On set with the ARRI M90
On this commercial shoot for Würth I got the opportunity to use the M90 for the first time, and to investigate its features and benefits. I was preparing a fairly normal lighting list, which included fixtures such as the ARRILUX 200 Pocket PAR, a couple of 6 kW ARRISUN 60s, the ARRIMAX 18/12 and every other available lamp size from the ARRI M-Series. Just as I was finalizing my list, I got a call from Philipp Mielke, the head of Electric Sun lighting rentals, who asked whether I would like to test the recently arrived M90.
So, I tried out the M90 over the course of two days at four locations: a construction site, a car repair shop, a joiner's workshop and a real Würth store. In fact, I only used the M-series lampheads on this shoot, and the lensless system allowed us to work very quickly and efficiently. I could adjust the light intensity through simple focusing and easily adapt to different situations.
Our first set was the construction site, which had extremely bad access and not enough space for lighting stands. Construction work was continuing throughout the shoot, which made it almost impossible to properly light the set. There were only a couple of suitable positions for the two M90s I had, and for the ARRIMAX fitted with a 12 kW lamp, but the ability of these M-Series fixtures to focus down to a very narrow spot meant I was still able to get enough light and accurately illuminate the actors.
The car repair shop was like a dark cell, due to the thick frosted glass and the few fluorescent lights. I decided to put our two M90s and the ARRIMAX outside, and to illuminate the set through the window. We were shooting a 280° angle of view, so there was barely any room to put lighting equipment inside. Fill light had to come in from outside, which I achieved by placing a pair of M40 lights low on the ground and pointing them towards the interior ceiling. I did manage to put two M18s inside and punched them through a thick diffusion frame, creating a homogeneous, natural-looking light that brought up the levels enough for the camera to film the outside through the roller doors.
I am totally satisfied with the M-Series and the M90 fills the gap not only with the lamp power, but also with the handling and workflow.
The carpenter's workshop had a large window down one side, which gave me the opportunity to illuminate through it with a key light made up of the ARRIMAX and the two M90s. The opposite side of the workshop was lit by three M18s coming through a high window. Due to their very good spot, the M18 lampheads gave me maximum light intensity even with the large distance and the small channeling through the window. Gentle fill was provided by stretching a silk canvas across the window. The overall result was completely natural and we could move freely inside, using nothing more than light diffusion frames and white bounce to brighten the backlight.
Generally I am totally satisfied with the M-Series and the M90 fills the gap not only with the lamp power, but also with the handling and workflow. The ARRIMAX requires at least three people to work with it effectively and to build it up quickly on the set, whereas the M90 provides the benefits of the ARRIMAX and can be quickly prepared for set by just two people. A four-man team can actually set up two M90s in the same time that is needed to prepare one ARRIMAX, which means double the amount of lamps and thus more possibilities, without more effort.
Another huge advantage is that on very tightly scheduled shoots with many changes of lighting setup, you can decide whether to install a 63 A or 32 A power network, depending on the time available and the lamp performance required.