elcome to more stories and interviews on topics concerning our industry for 2017 and beyond. We await decisions on further erosion of the radio spectrum available ( not allocated ) to radio mic and talkback, and other announcements from this April at the NAB show. Until then, new products continue to appear, services develop and stories deserve to be told … so read on and enjoy. Ed
Keeping Up with the Play We are in the Auckland offices of Atomise with Andy Wild, trainer and engineer and very clever fellow – clever because he’s just explained Object Matrix to me. If you’ve been reading previous issues, when I go to NAB and IBC, I have had Object Matrix explained to me many times and it never really stuck. Now I can actually see how valuable it is. So if anybody’s in that bigtime data storage and retrieval area then, even though it’s not an Atomise product, they can supply it to you and I would say it’s pretty much a “must have”. But Andy’s got other gems for us today. Ed: Andy, these are the new offices in Manukau Road and there are a lot of empty desks. That’s not because you’re waiting for staff is it?
Andy is all smiles as he waits to train you.
Andy: No, we’re a training facility; we run operation courses for things like Media Composer, standard operation courses, 101s and 201s. Not only do we run operation courses, but we run engineering courses here for the likes of TVNZ and TV3, based round ISIS and Interplay as well. Ed: So you can run any training course that’s related to Avid, MOG or any of the products that you support?
Andy: Yes – so anything we supply we can pretty much train out of this particular office. We’ve got 6 desks here which are for students; we’ve got a dedicated trainer’s desk as well. Ed: But once you’ve trained all the big boys in Auckland ( and you’ve also got the training facility in Wellington ) what happens next? Where can you go to from there?
Andy: As an ex-teacher yourself Grant, you should know that education is a continual thing. Obviously, software releases are fast and furious; we’re literally receiving quite large and significant software releases on a bi-monthly basis and most of the training – particularly the engineering training – does require students to come back every 12 months for recertification. So, yes, it’s kind of a perpetual cycle. Engineers obviously move on and go into different roles, so again we get new engineers, as well as established engineers just recertifying themselves in the different releases. We’ve also got new hardware that’s just been released for the likes of NEXIS which is now going to supersede the Avid ISIS range of storage, so when people take those Nexis systems on board, we can train them in the best way of using and deploying those particular storage solutions. Ed: Where do you go for your training? Andy: There’s training offered by the manufacturers and we either take those remotely or Richard teaches us. It’s just making sure we keep pace with the manufacturers as well as the end user because the end user usually knows what they want. Ed: In the old days, you bought a box, you plugged it in and it worked. It did what it said on the dials and you pushed the right button and that happened. Nowadays, you get one box but it’s got a lot of software in it, so I guess that’s where the training has become more and more important to keep up with that software control? Andy: Yes, definitely. As we were saying before, dedicated boxes are becoming less and less and it’s all about configuration of the software, so unless you know which page to go to, or which submenu to go into, or even which number of softwares you need … so for example Interplay systems, the very smallest, even though it’s one physical box, there are 3 very distinct services that run on that. Unless you get those configured in the right way, then it just doesn’t function at all. And don’t forget some bigger systems like Interplays or MOG solutions, they’re a core server but they still require end user configurations as well, so it may well be that, even though we’re not a single Interplay environment, you could actually end up with
50 or 60 users on board. So not only is there the technical configuration of the actual Interplay itself, but then it’s making sure that the end users – the editors, the creative people, also understand how they interact with the technology to get the best from it as well. Ed: Now of course, a lot of this is for the broadcaster and the upper level production house, but there’s more and more requirement for material to go on the web. How is the product range that Atomise is able to offer covering the broadcast area but also providing for the growing range of web offers? Andy: I suppose, in a funny way, Avid is very much perceived as being a broadcast product, but actually the software is now very affordable – you know schools, colleges and universities have now got Media Composer available at educational rates. It is an industry standard but still, within Media Composer itself, there are lots of tools that are available now. For example, in some of the latest releases of Media Composer you can create custom raster sizes or frame sizes which are specific to the likes of YouTube, so you can then export them directly for YouTube content. Avid are doing quite a big push at the moment around the fact that this is a tool for everybody. Obviously it’s come from the professional end, but it’s definitely more affordable. On the flip side, let’s be blunt about this, the biggest player in that particular market is very much Adobe, so the likes of Adobe Premiere Pro is definitely gathering a lot of pace. It’s very affordable to people who must subscribe to it and end up having Premiere Pro out of the back of a requirement of wanting, say, Photoshop with the current CC model that they’re pushing. One of the things that we’re keen to say to people is “look, if your end product is Adobe then that’s fine, you can keep with Adobe that’s no problem at all, and that’s a very capable bit of kit, but if you want to work collaboratively as well, then the likes of the new Avid NEXIS range can take Adobe and Final Cut Pro or anything that is a non-Avid editing platform, and facilitate a collaborative workflow.” So there are kind of 2 things about it – it’s a question of how far you really want to go with your web content; there are some companies out there who want to produce web content and they’re very happy using
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Adobe but they want to make sure they’ve got their team of say 5 or 6 editors creating content and managing that content. So again, we can help facilitate that by giving a solution with a NEXIS system or a shared storage solution of some description. That then really helps them … again it’s all about people’s workflows and minimising the impacts on the fact that nobody wants to have duplicate files – “have you got that pocket drive Fred, because I can’t find this shot? No I gave it to Ian” etc. You know, it’s about managing things, putting it in one location and making data more accessible to everybody, and also giving them some kind of DR ( Disaster Recovery ) functionality. So even if it’s just a question like “oh, our workstation’s died, all my material’s lost, and more importantly my hard disc died” … if you’re storing assets in a central location, we can pick them up from pretty much anywhere and keep on going. Ed: So in other words, you can start off with a single version of Premiere but as soon as your operation grows to a point when suddenly, you need some sort of collaboration, then you can continue with your Adobe or EDIUS and you can add on to that an Avid solution that allows you that collaboration? Andy: Yes. NEXIS can facilitate the need for shared storage system on many platforms. It’s very cost effective, the bandwidths here are very, very good. We’ve installed a good 6 or 7 here in New Zealand already. Ed: In the situation where you are a small facility, you would output a particular programme to a format that was suitable for YouTube or whatever, but a broadcaster for example, might have programmes that have been sitting in the system for some time, suddenly a new codec comes out for a web-based offer, do you have to go back into your system and find all of those programmes and make new files at that new level, or do you have some solution that says “that’s fine, you
just access those and immediately online”?
