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ARRI Orbiter

Jim Hutchison • February 2021Product Spotlight • February 5, 2021

Global motion picture equipment leader ARRI has introduced the Orbiter, a unique multi-functional point-source luminaire with several optical options for output and control. This fixture has an ultra-bright, tunable, and directional LED as a light source. The hardware and optics in the Orbiter are completely new and designed with versatility in mind, to make a new type of hybrid fixture for the film and camera market. Key lighting, shadow play or soft edge, as well as omnidirectional light outputs are available from this one fixture.

The Orbiter’s core innovation is its changeable optics. Orbiter grasps the task of being an immensely powerful LED point source luminaire with considerably speedy accessory changes — what the company calls its “open faced” mounts — from the open aperture of the luminaire. For instance, a set of barn doors can be attached for one scene then quickly removed and an open-faced lens attached to drastically alter the use of the fixture for the next.

Accessories in this fixture are plentiful to make sure users have everything they need for applicable locations. ARRI is offering a 15-, 30- and 60-degree angle lens as the fixed angle accessories at this time, with additional beam angles being offered in future development. These lens accessories lock on and release with the click of a button and a swift turn of one’s hand. This easy transformation is the champion of grips. ARRI calls this the QLM, or Quick Lighting Mount.

Orbiter handles soft light in the same fashion, with a quick click and a turn as you’re adding the appropriate accessory for the application. Orbiter needs no additional accessories beyond the soft light attachments, which come in the form of omnidirectional fabric domes (small, medium, and large, ranging from 12” to 39”) and soft boxes for the more photographically intense tasks on set or location.

This luminaire is becoming a necessary tool for those in need of spatial, locational, and positional control as 3D positioning becomes important when processing live video in today’s augmented reality world. ARRI’s Orbiter meets that challenge with a bevy of sensors. Orbiter has a 3-axis accelerometer built in that allows for sensing the pan, tilt, and roll of the fixture. This data will provide future metadata for special effects work or optimizing fixture performance. A magnetometer gives Orbiter’s heading based on the direction the fixture is pointing in the real world so that software such as Unreal’s engine or Cinema4D can process this data live or in post. Ambient light sensors also automatically dim the control panel based on surrounding intensities, and heat sensors fitted throughout the luminaire keep the LED package at exactly the optimal running temperature.

Orbiter is able to connect to a long list of devices and networks, with its built-in wireless DMX. The input panel has an SD card slot, 5-pin DMX in and thru, two LAN ports, USB-A and -C ports, and camera sync for mating the Orbiter with a range of cameras in the industry.

Another key feature of this luminaire is the lighting operating system, or LiOS, a new operating system only available on Orbiter. The detachable control panel, which has a magnetic back mount to allow the panel to be removed from the fixture to be controlled remotely, is the lifeblood of controlling the highly customizable light output.

The Orbiter gives users control over eight color modes: CCT, HSI, individual color, X/Y coordinates, a color filter library, source matching, lighting effects, and the new color sensor mode, which measures ambient light temperatures and recreates them with its output.

With its rugged design and weatherproof housing the Orbiter should be high on the list of products you need to demo.

For an informative video demonstrating Orbiter’s features, go to

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