The ARRI M90 - packing a punch
Production is ramping up on the M90, the latest addition to ARRI's popular M-Series of advanced HMI lighting units. The M90 introduces a new power class for daylight fixtures at 9,000 W, which is exactly half the wattage of the ARRIMAX 18/12 and just over double that of the M40/25. With the M18 at the lower end, the M-Series now offers a versatile range of eight evenly-staggered wattage options from 1,200 W to 18,000 W.
LA-based gaffer Cory Geryak makes regular use of the ARRI M-Series in his day-to-day work on major features such as THE BOURNE LEGACY and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. "For HMI I am almost exclusively using the ARRIMAX, M40 and M18," says Geryak. "I've stopped ordering 6K and 12K PARs, which is why I'm anxious to start using the M90 to fill that gap."
Like all M-Series lampheads, the M90 is equipped with MAX Technology, a unique, patented reflector design that unifies the advantages of a Fresnel and a PAR fixture. The unit is open-faced and very bright; it is also focusable from 16° up to 49°, producing a remarkably even light field and a crisp, clear shadow. ARRI technology partner Osram developed a new 9,000 W lamp for the M90, which is stable at 1,000 Hz and almost as small as the 6,000 W lamp that can alternatively be used. This allowed ARRI to design the M90 in a very compact housing, barely larger than the ARRISUN 60.
"It's really exciting to have a fixture that's close to the size of a 6K, but with this kind of punch," says Geryak. "I did a side-by-side test with an 18K Fresnel and on my meter I was getting the same amount of light, if not more, out of the M90. For most applications what I'm looking for is punch, so to have just as much punch with a fixture that is smaller, weighs so much less, and with so much less amperage, is extremely useful. When we're dealing with weight restrictions on Condors, to be able to put more fixtures in the basket and have even more output is a huge benefit."
By eliminating the need for spread lenses, M-Series lampheads speed up workflows on set and reduce the risk of lost production time due to glass breakage. "Not using lenses on the HMIs is a big plus because it's less hardware to carry around and the fixtures are lighter without the weight of the extra glass," explains Geryak. "They fit on the carts better and it's faster to make adjustments on set because you don't have to change lenses. It's also safer because you don't have electricians trying to pull hot lenses out of lights."
ARRI's Michael Wagner shows us the EB 6000/9000 along with the M90/60, an exciting fixture in a new power class at 9,000 W -- exactly half the wattage of the ARRIMAX and just over double the wattage of the M40/25.
Accompanying the M90 is a new ballast, the EB 6/9 kW, available in standard and high speed versions. Like other recent ballasts from ARRI, it features CCL (Compensation for Cable Loss) technology and the power-saving ALF (Active Line Filter). The EB 6/9 kW is DMX compatible and no bigger than ARRI's existing EB 6000 Baby ballast.
"The fact that the ballast is interchangeable between 6K and 9K is a big deal, especially now that the newer digital cameras are so sensitive," says Geryak. "Let's say we have a situation where we tie-in to a building instead of running generator power. The electrical box isn't enough to power a 12K, so you get the 9K in there, but suddenly you can knock it down to a 6K for cases where you have even tighter amperage; that's very useful. Also, high speed ballasts are starting to become more important with the high speed HD cameras. Up until the M90, 4K was the largest wattage high frequency ballast out there, so it's such a benefit to have this availability now. This is the biggest, brightest unit you'll find with a high speed ballast."
Geryak concludes, "ARRI is so ahead of the curve; when the ARRIMAX came out, that set a new standard. I can't wait to get hold of the M90 and have something in between the ARRIMAX and the M40. There are so many applications that I can imagine using this fixture for."