Andy: There are kind of 2 answers to that really. One is to do with what value is that content? So for example, if you have stored some very high quality images and you made a high definition programme and you then encoded it to a very low bitrate, but you want to revisit that to give a newer high quality or a new wrapper or a new codec for that online delivery, then there are solutions where you can gather all your content again, place it in a particular folder and something like a MOG solution would actually look over those particular folders, pick the codec for you and then it can actually deposit that in the particular output folder and inform people. So there are automated procedures for that, but more often than not, from the quality point of view, it’s probably better to go back to your original source material to get the better solution, the better quality images. Again it depends – it’s kind of a chicken and egg – if we start off with a codec, we’ve got very low image quality, then we’re kind of stuck at that and we can never get it any better. Ed: So it’s not very good to upgrade standard def to high def for broadcast? Andy: Ideally no, it would not be the case, but then if that’s all you’ve got, then that’s what you’ve got. Funnily enough, I was talking with an old colleague of mine and we were discussing how film still has its place, very much so. Obviously film being cellular, it has no resolution to it, you can rescan that film at whatever resolution it needs to be. So I can pick up a film from 1910 and okay, the quality’s only as good as the film stock, but ultimately, I could scan that at 4K, 8K, 12K – whatever it needs to be, but the image is still maintained as good as the original quality. With digital acquisition, the codec you acquire at is your limit. There obviously is a reverse
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process – you can take a codec, expand it out to a fullblown uncompressed file to then re-encode again … Ed: But you can’t create new pixels? Andy: No you can’t, but then ultimately you can I suppose. There are technologies out there that allow you to actually analyse between pixels and create new pixels that didn’t exist, like morphing technology, a pixel to pixel morphing. Unfortunately, it always comes down to how deep your pockets are and more importantly how much time do you have. Looking at those 2 things, people’s pockets are not infinitely deep and people have very little time. So it’s kind of striking that median between those 2, getting a good compromise, a reasonable amount of time with a reasonable amount of money. There are solutions out there that, if you’re happy to wait for a couple of days, you get some great pictures; if you want a lot of content in a very short period of time, usually you have to throw more resources at that, and unfortunately throwing more resources means throwing more money. Ed: I see that’s the way it’s going – the budgets are reducing but the amount of content that is being made or put on offer out there is growing, so there’s less money chasing more content? Andy: That’s right, yes. Ed: What I want to lead on to there is so what are the solutions that you guys have got at Atomise that allow you to do that – and I guess it is the repurposing from that original high quality file? Andy: From our kind of arsenal we would pull out something like MOG which is a file based system. So just for example, it may well be ( and this a typical workflow for people ) if you were taking a myriad of either camera formats or finished programmes … let’s say I’m working on a documentary and I’ve decided that my working codec for the editors is going to be something like DNx185 for example, but I’m taking GoPro footage, I’ve got Canon 5D, I’ve got some 7D, I’ve got some old SD material. Then we can use the likes of the MOG Technologies and the SPEEDRAIL solution and what we can do there is we can park up material on a bunch of drives or on a NAS or a nearline solution, we can park the material there, we can get the MOG to crawl over there, it will homogenise all of those codecs, plonk it on to our shared storage solution, so NEXIS or ISIS of some description, and then our editors can continue without having to worry about what framerate this is, it’s all kind of corralled at the front end. So that’s “front end loaded” – that means all our effort going into the front of the system, so we’re actually corralling all of the media and making it into a single codec, which just makes life easier for the editors and also it means it’s a known quantity. This way, we can catch issues early rather than later. What we don’t want to do is have an editor slave away for 6 or 7 weeks and then when you come to output the file, it goes “I can’t get that from the tally, it looks all really wrong, I’m worried about the framerate.” So for us, MOG is a great solution that allows us to tackle pretty much any codec at the front end and Thomas Linder (on produce an homogenised
codec at the back end as it were. But yes, I think MOG’s been really popular for us. It sits for broadcasters, it sits in postproduction houses and from our point, it’s got pedigree behind it as well. It’s got a long cine reputation as well and it’s used for the likes of locally TV3 and TVNZ. Ed: But Andy we hear about these edit systems, and I’m sure Media Composer is included, that it will take anything on the timeline. You can put all that material there and edit away and you let the software sort it out for you, so why do you need all this fancy stuff? Andy: It’s very true – most nonlinear systems will allow you to throw any old tosh on the timeline and, no matter what framerate 29.97, or 25 or 24, that’s fine in the timeline, but when you want to actually export that out, then there arise other problems. There could be things like line pairing problems; there could be jitter in playback, because fundamentally, when you come to export that sort of thing, it’s exported in a nominated format. You will say “hey let’s make this HD 1920x1080 at 25 frames.” So whatever’s on your timeline yes, great, it will play it back on the timeline, but when you create your final programme it’s a little bit of a “suck it and see.” You don’t necessarily know how well it’s going to turn out, which again is why it’s really good to corral potentially. And again this is a time based issue, but it’s really great to corral your material front end, so that when you’re working with that content, you know that’s exactly the quality I’m going to get player export in my favourite format. Ed: Because it might actually export well in one particular codec, but in another one, nah, it all turns to custard? Andy: Exactly – that’s exactly the point. You’re in just a little bit of an unknown area, so if you can catch it earlier on rather than later and have to worry about “why can’t I get my half hour edit out, or why does my edit look so poor”, and then people just start playing with formats and framerates and kind of hope for the best and then end up just putting whatever they possibly can out, rather than getting the right quality they originally envisaged getting out. Ed: So if you want to know any more about this, pop on to the Atomise website and see what training courses Andy has available for you. Andy: Indeed yes, that would be great, thank you very much. NZVN
left), Avid Master Trainer, in Wellington centre.
