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Orbiter-The Ultimate Choice For Every Creative Cinematographer

The orbiter is the latest most advanced technology of the lighting industry created by Arri for all kinds of film sets and shooting situations. Providing an ultra bright fully tunable and directional led fixture, all systems in the Orbiter are new. Engineers took what they learned from the Skypanel series as well as user feedbacks and really redesigned this light to answer a lot of the things that we’ve been looking for.

It is really important to note that Orbiter is more than a single fixture. As we go through all the offerings you will discover how much can be done with this one light, so if you’re an owner, operator or a rental house or a gaffer, you know having an orbiter in your truck really allows you to have a light of any kind.

Let’s talk about some key features with the Orbiter and then we’ll take a closer look at the structure of the light itself.

In terms of key features, the orbiter has a completely brand new color science. It has a six-color light engine which allows for a wider color gamut. It is much closer to rec 2020.

Changeable Optics

Another amazing key feature with the Orbiter, is the changeable optics. It has a really quick and easy mount to change optics all the way from open face to soft boxes. So in a matter of a minute, you can change your mood and the look & feel of your scene’s light.

The efficient directional beam of open optics can be used to scatter light over long distances. Due to the high precision of the projection optical system, Obiter can create a perfect aperture, which can be shaped with cutters, spotlights and hoods. The dome optics provide soft omnidirectional light, which can well illuminate large spaces. The universal QLM adapter creates a straight connection point for certain Orbiter Chimera and DoPchoice products.

The Brain

The core of Obiter is the Spectra six-color lighting engine, with a wide range of ARRI colors, and a lighting operating system (LIOS) with powerful software functions. It has a built-in color sensor for ambient light, weatherproof housing and an intuitive removable control panel. There are also various connectors and sensors, internal power supply, wireless DMX and battery input. Orbiter is a combination of software and hardware. The white or colored light emitted by the orbiter has an adjustable color temperature and an adjustable green-magenta point. According to ARRI, the spectrum has been optimized for excellent color reproduction and perfect interaction with digital cameras.

According to ARRI, Orbiter’s concept has always been to combine cutting-edge technology with a universal design to create the best print head that performs well now and in the future. The Orbiter designed by ARRI is very smart. Because it relies heavily on software, it can continuously improve and improve equipment through software updates. The versatile nature of the orbiter also allows it to be connected to a variety of optical devices, including projectors. turn on. , Dome and light bank. ARRI recognizes that people usually use their products for many years. The key to gaining market acceptance is to create something that will work not only today but also in the future. In order to invest heavily in lighting equipment, you want the lighting equipment to last a long time, especially in rental housing.

The Design

In terms of design, Orbiter looks like an ALEXA Mini, or a baby SkyPanel! Many of the devices we see today look very similar, and there is really not much innovation in this area. But the appearance of the orbiter is completely different from all what we’re used to see.


The efficient directional beam of open optics can be used to scatter light over long distances. Due to the high precision of the projection optical system, Obiter can create a perfect aperture, which can be shaped with cutters, spotlights and hoods. The dome optics provide soft omnidirectional light, which can well illuminate large spaces. The universal QLM adapter creates a straight connection point for certain Orbiter Chimera and DoPchoice products.

The days when lights were just lights are over. Do you remember the earlier Fresnel lights like the Arri 650 & 1000? They consist of the main electric and mechanical features to deliver a limited type of light, like one color, one brightness, and maybe a changing beam angle. But today, with new technologies evolving rapidly, huge upgrades have hit the lighting manufacturing industry, leading us to see many modern devices being a perfect combination of hardware and software, and the Orbiter represents the greatest and smartest choice for any cinematographer and lighting designer seeking a machine that serves any lighting situation. Most of these inventions are intended to live long in the future of the industry. The key to longevity is to create products that can be updated over time. Lighting technology is improving rapidly, and no one wants to buy a light that will become obsolete in a few years.

Processor & Electronics

The electronic system is completely new and much more powerful. The orbiter’s processor is four times faster than the Skypanell series and also has 125 times more memory. Another feature to point out is the newly designed and advanced software. We’re going to take a closer look at a couple of things that the software allows you to do. Arri refers to this as the lighting operating system, or LIOS. And last but not least Arri also made sure that it has the ability for future-proofing. So regardless of whether technology evolves with different optics to be mounted in front of the lens, or any updated configuration or software enhancements, Orbiter has a lot of future-proofing capabilities.

The Orbiter’s Structure

The orbiter is an LED point source versus an array like the Skypanels or the L-series with a front lens. This allows for a much brighter output and has more than 20 000 lumens and it’s similar to the ARRI L-10 in terms of brightness which only draws 400 watts of power. That’s the same for the Orbiter and it’s similar to a 2000 watt tungsten light. Can imagine how bright this LED light can be?
What’s amazing is that this is all done with a very small chip that is about the size of a coin.

