DP Nigel Akam on the ARRI M18

DP Nigel Akam on the ARRI M18

Nigel Akam is a Toronto-based director of photography with over 18 years of experience in taking a cinematic approach to shooting on video. His work includes local and international projects shooting commercials, corporate communications, drama and documentaries for broadcast series in single and multiple camera set-ups. This extensive variety has helped him develop high production value with in an efficient manner.

Assante Spot Featuring Serge Savard

Assante Wealth Management commercial featuring hockey legend Serge Savard was lit with the ARRI M18 with

Recently Akam shot a commercial lit with the ARRI M18 fixture. Known as the "brightest HMI you can plug into the wall," (single, 20A 120VAC electrical outlet on a single circuit), the M18 is a lensless, open face lighting fixture that combines the desired light distribution from the optics of a PAR and a Fresnel fixture. Here, the DP tells us how the M18 helped him overcome shooting limitations on this production.

“I was shooting a commercial for Assante Wealth Management in Montreal with hockey legend Serge Savard. We were shooting Serge in the penthouse suite of a hotel in Old Montreal. Director Amy McConnell wanted soft light wrapping around the face. Although it was a penthouse suite we were limited in how much space we had for lighting, and a Pee Wee and track because we had a wider frame to start with. I used one ARRI M18 to do a book light on Serge bouncing off the wall and through an 8x8 silk. The second M18 was bulbed down to a 1200 and we created a dapple lighting effect using one of the sheer curtains in the suite against the brick wall over 12 feet away.


When my gaffer and package truck owner Hugo Roy said he had M18s, I was excited. I used an M40 on a Fairmont Hotels golf spot in the summer and loved it. The M18s are great.

Nigel Akam DP Reel

Nigel Akam’s cinematographer reel.

Power and flexibility. Lots of punch so we could be big and soft with our book light in a smaller space, and power through sheers to end up being subtle on our background 12 feet away. Flexible by allowing us to plug into building AC. We didn't have a tie-in or genny so we used a splitter my gaffer had for the light.

The ARRI M18s gave me the flexibility to create the quality of light I needed, and power to balance exposure with my south-facing windows even with some ND.”

Nigel Akam
Director of Photography