Quality comes with Care at ARRI
close to this factory and, if we don’t get the quality or the parts that we need from nearby, then we go to different facilities that are further away.
Deep in the countryside south-east of Munich is the town of Rosenheim – and tucked away in a farming area not far from Rosenheim is the rather large lighting factory of the ARRI company. The buildings are surrounded by green fields, leafy trees and horses; all very calm and very conducive to the high quality work that goes on inside. Chaperoning me on a tour of the factory today ( in between gallops along the leafy lanes on his favourite fiery steed, “Lighting” ) is Mischa Krähling from the Service Department. Ed: Mischa, the place to start in any factory is Inwards Goods and that’s where we are because Inwards Goods leads straight into the warehouse where you keep all the parts. Now, is this just an assembly factory or are you making parts here?
Ed: Can you give me some idea of the number of weeks of stock that you hold. What’s your lead time for production? Mischa: We keep high runners in stock. Others would require 4-6 weeks lead time. Ed: It’s important, especially for repairs, that the people in New Zealand know that, if something’s broken and they need a part, you keep stock on a regular basis here. Do you do repairs here as well? Mischa: Yes we do. We have quite a nice service department with 2 technicians for electronics and mechanical repairs, but also, we are working closely with the production teams so that, if we require more resources, we give these fixtures to production. They are faster because they’re building these fixtures every day and they have special holding machines for the parts and so it’s easier for them. Ed: And I imagine some customers have dropped theirs from great heights? Mischa: Recently we had one customer, I don’t know where he was based, but he had some big ARRIMAX’s underneath his Genie Lift and they were fitted under the platform. He wanted to go down and down to get out of this platform, so he pushed the button and he wanted to go deeper and deeper, not realising that the fixtures were under him – so they came to us quite bent. Ed:
More oval than round?
Mischa: Definitely more oval than round – they were clearly egg shaped. Ed: Okay. What’s the production process – is it a “just in time” or do you do batch production? Take an L7 for example – how many L7’s would you make in one run?
Mischa drew the “short straw” as my guide.
Mischa: We used to make some parts on our own, but today, this is just an assembly facility.
Mischa: Based on forecasts and customer orders, we load batches into production eg 10 pieces.
Ed: Right. So where do your parts come from – all over Europe, all over the world?
Mischa: Mostly all over Europe and many are even close by. We have many mid-sized manufacturers and partners here in the Rosenheim area but also from around Europe as well.
Right, so which part are we in here?
Mischa: This is the part of the ARRI factory where we build lights starting from the ARRI 150 Tungsten Fresnel up to the M40 Daylight, so 4K power class in daylight – and 5K power class in tungsten fixtures.
Ed: Any cottage industries, any mums and dads making little pieces on their kitchen tables? Micha: This is a family business but no, there is no home manufacturing. Ed: I know with some companies, it’s very important that parts are sourced locally because, it’s not only good for the local industry, but it means that you are much closer to your source and it’s much quicker to get parts? Mischa: This is especially important for us in our wish to maintain quality. We are close by and we visit our manufacturers, our suppliers. I wouldn’t say on a monthly basis, but periodically. That’s why we carefully select our manufacturers. First we look in the area Page 7
Ed: It seems very quiet. There’s no banging and clanging – are they still at morning tea? Mischa: September is a holiday time in Germany, so some of the guys are still away. Typically it’s busier than this. Ed: Rather than one person working on one light and putting everything in it, how do you operate your assembly process? Mischa: Typically we have a production line and we can run these lines with up to 5 people. We are very flexible in terms of human resources, so if we have a huge order for fixtures that are built on a line, we can shift other people from other production lines to this or to any other production line. We do have some specialists who are working always on the same line but, in most cases, we can take technicians from other production lines to have a line completely filled up. Ed: ( loud enough for the lone female worker to hear ) And of course, if you have one woman that equals 4 men, so I’m sure that line goes a lot faster?
