Due to the enduring popularity of its ARRILITE range, ARRI recently released two new incarnations of these traditional, open-faced lights. The compact, lightweight ARRILITE 750 Plus and ARRILITE 2000 Plus have been completely redesigned, offering improved functionality, simplified maintenance and rugged durability. Lighting expert Craig "Burnie" Burns, founder and CEO of Burnie's Grip and Lighting - the largest grip and lighting company south of Los Angeles - was an early adopter of the 750 Plus and here gives an account of his first shoot with the 2000 Plus.
I recently had the opportunity of working with the new ARRILITE 2000 Plus and it was a great lighting experience. To say I'm impressed is an understatement!
I got a call from director of photography Chris Phenix. He was working with director Robert Jolley on a project for a non-profit health organization called Live Fit Revolution. The piece was to deliver one-line statements on the debilitating effects of obesity; it was a very strong message. Robert wanted to shoot in a blacked-out studio with one light source and do three different shots for each statement: a wide shot seeing the whole stage with the talent sitting in a director's chair; a medium shot; and an extreme close-up. He wanted the light to be hard, with no diffusion. I consulted with Chris and we selected the ARRILITE 2000 Plus because we needed the punch from across the studio and the ability to light evenly at a distance. We made the right decision; the ARRILITE 2000 Plus performed flawlessly.
When I received the 2000 Plus it came straight out of the box and was put to work. I needed to globe the lamp so I grabbed my screwdriver to remove the safety screen; as I looked for the removal screws I found that the ARRILITE 2000 Plus has a hinged safety screen with a pressure latch. The safety screen released and closed very easily, and the spring-loaded light socket made applying the globe to the lamp a quick and easy process. Small things make a big difference on set; the ability to change a globe within minutes takes a lot of pressure off the gaffer and the entire production.
Another thing that immediately struck me was the weight of the instrument. It has been designed to be compact and ARRI has reduced the weight of the aluminum body. I was also impressed by the heavy duty switch it came with. Every equipment owner knows that the switch is something that always gets used and is vulnerable to impact. It's clear that the ARRILITE 2000 Plus switch can stand up to real-world conditions.
When I mounted the 2000 Plus on its baby stand and locked it into position, it felt good and solid. It comes with the ARRI True Blue disc break technology that locks the light in place securely, and any lighting technician will tell you that having a light stay where you put it is one of the best things that can happen to you on set!
Along with the lighter weight, ARRI has designed an aluminum housing that allows for better heat distribution. Not only does the head stay cooler, making it safer to work with, but ARRI has added a heatproof handle on the back to make adjusting the light a breeze. Also, with a light as bright as the 2000 Plus, being able to easily adjust the top latch to put in or remove scrims, or to put on or take off the barndoors quickly, is a big bonus. ARRI's top latch does just that - being spring-loaded, it just pulls up, turns and opens.
Of course the big game-changer is the ARRIMAX reflector, which makes the light dramatically efficient. It has a very bright wide flood that can fill a room, and a very intense spot setting for when you have to light at some distance. ARRI has really been listening to the end users on set; everything in the design of the ARRILITE 2000 Plus makes life easier for the set lighting technician.
We get a glimpse during the filming of ARGO, directed by Ben Affleck and shot by Rodrigo Prieto ASC, AMC on ARRICAMs, ARRIFLEX 435, ARRIFLEX 235 and ALEXA.