Apr. 12, 2023

DP Victoria Panero on the benefits of working with ARRI Orbiter

Argentine cinematographer Victoria Panero ADF is passionate about exploring the latest LED lighting equipment. With the ARRI Orbiter, she found “a lighting fixture that unites all features.”

Apr. 12, 2023

Since the emergence of LED lighting in audiovisual production, the industry's expectations have grown along with more and more sophisticated technical advances. In recent years, cinematographers have eagerly awaited a luminaire that could focus beams of light and allow for greater directional control to achieve a desired image.

Among the professionals who closely follow the emergence of new tools that fully exploit LED technology, Argentine cinematographer Victoria Panero is at the front of the line. Having 25 years of experience as a DP and educator, she has directed films such as “Amor a mares” (2012), “Birds of Paradise” (2007), and documentaries like “Paco Urondo, la palabra justa” (2005) and “¿Quién mató a mi hermano?” (2019). Her latest project was the TV series “Tierra Incógnita” (2022) for the streaming platform Disney+. She is a member of the ADF in Argentina and ABC in Brazil. Sitting down with ARRI, she talks about her passion for LED lighting, “the magic of the path of light rays,” and the advantages of working with the ARRI Orbiter.


DP Victoria Panero is passionate for LED lighting on set, especially the ARRI Orbiter

“The best thing that you can do when creating experiences on set is to pass them on. It’s the most valuable thing you can have, and it is the way in which we all enrichen ourselves,” says Panero, who in recent years has participated in numerous projects for Disney+. It is exactly in these TV and miniseries that she has tested and continues to opt for the ARRI Orbiter. In her definition, it is the most sophisticated luminaire on the market.

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Victoria Panero ADF


In Orbiter I found a light that unites all features, from the quality of the LED to directional control and portability. Its form makes it very practical for use and transport.


The ARRI Orbiter's form factor makes it an easily adaptable fixture and expands its possibilities during a shoot

When it comes to naming all the benefits of the luminaire, the director finds many points to address. “The saturation values the Orbiter achieves through LED color processing seem incredible to me. And in addition, the dimmer offers several alternatives to work the intensity, in exponential, logarithmic, linear, or curve mode.”

With regards to punch, she compares it to ARRI’s M8 light, but additionally offering the entire range of color temperatures “which you can rely on due to the excellent LED quality.” She adds: “What I can do with ARRI equipment is not possible with other brands. I can create a specific color tone with third-party tools (Rosco's Mixbook) and transmit that information to the Orbiter which then delivers exactly that color.”


“The saturation values the ARRI Orbiter achieves seem incredible to me,” says DP Victoria Panero

One of the Orbiter's biggest innovations are its interchangeable optics. They deliver the perfect light for any application without sacrificing the quality of the beam or the color. With the Quick Lighting Mount (QLM) adapter, Orbiter can quickly connect optics with very different properties. “Practicality and speed in changing optics allow us to transform one luminaire into another without even having to move it. This saves a significant amount of time on set, which is never very abundant,” notes Panero.

ARRI’s Open Face Optics produce a high-performance directional beam for three different angles, 15°, 30°, and 60°. “These are three super interesting options. The 15° is my favorite because I found many ways to play with it,” she adds.


DP Victoria Panero (center) with the production team and the ARRI Orbiter during the filming of “Tierra Incógnita”

While shooting the suspense series “Tierra Incógnita” for Disney+ in 2022, the ARRI Orbiter played a leading role: “We had to shoot a scene in a cemetery where the characters exhumed a body clandestinely. They drove into the cemetery at night in the rain and lit the action with the red taillights of their car. To simulate the direction of the light, we used two Orbiters on a low base, allowing us to create more intrigue in the scene,” she relates. For the same production, the crew simulated sunlight with the 15° optic in a close-up of one of the characters. This was to recreate a situation of sunbathing on a beach, all done in a studio. “The Orbiter is very versatile. I found it very useful and that fascinated me.”

By using the ARRI Orbiter, it was possible to recreate sunlight…


…or the closed darkness of night in “Tierra Incógnita”


The Orbiter is also equipped with an extensive lighting effects generator, easily controllable and adjustable. In “Tierra Incógnita,” the effects were great collaborators for the director. “We were easily able to reproduce lightning with separate fixtures that were synchronized between various windows,” says Panero. “We used the fire effect for a scene that takes us back 300 years to a cave with no daylight. The basic source of light was fire. We found a trick that allowed us to mix the fire and candle effects and we were able to create the sensation of fire movement in different parts of the scenery.”


Domes were the cinematographer’s favorite accessory while shooting “Tierra Incógnita”

Of all Orbiter accessories, DP Panero's favorite while shooting “Tierra Incógnita” were the domes: “I used them to recreate moonlight. I tried to achieve an overall nocturnal light without producing too many strong shadows but still having the necessary light value to convey that dark-night feeling. We achieved this with the dome and a minimum intensity, with the lantern barely at two percent power. That gave us a sense of dark night but with a pale light,” she explains.“The fixture allows you to create both a ray of sunshine and an atmosphere of almost shadowless darkness. It has both extremes, and that is very difficult to find in a single unit.”

For DP Victoria Panero, the Orbiter is not only a sophisticated lighting tool, but also very easy to use. “You don't need to spend hours in order to find its best performance. It’s possible to learn how to control it in a short time, whether from the control attached to the fixture or from the remote,” she says. In addition to its usability, the Orbiter offers the broadest range of temperature and color. In the words of Victoria Panero, “this fixture is capable of a super-demarcated directionality or can be as soft as you will ever want. The color science is perfect.”


In “Tierra Incógnita,” the ARRI Orbiter lighting effects were great collaborators for the director