Mischa: This is the housing and the lamp socket. As you can see, most ARRI fixtures are built with assembly groupings and that’s why we have a production line, where each step or each grouping will be done on a single workplace and then, at the end of the row, everything will be fitted together. At the moment, we have only 2 people here so they’re doing the steps one after another. Firstly, they do this assembly group, then they do that assembly group and at the end, somebody is putting everything together. Ed: And then it goes for testing. Does each one get tested? Mischa: Yes, sure. ARRI has a close eye on all the safety and quality requirements, so each HMI fixture gets tested in the lighting measuring tunnel, which we will see later. There we do the electrical safety tests and, additionally, we measure the light field of each HMI lamp head to ensure a homogeneous outcome. Ed: Now looking around, everything looks metal – there’s a lot of aluminium here and all the screws are metal, not a lot of plastic in an ARRI Fresnel? Mischa: No, typically not. ARRI fixtures are built to last for a long time, so they are built to be very durable and stable. On the other hand, they also need to be lightweight and so aluminium is the material of choice. Ed: And all the fixtures are screwed, there are no pressed parts? Mischa: In the past, we used rivets but today, we are using screws. For maintenance and repair, we have – more or less – easy access to the fixtures so that if something breaks inside, we can open the fixtures easily with those screws. Ed: Or there’s an upgrade of a part that could be replaced and improve the light? Mischa: Yes, typically less in tungsten or HMI but for the LED range, this could be possible. Ed: So in terms of having the parts ready for production? Mischa: We are using a “supermarket” principle where most parts for the fixtures that get built on the specific line are placed in these boxes. In the evening, after the shift is over, the line manager looks through the shelves for empty boxes and then overnight, or at least on the next morning, they get replaced by full boxes. The bigger parts are stored in the cellar, to be transferred to the line or distributed by the Logistics Department.
Mischa: Exactly, that’s it. The women do the best jobs here, which we’ll see later on. We have lines that are only women on the line. Ed:
They’re a lot more careful?
Mischa: ( grinning and winking ) They are, they are. They have a better eye, they’re more sensitive and they have a better feeling I guess. Ed: And they’ve got good ears – even for New Zealand accented English! So which part are we building here? Page 8
ARRI L-Series: L5, L7 & L10
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Ed: Do the assemblers have any say in that? Do they have the chance to give feedback on the production process to the line manager?
Mischa: This lady is currently assembling the ARRILITE 750 and, on this production line, we do only ARRILITE 750 and ARRILITE 2000.
Mischa: ARRI is very eager to get feedback from the people because they’re doing these jobs every day. So if they have some ideas for improvements then they offer their feedback to the line manager or to the head of production, or even the Quality Department.
Ed: Is there anything special about the production of these – I guess, because they’re small, there are a lot fewer parts?
Ed: Is there an example you could give me that you know of recently?
There is the back part and the front part and that’s the difference to most of the other fixtures.
Mischa: Examples would be ideas of better material handling or line placement.
Ed: Okay, now we can see one of the fixtures going through a test. What’s involved in this test?
It’s not one body – it’s in 2 parts.
Ed: I assume you keep some finished product in stock, but for larger orders you really make it up when it’s ordered? Mischa: We do both. We produce to order and also to stock. The high runners and those fixtures where we know we have a periodical turnaround typically get built to stock. Large customer orders, or orders for equipment that we do not sell on a regular basis, normally get built to order. Ed:
But they’re always blue and silver?
Mischa: Not only blue and silver – we have black versions as well. For the tungsten fixtures, we make black ones for the studios because some theatres or studios don’t like the silver ones since they reflect the light. That’s why we offer black versions, but not for all different types of fixture. For example, you can get black in the D-Series but the M-Series is only built in blue-silver. Ed: Now this is a much smaller product that we’re looking at here?
Testing and more testing.
Mischa: We have this test box. There’s a wiredummy that replaces the bulb inside and we can fire the lamphead and we do all the necessary safety tests. Ed: So this is an electrical safety test, it’s not a durability test? Mischa: Exactly. The durability test was already done during the product development process, where we have quite high standards of stability and safety, in terms of having the light falling into a safety wire or something like that. This one was then approved for production after the product development process, and in production we only do the electrical safety tests. Ed:
So there are no short circuits and no breaks?
Mischa: Exactly. Everything is done by a computer programme and everything gets stored so that we can see for any fixture that we have built for at least the last 10 years. We have the records and so we can later on see that we shipped it in this kind of condition, so that we are sure everything is good according to safety and quality. Ed: So it was the customer putting the screwdriver in the wrong place? Mischa:
Ed: And the last part of the production lines for the Fresnels? Mischa: Actually, this is the busiest conventional production line that we have. This is where we build the ARRI 150 Fresnel, 300 Fresnel and 650 Fresnel. The high runners in terms of numbers sold are the 300 and 650 Fresnel. We are building 10-20,000 each year, so these guys are always very busy on these lines. The principle is always the same, we have prebuilt assembly groups and then we are putting everything together and at the end there’s also always the electrical safety test. Ed: I guess, for these products, the only common parts are the screws? Page 10
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Mischa: It depends. For these, taking out the 150 – that one’s completely different – but 650 and 300 are using some of the same parts. Like the focus knob is the same on both – that is what comes first to my mind. Ed: And you have a separate line for just the electronics of the HMI lamp heads? Mischa: Yes we do that because we have specialists for those tasks. They know how to measure and put everything together so this one assembly group is for the electronics parts only. Newer ARRI fixtures are made using these assembly groups that are easy to service because they can easily get taken out from the fixtures. The groups consist of the hour counters, the ignitors, the on/off switches and cabling. Ed: Now one little windowed-off portion of the factory here – what’s happening? Mischa: This is our department for software engineering and also electronics engineering. In entering the use of LED technology, we are increasing the numbers of people hired for software and electronics development. When I started here nearly 6 years ago, there were 1-2 guys working on that one for our Caster and PAX, but with L7, L5, L10 and the SkyPanel series, we definitely needed more knowledge and manpower because these fixtures are partially computers now, more than our well-known durable tungsten and HMI fixtures. Meanwhile, up to 10 people are working now here in electronics and software engineering. Ed: And we’re not taking any photos here, but looking through the window, there’s a young man very intently looking at a Planck Curve, I guess trying to figure out the best place to set the software? Mischa: Yes, he is looking at CIE diagrams. Colour science is our core competence. Ed: And right next to the Black Art section is the ARRIMAX assembly area? Mischa: In this part of the factory, we are assembling the biggest fixtures like T24, T12, so tungsten 24 kilowatt, 12 kilowatt. M90 is built here as well as our biggest one in terms of light quality and light punch, the ARRIMAX 18/12K. This production area is different from the ones we saw in the other part of the building – here it’s not a production line with up to 5 people building one lamp head; here is one man producing one fixture. He’s doing all the steps from the very beginning to the very end. Ed: And then his name goes on the somewhere so if a bit falls off …? Mischa: Ed:
The ARRIMAX assembly area.
