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Working with HMI Lighting: Arri M Series

  • August 10, 2016
  • Shane Hurlbut, ASC
Working with HMI Lighting: Arri M Series

In today’s article, I’m going to talk about how I light day exteriors and how I use specific types of lights to light day exteriors. The tried and true par light is the one I used in my gaffing days, it was everything. This light may be small, but it packs a punch. I used it to bounce into whites, to make hot spots in the background, and to fill up big white bounces to be able to bring soft white light through windows. I used this light for all sorts of different applications. Today, I’m going to compare the classic par light, to the power of the Arri M-Series lights.

LTM Cinepar 1.2K HMI PAR:

First let’s start with the par light. The par light has a lens that controls the spread of light, which slides in right in front of the light. This lens gets very hot, and there are different lenses to change how much your light spreads, and each lens is 6-10 inches in diameter.

Different lenses for the par light
Different lenses for the par light

 

Here I am taking out a narrow lens from the LTM Cinepar 1.2K HMI PAR.

Sliding out the lens, this is a narrow lens
Sliding out the lens, this is a narrow lens
A narrow lens
A narrow lens

 

Check out how that narrow lens shapes the spread of light.

Notice the narrow spread of light on the white created by the narrow lens
Notice the narrow spread of light on the white created by the narrow lens
The par light with no lenses
The par light with no lenses

Next we’re going to look at the super wide lens. This lens is great for when you’re doing bounces that you really want to spread a lot.

Super wide lens
Super wide lens

Notice the even spread of light on the white created with the super wide lens.

Notice the even field of light created by the super wide lens
Notice the even field of light created by the super wide lens

 

The light without any lenses
The light without any lenses

 Next we’re going to look at the super wide lens. This lens is great for when you’re doing bounces that you really want to spread a lot.

shane hulrbut super wide lens working with hmi lighting arri m series
Super wide lens

 

Notice the even spread of light on the white created with the super wide lens.

shane hurlbut super wide lens working with hmi lighting arri m series
Notice the even field of light created by the super wide lens

Compared to the par light without lenses, the super wide lens spreads the light evenly and the light has a much wider spread.

shane hurlbut super wide lens working with hmi lighting arri m series
The light without any lenses

A great thing about the par light is that you can change the angle with the par light. So if I want to go horizontal, I can do that. Here I’m demonstrating changing the angle of light with a wide lens:

shane hurlbut wide lens
Horizontal light spread with the wide lens
shane hurlbut Horizontal light spread with the wide lens
Vertical light spread with the wide lens

Par lights have been around for a long time, but when you use them, you need to wear gloves because the lenses are hot and you’re constantly changing out the lenses. So let’s move to the future.

Arri M-Series Lights:

The future is Arri M Technology. It is not only a par light, it is probably one of the most efficient par lights on the planet, and it requires no lenses. . Today, I’m using an Arri M8 to compare to the 1.2K LTM Cinepar. The Arri M8 is only 800 watts, and the par light is 1200 watts. However, the Arri M8 gives you just a bit more output than the 1200 par.

shane hurlbut arri m8 light
I am holding the Arri M8 light

Let’s take a look at this and compare what the Arri M8 looks like when compared to the par spotted in at the same size. Here’s the par’s light spread with a narrow lens:

Notice the small spread of light from the par
Notice the small spread of light from the par

With the M8, here is the spread of light, spotted in at the same size as the par’s narrow lens:

Arri M8 spotted in at the same size as the par. Notice the wider light spread
Arri M8 spotted in at the same size as the par. Notice the wider light spread
Side by side comparison of the par vs the Arri M8 light
Side by side comparison of the par vs the Arri M8 light

By looking at the image above, you can see that the Arri M8 on the right has just a bit more output than the par. If I go in with my light meter, I’m getting f.22 with the par, and f.22 and a half with the Arri M8. So I’m getting a half of a stop more out of the M8.

Now let’s take a look at color temp as well. The Arri M8 read at 6000 K, and the par read at 7550. The difference in color temperature may be because the bulb’s are not the same age. However, the one thing I found with the M-Series is that it is very consistent with its color temperature.

No Need For Lenses!:

The Arri M-Series consists of the Arri M8, Arri M-18, Arri M40, Arri M90, and Arrimax 18/12, which are all lense-less lights! With these lights, I don’t really need gloves anymore either because I don’t need to change any lenses to flood or spot my light.

Arri M-Series Lights
Arri M-Series Lights
Arri M-Series Lights
Arri M-Series Lights

You can change the flood and spot with a knob in the back of the light, with absolute ease.

flooded all the way out
shane hurlbut flooded arri m
Spotted in about 50%
Spotted in about 50%
Spotted all the way in
Spotted all the way in

With this amazing spot and flood control, you can dial in exactly how you want your light when lighting your subject. Look at how I’m being lit. I’m being lit with an M40, that’s bouncing into an 8×8 ultra bounce frame that’s reflecting that light. You can flood your light all the way out, or spot it in to change how the light looks when bounced. This is how I use par lights, I take these lights and bounce them into ultra bounces.

Notice the M40 bouncing off of the ultra bounce to illuminate me
Notice the M40 bouncing off of the ultra bounce to illuminate me

The Arri M-Series lights are also great for backlight, if you want to use them in a backlit scenario. In the Shane’s Inner Circle article: “Day Exteriors: When the Sunlight Is Too High, How You Shape and Light A Close Up With Artificial Light: Part 5,” I go into how I used an Arri M40 to cheat the sun artificially to create a nice light backlight for Monette. I was able to create the backlight to the exact angle we wanted it, with the accuracy and the same stop as the sun to perfectly match and manicure the light on that scene.

Screengrab from Shane’s Inner Circle article: “Day Exteriors: When the Sunlight Is Too High, How You Shape and Light A Close Up With Artificial Light: Part 5”
Screengrab from Shane’s Inner Circle article: “Day Exteriors: When the Sunlight Is Too High, How You Shape and Light A Close Up With Artificial Light: Part 5”
Screengrab from Shane’s Inner Circle post: “Day Exteriors: When the Sunlight Is Too High, How You Shape and Light A Close Up With Artificial Light: Part 5”
Screengrab from Shane’s Inner Circle post: “Day Exteriors: When the Sunlight Is Too High, How You Shape and Light A Close Up With Artificial Light: Part 5”

Conclusion:

So, in conclusion, the LTM Cinepar lights pack a punch, but the future of this technology goes to the Arri M-Series lights. To use the Arri M-Series lights, you don’t need gloves because there is no need to change lenses to control the spread of light. These lights are easily controlled with a knob, so you can spot or flood your lights to the exact amount you like with absolute ease. You can use these to create a nice backlight or bounce these babies into ultra bounces to illuminate your talent. You can also get a bit more light out of them and they are very consistent with their color temperature. These lights have many different applications and will help you execute your specific look.

All videos were edited on HP Z840 workstations using HP Z24x DreamColor monitors.

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