What is your current job and function?
I am a Lighting Console Programmer for the motion picture industry. I primarily work on large feature films but have occasionally programed for other events as well.
How long have you been working in this position?
I’ve been in the business for twenty-six years. I’ve been behind a console for the last twenty years.
Did you work together with ARRI before?
The cube rig was the first time I ever did a job just for ARRI.
What were your requirements?
ARRI wanted to demonstrate the range of the SkyPanel by showing off its ability to project soft cinematic colors that would mostly be used on television and film sets and then seamlessly transition into more of a party color or concert style lighting. The main requirement was to be able to program looks on the fly and to be able to do this quickly.
What features of the ARRI SkyPanels have been important to you for this video?
The SkyPanel features keep growing, and I think that is one of the most important aspects of the light. There are always new features around the corner. My favorite feature has always been the ability to set a specific color temperature and then easily crossover to the full spectrum of the RGBW LEDs. This was groundbreaking when I first saw it on the L7-C. Now, everyone is copying what ARRI started. DoPs and gaffers love the various ways that the fixture can be controlled.
What have been the major advantages of using the SkyPanels?
The most obvious advantage of the SkyPanel is its versatility. We crewmembers discuss this a lot. I even had conversations with ARRI people when I was in Munich about why the SkyPanel is so popular. The popularity and overwhelming demand for the SkyPanel was not something that many could have predicted. I believe I heard that the initial thought was that filmmakers would want to use this light around camera. So many thought that there would only be a need for around twenty or less on a shoot. The fact is this light takes the place of so many other lights we used to use in the business. Key light, fill light, back light, top light, ambience, and effect light. The list goes on and on. All of these used to be done with conventional lighting, like tungsten fixtures and fluorescents. The SkyPanel does it all. Not only that, it gives something that DoPs had never had before. It gives them color control on the fly.
Back in 2003, I did a movie called LEMONY SNICKET. We had one rig with over 1500 space lights hanging in it. It required thousands of dimmers and numerous generators to make that rig work. It was hot and we were constantly changing out burnt out lamps. There were only two things I could do with those lights, I could dim them or save individual bulbs. That’s it. These rigs will never happen again. SkyPanels have taken over for large overhead ambient light. I’m finishing up AVENGERS 3 and 4 right now, and we’ve had rigs with nearly 300 SkyPanels overhead. This is the reason why SkyPanels are in such demand. Yes, they are great for key light around camera, or a nice fill light, but the massive overhead ambient light was never thought of when these lights first came around. When I first saw the SkyPanel, I knew it was the end of an era in motion picture lighting and the beginning of another.
Was there anything that was only possible to shoot or realize with the help of the SkyPanels?
I have to go back to the seamless transition between Kelvin control and party colors. There are plenty of lights that give you one or the other, but to really see something different, the SkyPanel is the only choice.
What was the major challenge in this project?
Time. I did not have a lot of time to prep this with the actual rig. Mostly because I was in Atlanta prepping AVENGERS while the rig was going in, and then I flew to Munich just a couple of days before filming began.
Was there anything that surprised you?
During the early planning stages of this shoot, I had seen the previews and plans for the rig. I saw how many SkyPanels were in the rig, but it wasn’t until I stood in front of the actual finished product that I was surprised. Surprised at how amazing it looked and how unbelievably bright they were.
Which was your best moment on set?
The multi-colored mosaic look was surprisingly very simple but also the most hypnotic. It was elegant but fun.