Mischa: Yes and I think this is because they are proud to be working for ARRI. They are also proud to be working for this lighting industry, because most of the people know where these fixtures get used – on huge blockbuster films. Sometimes even I am sitting in a movie theatre and waiting for the credits to run down and see if it was filmed with ARRI or if ARRI rental was involved or something like that. It’s not a company rule that they need to wear ARRI shirts or something with the ARRI brand on it, but they do it because they want to. Really, I only can say that they’re proud of working here. Ed:
Oh, he doesn’t get to sign it inside?
Mischa: This is not allowed in Germany due to union regulations. Ed: It would be nice, if you built one of these huge fixtures, that you could sign your name in a little corner? Mischa: Ed:
Like a piece of art, yes.
But they do get them for free I hope?
Mischa: They get them for free, yes. From time to time, they come saying to the head of production, that it would be nice to get new ARRI shirts or a hoodie.
No, we don’t do that.
Ed: Mischa, one thing I have noticed going round the factory, is that there’s a variety of T-shirts, a variety of uniform, but most of the assembly staff are wearing something with the ARRI brand on it? Page 12
Ed: Now we’re here assembling an M90 HMI light. The wiring harness is going in and I see a big cable coming in and then at least 6 wires inside. Why so many wires for one bulb? Mischa: Firstly, it’s different from the tungsten lights where it’s only 3 phases and we have the neutral, the phase and also an earth connection. This is different; we also have an earth connection, we have a power – so we have a phase and all this stuff, but we also have some lines where we control the safety loop inside the fixture so that when you open the front door, the lens door, the system shuts down immediately – otherwise you could get a UV burn. And we have other different measurements – techniques inside to measure the operating voltage of the bulb and other parameters so that the bulb gets fed by the ballast with the correct voltage.
Ed: So it is more complicated technology and the sheer size of it?
Mischa: The size doesn’t matter in this place. All the parts are heavy so I guess a smaller person couldn’t handle the weight of most of the parts. Ed:
And Florian has been here quite a while?
Mischa: Florian has worked for ARRI for 45 years. I personally do not know anybody who has worked for ARRI longer than him. As we pass from one facility to the next, in the corridor is a mini museum with an old light and a photo of the 2 founders.
Ed: In our wiring photo, we have Florian Friedrich and Florian is the ARRIMAX expert? Mischa: We call him the “ARRIMAX-man” because he probably has built 95% of all the ARRIMAX that we have built so far. Only when he is on holidays or when we get a really, really huge order, then somebody else is helping out. So I think we can be sure that he’s done at least 90-95% of all the ARRIMAXs that were shipped out all over the world. Ed: He just doesn’t let anybody else handle them huh? Mischa: No, because it’s his expertise and he’s the best to do it.
The museum corridor has some great historical items.
Ed: Mischa, for 5 points and employment, their names are? Mischa: Arnold and Richter.
Ed: Your bonus question – is that Arnold on the left? Mischa: No, no – you’ve got me. Honestly I don’t know. Ed: Ooooh, fail! Mischa: The only thing that I know is that one of them was the technical genius and the other one was more involved in the financial and controlling side. Ed: Sounds like Wozniak and Jobs at Apple? Mischa: Yes, probably. Ed: And this is a light made for the Olympics?
Florian gets the big jobs.
Mischa: Yes, we have this 1972 ARRI SONNE which is literally translated to English like ARRISUN. It was the first ARRISUN but, at that time, we had German descriptions for the products. This one was built in 1972 for the Olympic Games in Munich. Page 13
Ed: Was there only one or were there a whole lot of them built?
Mischa: Yes, that’s why we have these areas where guests can walk.
Mischa: There were many built for location shooting and events. ARRI SONNE was the starting point of ARRI’s success story in Daylight.
Ed: Do the customers have to be wary of this once they’ve received their LED lights?
Ed: Now we have moved into a totally different part of the building and this is the LED light area. Why is this a separate facility? Mischa: Again, it’s all about quality for ARRI – to ensure a high quality especially for LED because LED is a computer at the end of the day and it’s very sensitive to electrostatic discharge, that’s why we have a separate hall. We built a hall with a special material on the floor and the workers here wear special shoes, everything about this is very critical to avoid any flashovers from your body’s electrostatic discharge. Ed:
And the company provides them with their shoes?
Ed: But we’re okay because we’re walking between the green lines?
Mischa: No they don’t, because the LED fixture, like an L7, L5, L10, also the new SkyPanel range, is a completely … I don’t want to say “sealed” but in terms of electrostatic discharge it’s … Ed:
… it’s in its own Faraday cage?
Mischa: Something like that. It’s not a Faraday cage, but it’s safe because you are not able to put your hands inside the fixture. Ed: Okay, so in this case, because they’re being built, the fixture isn’t complete and so there is that possibility? Mischa: Exactly. Later on you will see that we have all the components placed in special boxes and the really sensitive components have some kind of antistatic bag as well.
ot yet but … it will happen. To ensure you are on the list when we have to go on-line only, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “NZVN on-line” so we have your email address Or Subscribe to ISSUU directly on the link https://issuu.com/nzvnews Page 14
And in this part here?
