to eliminate any sound issues for delicate installations, the SkyPanel fans can now be set to different modes or even turned off for short periods of time, directly via DMX. The SkyPanel will always protect itself from damage by turning the fans back on at a very low level if the LEDs get too hot.
Firmware 2.0 increases the number of SkyPanel dimming curves from one to four, allowing different dimming behavior for specific applications. The exponential curve provides fine control at the low end of the dimming scale, while the logarithmic curve allows for better control at the high end. The ‘S’ curve gives both high and low end dimming fidelity, but limited control in the middle, and the linear curve gives a one-to-one translation of the output to intensity level.
Remote Device Management (RDM) Implementation
An increasingly popular feature in advanced lighting fixtures, RDM is now fully implemented in the SkyPanel. This two-way communication between the fixture and the console saves time by facilitating control of many SkyPanel functions from the ground, including DMX address and protocol, fan mode, temperature sensor readings, display settings, IP address and special modes.
Lighting communication protocols and data infrastructures continue to evolve and change. Art-Net provides DMX-512A and RDM functionality over Ethernet network protocols. Art-Net is fully implemented in SkyPanel Firmware 2.0, allowing an expanded range of network devices to be used in building a complex lighting rig.
Save Error Logs to USB
If an error should ever occur, SkyPanels are easy to diagnose and service with the automatically generated error log. This error log can now be exported to a USB stick, bypassing the need to connect the fixture to a computer.
Save/Load Presets via USB
With the SkyPanel it is possible to store and recall up to 10 different user presets, enabling the creation of a color palette for a particular production. It is now possible to save these presets to a USB stick and transfer them to another SkyPanel, making them more sharable and versatile.
Save/Load Settings via USB
SkyPanel Firmware 2.0 speeds up the process of configuring individual fixtures on large SkyPanel rigs by allowing all settings to be exported to a USB stick and transferred to another fixture. The DMX protocol, fan mode, dimming curve and many more settings can be loaded in a matter of seconds, with minimal menu navigation.
The innovative features provide an added level of control making the latest SkyPanel seem like a new fixture – and this is just the beginning. For SkyPanels predating manufacture dates of Apr. 18, 2016, installation of Firmware 2.0 is quick and easy.
This update is now available, free of charge at www.arri.com