September 9, 2019

Arri Updates Stellar for Multiple Users

The Stellar App for controlling Arri LED SkyPanel units now lets more than one person work on a lighting setup at a time.

Arri's popular SkyPanel lights are by far the dominant voice at the top end of the lighting market.  To complement them Arri developed the Stellar app, a subscription-based mobile app that could control properly outfitted SkyPanel units for remote control and pretty sophisticated programming. 

In addition to the ability to backup your data to iCloud for automatic syncing across all your iOs devices, the big marquee upgrade feature for Stellar 1.5 is their new Live Sync functionality.  While still in beta at the moment, Live Sync offers the ability for multiple users to work together on a scene on multiple devices at the same time.

Why is multiple users so interesting? 

Because on a large film set we're already very used to multiple people having input into a lighting decision.  While the final call on intensity and color choices remains with the DP, it's very common for a gaffer and a best electric to be setting up lights while the DP is wrapping up on a previous shot, or even the previous set. 

The old way of doing this had the gaffer at the monitor, using a walky-talky to communicate with a best or an electric out on set tweaking a light, all supervised for by a DP who has communicated a vision for what they want but often has other tasks on their plate.

With app lighting like Stellar, the gaffer can tweak the light from the monitor, which is nice but doesn't always create the fastest workflow since the Gaffer needs to be at the monitor or the light to make the tweak, and they have many things on their plate.

Sometimes you want to tweak the unit before the gaffer even gets there or while they are attending to another part of set.  Maybe you are a juicer putting up a unit and you just want to give it turned on, part of a scene, and roughed in before the gaffer even has a chance to look at it.  By allowing multiple users to control the same setup in Stellar, Arri is now letting that happen.  A well-trained crew can how have the units setup, and even roughed in, before the gaffer even sits down to their App for real tweaking, and then the DP can join the conversation for final approvals.  Multiple well-trained users are going to make this a faster process and let gaffers and DPs spend more time on creative decisions while other team members worry about basic set-up.

Currently, it's a strange time for lighting with apps.  There is tremendous power there, but it's been slow to take off on many especially bigger sets since it doesn't always work in every workflow.  Most large crews are used to having many users being able to control a light unit, and hopefully, this revision on the Stellar app will help some of those crews give this toolset a shot.

Available from the App Store and the Google Play store.  Check out the Arri Site for more info.

Tech Specs:
  • iOs and Android Support
  • Syncs across devices with iCloud
  • Live Sync Beta for multiple users in a single scene
  • Import/Export scene files

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