The latest ARRI fixture, Orbiter, drove demand for lights at the end of 2020. “Everyone was chomping at the bit,” says McDonald. “My customers absolutely love the color science and the technology that a small matrix of LEDs opens up; it offers so many optic solutions.” He continues, “we’d love to see smaller and bigger optics sizes” adding that his customers are especially looking forward to more accessories like the Projection optics.
Even though the demand for LED sources is booming, HMI and Tungsten—especially the larger units, like ARRI’s M40 and T12, remain essential. “HMIs and large Tungsten won’t go away any time soon,” assures McDonald.
The gaffers his company supports, all of whom are involved in top studio projects, are “looking for versatile fixtures that can replace two or more units from their trucks as they scale to five tons and sprinters. If you can get a fixture like the Orbiter that can lower your footprint, that’s ergonomic.” When asked what trends he might see for 2021, McDonald comments, “The biggest trends for new fixtures coming to the market are harder light and more optics—and our customers are delighted. New fun and creative projects will be coming soon!”
At Pacific Backlot, a subsidiary of Vancouver Film Studios, General Manager Derek Hall reports his company serves the many clients that come through the studios’ 12 stages, facilitating lighting and grip needs. Last March, when COVID-19 hit, production came to a halt at
Vancouver Film Studios and Pacific Backlot. “During that period, we used the time to improve the facilities,” Hall remembers. In October, productions came roaring back. “We’re a 40-show town,” he says, referring to Vancouver. He continues: “In October, 60 productions started up. We had more work the last three months of the year than we’ve ever had. With the number of simultaneous productions, the demand for lights was quite high. I brought in gear from other places to help facilitate the needs of our customers.” Hall also notes changes in the lighting world: “The demand for LEDs is growing year by year. It’s not a trend anymore—it’s becoming the norm.”
At Pacific Backlot, Hall reports that they have purchased ARRI LED and Tungsten fixtures over the years to meet the lighting needs on Vancouver Film Studios’ stages. “This year, we diversified,” he says. “We want to be able to serve our customers off the lot, when they go on location. To do that, we additionally purchased a lot of HMIs last year and this year and we’ll be purchasing more.” Another fixture that will go out on location is the ARRI Orbiter. “It’s a versatile light,” says Hall. “One of the main features we all want is the Leko adapter. With that, we see it as an LED joker light.”