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Old November 24th, 2011, 12:51 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
Singing the praises of the Arri M18

No matter what LED manufacturers would have you believe, HMI is far from dead. We are only starting to see high power LED units and still there are CRI issues to contend with. No matter how sensitive cameras become (and some are becoming startlingly sensitive), there are times when one has to battle daylit interiors and exteriors and balance to high light levels, or fill large bounces or frames.

The relatively new Arri M18 is a truly amazing instrument. At upwards of $8K, it's not going to be a stocking stuffer for most readers here, but for those who occasionally rent small HMI packages, it's worth discussing. This is an 1800w unit, a fairly unusual size falling between the traditional 1200 and 2500 HMI units (it can take a 1200 globe also). It does have some unique features taken from it's big brother the Arrimax 18.

It is theoretically in the class of a PAR but the reflector design results in a light pattern more comparable to a Fresnel--the shadow pattern is not perfectly defined but quite close. Certainly much more linear than a PAR. It has a very wide focusing range, from 20 to 60 degrees, and the resulting change in output is almost startling. In addition, there is a 50-100% dimmer control on the ballast.

Theoretically one could plug this into the wall, like a 1200w unit. Many household outlets are rated for 15 amps so this is a bit dodgy. You should be OK with industrial rated electrical systems. I've heard varying reports of success with plugging this into house power. Certainly it could be delamped down to 1200 for this purpose.

In terms of output, this unit is simply amazing. It easily matches the output of a standard 4K par and possibly better. I had it alongside a 12k par on a car rig recently and was astounded to see this unit producing more lumens (albeit through thinner diffusion and a smaller beam) at the same distance. Simply put, it's punchier than heck, and with a wider beam pattern than a typical PAR.

I've fallen in love with this sucker and honestly I'd buy one if I could pay it off (but with the slash and burn rental rates on G/E in Los Angeles, no such luck). Regardless, it will be a standard item on my rental list from now on.

ARRI Group: M18
Charles Papert
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Old November 24th, 2011, 04:51 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Sydney.
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Re: Singing the praises of the Arri M18

Great stuff thanks Charles. Have you ever thought about running some classes on lighting?

2 or 3 days with practical tuition, more if you throw in stuff about cameras. Add a visit to some studios to round it out to 7days. Maybe even a deal with accommodation, keep everyone together for the night class, stop 'em wandering off.

There'd be a big roll up from here, although in my case the cost of the 28hr round trip would blow out that Arri :)

Hey! maybe you could do it all on line here with Chris?

Interested to see the M18 down under .. thanks again.

30+ years with our own audio and visual production company and studios.
Allan Black is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 26th, 2011, 10:52 AM   #3
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Re: Singing the praises of the Arri M18

Thanks Allan--I used to teach Steadicam but now that I'm out of that, it might be interesting to pick up the concept with lighting seminars. Will have to consider that.
Charles Papert
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