Mischa: In this part of the factory we are producing and assembling the L-Series, the L5, L7 and L10. Typically, ARRI has, for tungsten and daylight, the numbers and the names to tell you about the Wattage that it has. So an M40 is 4000 Watt or an ARRILITE 750 is 750 Watt. With LED, this doesn’t fit anymore, because the Wattage is completely different from the light output at the end of the day. So that’s why we decided to give the fixtures the names of the size of the Fresnel lens. So L7 means it’s a 7 inch Fresnel lens; L5 means a 5 inch and L10 is 10 inch. Ed: And you’re using inches because that’s what the Americans like? Mischa: That’s what the Americans like, it’s more international and the product manager for the LED range is an American! Ed:
Well I guess he gets to choose?
Mischa: Exactly. So what’s special with LED is that, we not only assemble the groupings together, we do a different step and that’s the calibration for the light engine and the controller. So the light engine and the controller get married – they get matched to each other and each single fixture gets calibrated. Ed: These black boxes, are they the calibration stations?
The fixtures have an overnight test run.
Ed: But also the calibration tells you where it’s failed, so that part can be replaced and try again? Mischa:
Each calibration takes around 20 minutes for an L7 which, when you look at the whole process of assembly and the care and the testing, this is where the value in the ARRI products is generated. Ed:
Right, and what are we assembling here?
Calibration and testing means a quality product.
Mischa: No, this is again a quality step. I’m sorry to repeat myself, but for ARRI, maintaining quality is what matters. It’s our biggest concern. This is the outgoing test where we have the fixtures running overnight, at least 8 hours with a computer programme via DMX control. They go through this output test, they run in colours and colormetrics and things like that and, if everything is fine by then, they go in the box. So fixtures get assembled, get calibrated, get tested again – also the electric safety tests for these ones, and then they get boxed and shipped to the customer. Ed:
And this happens with every LED fixture?
Mischa: Every single LED fixture of the L-Series range. It is done this way, so every single fixture gets calibrated and gets tested. We need to do it because we don’t get any pre-calibrated parts. The knowledge about the calibration is ARRI core knowledge and that’s why we need to do this ourselves. Ed: Is it a fail or pass, or can you do some adjustments? Mischa: At the end of the day, it is a fail or pass … if a fixture fails it gets returned to either the production line or if it’s a more critical software issue, then it goes back to the laboratory for checking.
Mischa: Here we see the assembling or, let’s say, the “arrangement” of the Fresnel lens. In this part, we are producing the optical housing, the lens tube for the L10. The first part covered was the Fresnel lens, then in the middle we have a condenser lens – and what we can see here is the light engine with a preassembled collimation lens. Ed: Now he’s not actually assembling this here is he – he’s just testing all the components for a particular lamp that’s going to be assembled afterwards. Just tell me this again, we’re here at the checking stage for which particular lamp? Mischa: This is for the L10, our biggest member of the L-Series and here the optical parts of the optical housing are set together in some kind of measuring device and they are calibrated and measured together. Later on, they will be taken out of this device and put together in a box and transferred to the production line where they fit this special lamphead together. So all the parts are also scanned in a computer and the data is recorded with the serial number.
Ed: So each part that goes into this box is tested as a whole, but then assembled, because you don’t really want to assemble it all and then find “aaah it’s just slightly out”?
it checked and maybe the lens is not correctly aligned anymore? Mischa: The whole L-Series is very stable. At the end of the day, they are made out of glass fibre reinforced plastic and, if you get such a hard hit that would disarrange the collimation light engine behaviour, then the whole fixture would be broken. Ed: Now Mischa, the flagship of the ARRI LED is the SkyPanel and we’re now in the section which … well, it’s just over half the LED factory here?
LED arrays await.
Exactly, that’s the way it is.
Ed: Now we’ve got a photograph of the LED panel itself and then a lens block being placed over the top of it. Even though it’s placed onto fixed points, it’s not actually the final stage is it. There’s another fine adjustment? Mischa: Yes, what we can see here is the adjustment of the collimation lens to the LED panel and every LED emits its light in different rays and beams to different directions and we want to have a focused light and so we want to get the most light power out of the light engine. That’s why we need a lens for each single LED centred 100% over the LED itself and that’s what we’re seeing here. We have a preparation station where the collimation lens gets more or less fixed onto the light engine and then we have this computerised optical camera over here where we do the fine tuning. We are always aiming for the perfect light output and this is what we are doing here inside this.
Mischa: Exactly. At the moment, one half of this part of the factory is the L-Series and the other half is full of SkyPanels with the newest member, the S120-C. We are producing these fixtures in high volumes which is why we need an improved type of calibration. It is different from what we’re doing with L-Series. Here we have an automated calibration station for the light engines of our SkyPanels, which can run 24 hours, 7 days a week. This machine can do up to 240 calibrations a day. A lens is fitted to a precise position.