Regarding the structure, they have designed it to be ready for onset heavy use by adding side bumpers and rubber feet. We can also add a skid as an accessory.
The yoke is really great; it’s removed and put back on in seconds, and completely tool-less. The other great thing about it is the quick lighting mount, so in the front of the Orbiter there is a quick lighting mount or QLM as Arri refers to it, which you’ll notice works like the PL Mount.

On the QLM there is a five-pin digital interface that allows for reading and writing to the optic so the orbiter actually knows what type of accessory is on the front of the light. In addition, there is a 5-pin limo connector added by the QLM. This is again for future-proofing for other accessories if you need external power.

Now let’s talk about the size and weight of the light. The Orbiter is a little over 11 kg and it has both a back handle and a top handle for easy carrying or taking on and off a truck. They also help a lot with holding the light for creative and moving shots. On the back of the light comes the great control panel that gives access to the light features. This panel can either remain mounted on the light itself, or be taken off to be used from distance with a 5 or 15meter cable.

The light itself is also weatherproof, and another nice new feature is a shock absorber on the top handle.

Orbiter’s Connectors-the Ins & Outs

First we have the SD card; this is for future expansion of software and metadata. This will be really exciting in the future because with the QLM electronics, we’ll be able to save the metadata so we’ll know when each accessory was used and how. |

– Next we have the USB-C port. This is mainly for servicing and for computer communication.

– The next two are traditional USB ports.

– Next we have the 5-pin xlr.

– Next we have the EtherCon port.

– And the last connector here is the Sync Connector this is to allow for sync with a wide variety of cameras to have frame accurate flashing of the light output.

-The orbiter also has built-in wireless including Lumen Radio’s CRMX solution for wireless dmx communication.

Power Options
You’ll notice there is no external power supply. So another great thing about the orbiter is that it has a built-in internal power supply and it’s very lightweight. You can also use a battery that’s been regulated for 48 volts with a 3-pin xlr.

Arri Spectra- the Ins & Outs

The orbiter’s new light engine consists of six different LED colors that were chosen to really compliment each other and achieve the best color rendition possible. Cameras react to light like the human eyes, and our eyes see colors differently. This feature allows filmmakers to use any camera in almost any lighting condition, since it makes different cameras see colors more accurately.
The six colors that are included in the spectra are:


This color science covers ninety percent of the Rec2020 that defines the higher standard image resolution formats, 4K and 8K. Rec2020 color space produces a much better color rendition than the previous Arri lighting fixtures, and in terms of skin tones, the new LED with the six colors can now create a more continuous spectrum especially for skin tones.

Accessories & Light Modifiers

As we already mentioned, the front of the Orbiter has a QLM or Quick Lighting Mount that enables you to quickly remove the optic you’re using and insert a new one. The five-pin digital interface of the QLM allows the Orbiter to immediately detect which optic is on the front of the light.

The open-face optics:
the open face optics allow for high output and a directional beam it allows you to throw long distances of light really even and you can even put barn doors on the front of it as well if you want to shape that light. There are three open face optics that produce high output with hard light resulting in a high brightness with hard shadows:

15º Open Face Optic

30º Open Face Optic

60º Open Face Optic

Arri offers a nice variety of softboxes so you can really change the light from the Orbiter into a completely different source than the open face optics. Arri offers a range of softboxes from different manufacturers like Dop Choice and others, including domes of three different sizes as well as light banks and snap bags and octave-fours with accessories as well a variety of barn doors and snoots.

Lighting Operating System (LIOS)

Now let’s take a closer look at the brand new software that Arri designed for the Orbiter. As we mentioned earlier this is the LIOS software or the Lighting Operating System. It has an increased number of color modes and effects.

So what those color modes are?
You’ll notice a lot of them are from the Skypanel series with additional add-ons.

Orbiter supports eight different color modes:

1- CCT mode which you’re familiar with in Arri’s previous lights. The color temperature range is actually even wider with this light however it can range from 2.000 to 20.000 kelvin

2- HSI or Hue Saturation Intensity mode

3- X.Y coordinates mode

4- Individual Channels Control mode (each of the six LED colors directly)

5- Gel Selection mode (Rosco and Lee gels )

6- Source Matching mode

7- Effects Plus

8- and the new Color Sensor mode to replicate ambient light

This mode is the most exciting since it allows you to replicate ambient light. A lot of cinematographers may work in locations where they have mixed lighting like incoming daylight with fluorescent or tungsten light. Now the Orbiter takes a continuous or momentary color sensor reading and immediately matches that light source.

The Arri Orbiter has created a new horizon for cinematographers to visualize their imagery, and I can assure that this smart head is becoming essential in every list and will be lighting up most upcoming film sets, just like the SkyPanel before it.

Arri, you always push boundaries beyond the extreme and add creative innovations that are changing the industry.


Picture of Shady Jamhoury
Shady Jamhoury
Cinematographer, Digital Marketer, Content Creator

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