M-Series feedback from the field

The M-Series comprises ARRI's most innovative daylight lighting fixtures, all of which feature the unique, patented MAX reflector first introduced with the Academy Award-winning ARRIMAX 18/12. MAX Technology enables lens-less, focusable lampheads that unify the advantages of a PAR and a Fresnel, providing maximum light output.

On MANIFESTO, a highly acclaimed 12-screen video installation by the Berlin-based artist Julian Rosefeldt that features Cate Blanchett playing 13 different characters, cinematographer Christoph Krauss BVK and his gaffer Christoph Dehmel relied on ARRI M18 lights.

"There was not much time for elaborate rigging so we needed quick and easy solutions," says Dehmel. "That's why we chose to have M18s on our lighting truck. They are very versatile to use, both directly and bounced, and you don't have to lug lenses around. They also produce an enormous output of light, equivalent to 4 kW when fully focused, but you can just plug them into a domestic socket so there is no need to lay power cables." 

An experienced gaffer whose movie credits include PHOENIX and MR. MORGAN'S LAST LOVE, Dehmel tends to use M-Series fixtures through a soft grid cloth or a thin curtain, even when creating sunbeam effects. He comments, "I also like to bounce them off a big Styrofoam or a butterfly, because the wide range between the spot and the flood positions gives me optimal control."

Krauss notes, "I first used the ARRIMAX 10 years ago to light a railway station interior; we needed a powerful source that we could diffuse and punch through a huge window to light a big hall and cast a single shadow. It worked perfectly. From that moment I was convinced about the advantages of MAX Technology and it has been great to see ARRI develop a whole family of well-designed M-Series fixtures, drawing on their decades of experience. The M18 in particular has been in my standard lighting package from the moment it was released."

Gaffer Björn Susen's recent projects include the feature films HITMAN: AGENT 47, ALONE IN BERLIN and A CURE FOR WELLNESS, on which he worked with the entire M-Series range. "I love the M-Series and I wouldn't do a film without them," he says. "They are so versatile, easy to handle and have a bigger output and smoother light field, which really makes life easier on set. It's fantastic that the MAX reflector design means we don't need heavy lenses anymore, which often used to get broken."

For Susen, the fact that the M-Series covers such a wide range of power classes makes the fixtures a go-to solution for almost any shooting scenario. "The M-Series family encompasses just what you need on set and covers all application needs," he says. "I use the M8 a lot on commercials and features because it is a small, flexible light but still very bright. The M18 is a workhorse that should be on every set, especially where the space and power supply are limited. I often use the M90 with a 6 kW lamp because the output is still very high, and the ARRIMAX is fantastic because it has enough punch to 'over-light' a little, which makes simulated sunlight much more realistic."