Ed: Is this something that the users of these lights, if they knock the light, can it upset this arrangement or is it not only glued but held in by some other means? Mischa: It’s held by glue and screws, so this alignment should stay like we do it here forever – hopefully. Ed: But if you notice that your light is uneven after a heavy knock, then it’s a case of, well, you’d better have
We meanwhile have a second automated calibration station for the light engines to cope with high volumes of production. Ed: And it doesn’t matter which SkyPanel – all of the engines fit in there, because the SkyPanels are different sizes? Mischa: The SkyPanels are different sizes, but starting with S30, the engines have a certain form factor. In S30, we have one light engine; in S60 we have 2 light engines of the same form and in S120 we
internal and external wiring of the lamphead is also okay. If this test is passed, we can operate the device to see if it works. Then we do an optometric measurement of the lamphead. We do a check to see if the lighting distribution is even and if it’s according to in-house standards and we also check the luminance values. We use a system consisting of a movable projection wall and a special CCD camera. We are able to test all Wattages from the small 800W up to the big 18 kilowatt monster we produce. Ed: This is not a case of you looking at the screen and saying “yes, that’s even” – this is truly calibrated by camera and you’re getting a digital readout? SkyPanels tested and awaiting delivery.
have 4 light engines, so we just double up on the predecessor. Ed: Right, so all the light engines are in fact the same? Mischa: They are not in fact the same, but in terms of size, they are the same. The S60-C or an S30-C is the same and the S120-C is different because it has a larger aperture, but the same power level as S60-C. Besides for S30 and S60, we have the remote phosphor versions too. But everything gets calibrated in here. Ed: Now we’re talking to Simon, and Simon you’re the test specialist here?
Simon: Yes that’s right. We also use a set of calibrated testing lamps for each Wattage to ensure that we really measure the performance of the lamphead without any influence of the lamp itself. This involves a lot maths and complicated physics, but it actually works and this enables us to reproduce every measurement with every single lamphead we ever built. So if a customer says that there’s any issue, we can track back the testing protocol of the lamphead because we store them for at least 10 years. If a customer says that his lamp doesn’t work, we can at least prove it has worked when it left the factory. Ed: I suppose that, after all the years of doing this particular measurement, you must be pretty good by eye at telling if something’s out. Do you often say “hmmm that’s not right” and then look at the numbers and say “I can see why”? Simon: Yes, but the algorithms are better than the human eye. I can show you a protocol if you like. Ed:
Simon: So it looks like this – you have a protocol containing every piece of data concerning the lamphead itself. That means type and serial number, data about the measurement itself, the testing lamp which is used, the testing system, so we would be able to reproduce the exact measurement … Simon checks the light pattern.
Simon: This is test site for the end test of all our daylight fixtures. Basically, we do an electrical test for electrical safety. That means that we ensure that the earth conductor is okay and that the insulation of the
You’d be able to repeat this?
That’s truly scientific if you can repeat it?
Simon: Well, if we do it right, yes. Then you can see here that you have an image of the light distribution on the wall. That makes it easier to see if the reflector has some issue. Even though by the human eye it might look ok, it’s only by looking at the numbers that you can confirm it’s alright. We have had a severe case where the reflector batch was bad; initially we couldn’t see the defect on the wall, but the software gave first alerts. After more tests we found rings and holes. It looked horrible. Ed: This was obviously a reflector made by some third party that you were using? Simon: Yes. contractors. Ed:
The optical parts we all get from
I’m sure they got a smack?
Christian performs a final check before packing.
Simon: We put in a lot of effort to ensure that the quality of the complete product is right and this also enables us to prove to a contractor that he delivered us bad material and to ensure it never happens again.
Mischa: Our colleague Christian is checking the overall quality.
Ed: And in terms of testing across the focal range – how do you do that, just manually?
He checks the movable parts of the fixtures and he inserts dummy jigs, to make sure that all the NZVN accessories like barn doors or scrims fit.
Simon: Yes, we do measurement in spot and in flood. The “in between” is then considered to be okay if the end points are okay. Ed: And now the last packing step, putting it in the box, but before it goes in the box, one last check?
He double checks if there are any scratches and he does a functional test.
That is the final quality step for ARRI before the fixture goes into the box and on to the customer. And that’s it. A quality ARRI production in every sense.
Yellow or Green? Your choice. We’re here with David Colthorpe to look at something called a “greenMachine” from Lynx-Technik. This is the latest product available from Techtel in New Zealand and it’s something that I’m pretty sure I’m right in saying has been developed from the Yellobrik product which are little dedicated glue machines that enable you to do all sorts of things. Ed:
So David, why is this green and not yellow?
David: Well I guess it’s intended to have a family relationship with the Yellobrik line. greenMachine is a new concept in that it allows endless customisation to “build your own device” by the use of Apps ( http://green-machine.com/ ). greenMachine is ideal for a large range of users who need to do all sorts of signal adaption or adjustment processes … synchronisation and timing and test generation and conversions and lots, lots more. Ed: So all the things that the Yellobrik product does in individual boxes, but this is now all in one machine. How does it do it? David: Ed:
It’s a platform based on FPGA devices.
What’s FPGA David?
David: Actually I was going to ask you if you knew what they were Grant. Ed:
Wouldn’t have a clue.
They are Field Programmable Gate Arrays –
Ed: Now for engineers out there, that I’m sure will raise an eyebrow or two because FPGA indicates something very special? David: Well it means that you have what is effectively a universal substrate that you can imprint with all sorts of functions, in this case downloadable Apps. Ed: I’ve often heard from the wise that, if you want to transcode for example, then the best way of doing it is with hardware rather than using a software transcode. This actually is hardware? David: It is hardware, that’s right. Similar to an ordinary PROM chip, but it is a user configurable device. So, yes, the signal processing is in hardware. Ed:
So how many functions can you put in there?
David: The way it works is that you register your greenMachine unit using the Lynx-Technik greenGUI, which is a piece of free software you can download and run on your PC or Mac. The greenGUI software sees any of the greenMachines you have on your network. Then you can go to your account at the Lynx-Technik greenStore ( http://www.lynx-technik-greenstore.com/ ) and purchase Apps – these are the different functions available – and then install them in the nominated greenMachine.
David with greenMachine.
