‘Game changing’ is an oft-overused phrase in the industry, but ARRI’s new modular SkyPanel X is without doubt impressively all-singing and all-dancing.
ARRI’s (IBC stand: 12.F28) new SkyPanel X — the all-weather LED luminaire and the latest addition to the SkyPanel family — is being introduced as a modular system configurable into different sizes, offering native soft, native hard, and open-face lighting.
With prices starting at $5,750, it’s certainly got a decent spec. SkyPanel X provides superior low-end dimming with flicker-free operation from 100% to zero percent for direct, close-distance key lighting. With a dynamic CCT range from 1500 to 20,000 K, the luminaire can emulate the characteristics of both sodium lamps or cloudy sunlight, while the RGBACL full-spectrum light engine features the best ARRI lighting color science to date, which is some claim, enhancing skin tones and achieving deep color reproduction.
Eight pixel zones per LED panel should meet the requirements of advanced console programming, visual effects, and virtual production environments. It is also fully protected from rain, storms, or high-pressure jet cleaning and is certified with an IP66 rating for all weather conditions. This dramatically reduces the maintenance procedures and extends the lamphead’s lifecycle. SkyPanel also X offers wireless control, advanced networking possibilities, and an integrated power supply.
A modular experience
First, a bit more about that modularity.
SkyPanel X is configurable into different formats (landscape, square, vertical) and is capable of generating wide-aperture soft light, powerful hard light, or intense open-face light. Multiple units can be combined via the X Modular Yoke, featuring ARRI’s quick-lock system.
Three front attachments are available for SkyPanel X, which natively fit to one single unit: the X21 Dome for native soft light, the S60 Adapter for all existing SkyPanel accessories, and the HyPer Optic for native hard light.
The X21 Dome — included with every lamphead — provides native soft light. It can be used close to talent while at the same time giving perfect lighting from greater distances without losing a solid beam spread. The hot-swappable, rounded diffuser can be quickly mounted and dismounted from the lamphead’s front. The X21 Dome is fully compatible with third-party accessories and modifiers.
Via the optional S60 Adapter, SkyPanel X users can apply the same techniques and choose accessories used on the classical SkyPanel line. Established SkyPanel workflows remain unchanged but are enhanced by incorporating recent lighting innovations.
The HyPer Optic — named after its high-performance lux output — is an optional, hot-swappable lens with eight individually controllable pixel zones that can be quickly mounted and dismounted from the X21 lamphead’s front. With the HyPer Optic, SkyPanel X becomes an excellent tool for medium and long throws and collimates multiple single lenses into one single beam.
With SkyPanel X’s modular setup, users can choose between, easily swap, or combine the X21 Dome and the HyPer Optic, creating a soft, semi-soft, semi-hard, or powerful native hard light.
Control and connectivity
SkyPanel X offers plenty of possibilities for control and connectivity, including built-in wireless control, two Ethernet ports, LumenRadio CRMX2, and Bluetooth 5.0. The IP66 rating also applies to the all-weather Control Panel.
SkyPanel X runs on the new LiOS3 software. The Lighting Operating System (LiOS) combines and expands on the innovative features of ARRI LED lights. Highlights of LiOS3 in SkyPanel X include DMX Mode Spec. 6.0, DMX User Presets, array setup for multi-unit control, and three ARRI ALEXA Modes, supporting the color science of ALEXA 35 and previous ALEXA or AMIRA camera systems.
The new ARRI LiCo app will support direct remote communication via Bluetooth between SkyPanel X and mobile devices. The lighting settings can be directly adjusted via phone or tablet, just like the ALL-WEATHER Control Panel of the fixture. The app is free for iOS and Android devices and will be available soon at the App Store and Google Play Store.
For precise virtual lighting simulations, SkyPanel X also offers a digital twin. This ARRI-exclusive technology transforms cinematic lighting workflows from pre- to post-production. Featuring 3D models, authentic characteristics, and intuitive interfaces, it boosts efficiency, consistency, and creativity in production environments.
SkyPanel X is available in blue-silver and can be pre-ordered as single products or predefined kits. Additional colors and accessories will follow soon.