ARRI SkyPanel Firmware 4 Tunes Up Colour, Effects and DMX Controls

ARRI skypanels firmware4a

SkyPanel Firmware 4 updates make ARRI's lights more versatile and easier to control for gaffers, lighting designers and programmers. Extended Color Control, for instance, has eight new adjustments to push the colour in the desired direction until the right look is achieved. Users choose a colour to begin with, such as a digital gel, HSI value or colour temperature. The new colour parameters, accessible via the onboard DMX control panel, are warmer/cooler, saturate/desaturate, and more or less red, green, blue, cyan, magenta and yellow.

Light Engine DMX Control

Each SkyPanel is made up of one or more light engines. The S60 has two light engines, and the S360 has 12 light engines. Firmware 4 makes it possible to control the individual light engines via new DMX modes. Each light engine acts as its own mini SkyPanel with parameters like CCT (correlated colour temperature) and RGBW, HSI (hue-saturation-intensity colour model) or x,y coordinates. This precise level of control enables new programming options with SkyPanels.

RGBW comes from adding a white chip to the standard RGB LED strip, which uses red, green and blue chips. Although RGB can produce a colour close to white, a dedicated white LED produces a purer white tone and gives the option of an extra warm or cool white chip. The extra white chip also increases scope for colour mixing with the RGB chips to create a huge range of unique shades.

ARRI skypanels strobe dmx

The previous SkyPanel Firmware 3.0 added a RGBW Calibrated Mode with a set white point of 3200 K. In the new Firmware 4, this white point can be set anywhere from 2800 K to 10,000 K. A user-selectable white point means SkyPanel RGBW output can be customised to any other light source’s white point.

Lighting Effects

SkyPanel Firmware 4 increases SkyPanel’s range of lighting effects. Explosion, welding, process and fluorescent flicker have been added to the list, making 17 pre-programmed lighting effects. Explosion was developed for muzzle flashes and explosion effects. Welding mimics the sparks of a high intensity welding source. Process sends light down the surface of a SkyPanel to imitate the effect of a street light passing over a car - this effect works especially well with the S120. The fluorescent flicker effect recreates the hum and flutter of a malfunctioning fluorescent bulb. The police car effect, applicable to many productions, has been augmented with five new colour combinations for different locations.

Strobing, one of the most important effects of the SkyPanel lighting. To make it easier to access, one of the reserved DMX slots at the end of every DMX mode has been turned into a strobe channel. Regardless of the colour mode in use this colour can be strobed without having to change to the lighting effects DMX mode.

Live entertainment and theatrical performances require completely smooth dimming to zero, which creates natural lighting transitions for live audiences. The new Stage Mode in SkyPanel Firmware 4 is designed to make SkyPanel practical in live entertainment, dimming down to zero percent intensity without colour jumps or noticeable intensity drop off.

Independent DMX Mode

ARRI skypanels dmx control

In the past, choosing the right SkyPanel DMX mode for a project would force a choice on one or two predefined colour selection methods. For example, if colour temperature control and lighting effects were needed, this would require a change in DMX mode. With the Ultimate DMX Mode in SkyPanel Firmware 4, this is no longer necessary. The Ultimate DMX Mode allows any control method to be selected within one DMX mode. Once the colour method - CCT, HSI, lighting effects and so on - is selected, the DMX parameters will adjust to accommodate the selected control method. Only one DMX mode is needed.

x, y Coordinate Mode can be very convenient for recreating an exact match to a colour point measured with a spectrometer. In SkyPanel Firmware 4, this mode can be controlled via DMX and can now also be adjusted using the onboard control panel. Once the desired colour point is reached, it can be stored it in a preset to access later.

The SkyPanel Web Portal, used to adjust a SkyPanel over an Ethernet or WiFi network, is redesigned for fast navigation. New control interfaces cover all aspects of a SkyPanel directly from any web browser, and new monitoring capabilities also give an in-depth view into all DMX functions.

When receiving a DMX signal, the SkyPanel clearly displays detailed DMX information directly on the control panel, including DMX mode, address and channel count be easily read. The SkyPanel now displays lighting values for the DMX signal it is receiving as well, and makes the conversion from DMX values to real world light output values by calculating the math internally – a useful tool when troubleshooting DMX issues.