David: It’s yours of course. Now you can move the App license across any of the greenMachine boxes you’ve got in your network; of course you can only use it on one particular machine at a time. It means that these are truly portable Apps and, because it’s a network device, you could have these units in various locations and move any App anywhere at all. It’s fair to say that you’d have to decide if that’s a practical proposition for you to do that. The cost is not so great that you may want to just simply populate them to a certain level and then you have that convenience of having those features in the right place at the right time, with no mucking about. Ed: Now, from what I can see, this is a new concept in the market … there are dedicated boxes out there from various manufacturers including Lynx-Technik itself, but this is the first one I’ve seen where you actually add the Apps you want for the hardware inside the box?
David: The scaler App is US$615; the frame sync App US$375.
David: Yes, that’s the general idea. It obviously does provide a much more elegant way to utilise your outlay, because if you do have quite a large number of different processing capabilities required with any operation, this way you can just streamline things to a single device in the field as it were, in the physical plant itself. This makes it much simpler to manage your inventory of gear and you just enable or disable the functionality you need as required.
Ed: And the great thing is that, once you bought it, it’s yours?
Ed: For example, for a scaler, is the functionality the same as you would get in the Yellobrik version?
Ed: Now talking cost, we’re looking at over a couple of grand for the box, but just give us a couple of the Apps that are available and an approximate price for each?
David: Yes it’s a very high powered device actually. I recommend you do go to the greenStore and have a look at the different features of these products. There’s a lot of detail you can drill into about what they can do. They’re pretty sophisticated Apps. And here’s a great thing, you can "try before you buy" all the Apps by deploying them with your greenGUI in your greenMachine without a purchased license, though a watermark will be added. Ed: So it’s not going to be a downwards step if you are looking at adding some more Yellobrik product, that you would add the greenMachine instead and continue? David: They’re not a dumbed down product at all, no. They’ve effectively utilised existing Lynx-Technik IP to create the same level of performance in this new platform. Ed: And again, just like the Yellobriks, these are made in Germany?
you get some good audio and video adjustment, test and processing Apps to start you off … Ed: You can get the full list on the website but basically, they’ve picked the most popular Apps for a facility and said “right, we’ll give you a bit of a discount by bundling the whole lot together if you buy them all at once”?
Ed: Okay, well if that really ticks your box or tickles your fancy, David’s got a deal for you.
David: Exactly. So for under five grand NZ$, you get all these apps and the greenMachine, and if you want to you can actually go up a bit to higher performance bundles too, with more features as well.
David: Yes, we have established money-saving bundles for the hardware and the Apps. You can buy the greenMachine with Apps bundled in the machine –
Ed: Now I’d imagine that one of the things you would want to have along with this is a router, because if you’ve got all these Apps in there, you want them to
They certainly are.
of luminous intensity. This SRM-074-N is a sunlight readable monitor of a similar type. It’s a 7 inch, it’s a bit bigger, it has all the same sort of features as those popular viewfinder monitors, but it’s very, very bright – it’s 1500 candela. Ed: Whoa. I believe it’s about 1000 candela or 1000 nits is about the right amount for seeing in bright light, so this is even better. David:
Yes, so this is bright.
Ed: But you don’t have to have it that bright do you?
work within your network and that’s where your router comes in, but I guess most OB trucks and facilities have got that anyway, so it should be just a simple plugin? David: That’s right, they’re going to be routing through existing infrastructure in a truck, say, so there’s all sorts of processes that are in a truck, as an example of an application, and this is yet another one that would sit there. It would probably replace quite a number of boxes in existence already that are quite possibly taking up space and chewing up a lot of power. Ed:
Do you do trade-ins?
David: There’s a button marked “max bright” which you press to bring up maximum brightness, otherwise it’s the standard kind of settings for whatever you set. It’s a general purpose monitor but it’s of the size that lets it be used as a viewfinder in the way that we’ve found these monitors are very commonly used. They have various battery systems as well as running on AC and it has all the normal interfacing. Ed:
And a new extra high price or …
David: It’s about twice the price of the 058 which is the kind of de facto standard viewfinder monitor, the one we sell quite a few of. Yes it’s more expensive, but if you need it, you need it. It gets you out of trouble sometimes in outdoor shooting.
David laughs maniacally at this point.
So it’s expensive having more nits?
Ed: I guess “no”. Now we’re wanting to know how many of these channels you can operate at the same time?
David: More nits, more expense … but still great value for its capabilities. NZVN
David: This is the Callisto and it is a two channel device, so two Apps can operate simultaneously. Products coming are going to be the Titan with four channels and the Europa eight channels. There’s a bit of 2001 going on here for the cognoscenti. Ed: And how quickly do you think you could switch between Apps – as long as it takes you to go on your laptop and make the switch I guess? David: The Apps are there available to you on the front panel of the device, you simply call them up. Once they’re installed they’re there – just a button push to the next feature or yes, you can remotely switch as well. Ed:
It sounds like a winner David?
Yes, I like it.
Ed: And we don’t stop there, we’ve actually got a nice little monitor from TVLogic and this looks very robust David? David: It does – isn’t it beautifully made. This is in the same family as the VFM-056 and 058 … Ed: Ms Hellfinger goes all gooey when she hears the way you say those numbers. Say them again for her please? David: So the VFM-056 and the VFM-058 are nice little viewfinder monitors – still very popular, but one of the things about them is that they are not what we would call “sunlight readable”. They’re not sufficiently bright necessarily for … Ed:
Aaah not enough nits?
David: Not enough nits. So they’ve got about 600 candela which are “nits per square metre” – a measure Page 23
A demonstration of high nits.