ARRI SkyPanel X RGBACL Modular LED Light – First Look

Ahead of IBC 2023, German manufacturer ARRI introduced a new model in their class-leading SkyPanel series, called SkyPanel X. This new 2×1 RGBACL full-color fixture aims at multiplying (hence the “X” name) the set of features of its predecessors. We couldn’t help but stop by the company’s booth for a hands-on look.

Since its launch back in 2015, the ARRI SkyPanel series has been the most likely choice for many pro cinematographers around the world. These fixtures are so famous for their high-quality output, reliability, and durability that it’s almost hard to imagine that ARRI could improve on them.

Well, the new SkyPanel X is here and is clearly the result of a huge engineering effort. We already reported on ARRI’s new fixture in great detail in a previous article. You can check it out here. Still, on the show floor at IBC 2023, we met Ben Diaz from ARRI for a quick “fresher up”.

ARRI SkyPanel X Soft. Image credit: CineD

ARRI SkyPanel X – features

Let’s start by first explaining why it took ARRI almost a decade to launch a whole new SkyPanel model. According to Ben, besides the technological challenges of improving the already excellent SkyPanel S60-C, the company wanted to protect the investment of its customers, particularly rental houses. Hence, they didn’t want to update their product line by small bits only one year later but rather wait until the time was right to launch a completely redesigned, ground-breaking light.

The new SkyPanel X is a 2×1 LED panel, but, unlike the RGB+W S-60C, it’s fuelled by a RGBACL 6-color engine that is claimed to result in even better color science. The panel features 8 independent pixel zones.

ARRI SkyPanel X with HyPer Optic
ARRI SkyPanel X with HyPer Optic. Image credit: CineD

Furthermore, while the original model was designed as a soft diffusion panel only, “X” is engineered to natively behave as either a soft or hard light source. The open-face panel has a beam angle of 120°, but ARRI developed a tailor-made Dome to soften the output as well as a HyPer Optic accessory to maximize throw when aiming for a hard light source. According to Ben, engineering the HyPer Optic was quite a daunting task, since this optical accessory needs to produce a circular beam starting from a rectangular source.

ARRI SkyPanel X - rear side
ARRI SkyPanel X – rear side. Image credit: CineD

On top of that, ARRI wanted to ensure compatibility with existing S60-C accessories, which led them to develop a dedicated S60 Adapter for the new SkyPanel X.

The light has an extremely wide color temperature range spanning from 1,500K up to 20,000K in CCT mode, scores high CRI99 and TLCI93 ratings, and is claimed to output 4800 lux at a distance of 10 meters when using the HyPer Optic and setting the light to 5,600K. You can find the manufacturer’s photometric measurements here. Interestingly, ARRI claims that the low-end dimming has been improved as well.

ARRI SkyPanel X controller
ARRI SkyPanel X controller. Image credit: CineD

One of the most impressive features of the new SkyPanel X is its IP66 rating, which means that the light is protected against powerful waterjets. Moreover, the fixture has a modular design and you can stack up to 3 SkyPanel Xs together.

ARRI SkyPanel X23 (3-panel setup)
ARRI SkyPanel X23 (3-panel setup). Image credit: CineD

Other noteworthy features include an integrated ballast, 2 Ethernet ports, a daisy chain for power, and a complete range of connectivity tools (Bluetooth 5.0, Wireless CRMX, Wireless DMX, Art-Net, and app control via ARRI LiCo app).

Price and availability

The new ARRI SkyPanel X is now available to pre-order from B&H and CVP. It can be purchased as a single panel (X21) for $5,750 or in modular kits. The 2-panel kit (X22) costs $13,300, while the 3-panel package (X23) will set you back $19,900. As with other ARRI lighting products, these prices make them mainly rental items.

Finally, ARRI offers the X21, X22, and X23 bundles in either Soft or Soft/Hard Packages. These include additional accessories such as the Dome or HyPer Optic modifiers.

For more information, please visit ARRI’s website here.

What do you think of the new ARRI SkyPanel X? Among the newly-added features, which are most interesting to you? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

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