Ballast 4.000/2.500w – 1000hz | Arri
The new standard for HMI High Speed Photography
ARRI is pleased to introduce a new generation of 1.000 Hz High Speed Ballast that accept the challenge of modern digital high-speed photography with ease.
With the new 1.000 Hz High Speed Ballast it is easy to achieve high quality flicker free images at frame rates of 1.000 FPS with a single daylight source and in some cases beyond, up to 5.000 FPS with multiple sources.
This new technology supplies the lamp with a greatly raised 1.000 Hz square wave current, allowing worriless shooting for commercials, sports, industrial applications, automotive component testing, ballistic or material testing.
We have available 1.200/1.800W and 2.500-4.000W High Speed Ballast units.
Lighting for High Speed:
Lighting issues are not specific for Phantom cameras but for high frame rate moving pictures in
general. Even with the great sensitivity of modern cameras such as the Phantom Flex, be prepared
to use a considerable amount of light. Shooting at a frame rate of 1000fps requires 5.25 times
more light than at 24 or 25 fps.
Beyond illumination, the largest issue in high-speed lighting is flicker. When powered by
alternating current (AC) electricity, the lamps power cycles 50 or 60 times per second (depending
on the country and its power system). During the down cycle the tungsten lamp filament can dim
slightly. Above certain frame rates a camera sensor is photographing enough images per second to
see the alternation of the filament, resulting as flicker in the image.
The amount of flicker is related to the type of bulb, wattage and physical size of filament. In
general, lamps of 5000w or larger that use tungsten filaments are so large that they do not have
time to cool and dim before the power cycles back up. Therefore, it is recommended using 2K or
greater tungsten light fixtures when shooting above 120fps in 60hz countries and 5K or greater
when shooting above 100fps in 50hz countries.
HMI and fluorescent lights are generally fine for speeds under 100fps as long as they use
electronic ballasts and are set to flicker free. Although HMI lights do not suffer from the flicker
which effects tungsten, HMI’s can suffer from “Arc Wander,” whereby a plasmatic “hot spot”
moves within the bulb, causing an amorphous shifting movement in the light output. The most
common side effect to this is a rapid colour shift in a shimmering effect. No HMI light with a
normal electronic ballast can be guaranteed against some form of flicker, no matter how big the
In recent years high frequency ballasts have been produced for HMI lamps. Arri has produced
1000Hz High Speed Ballasts for use with the same HMI lamps. These ballasts dramatically reduce
or even eliminate flicker in most situations, but under practical use of these tools, it has been
found that in certain lighting conditions and with certain lamps and bubbles, flicker still may be
apparent. Testing of the specific lamps to be use on a job is always advisable.
LED lights are subject to the electronic circuits driving them which can create a vast array of
refresh rates, but generally LED fixtures designed for the film industry will not flicker as long as
they are not dimmed. In recent times, more and more LED lights are becoming available for
motion picture, many of these are now being commonly used for high speed shooting.
Finally, the shutter angle on the high speed camera can affect flicker as well, as a greater shutter
angle allows for a longer response time from the light. When shooting extremely high frame rates,
it may no longer be necessary to retain a 180-degree shutter to capture the motion generally
preferred for a filmic look. A 360-degree shutter allows both more light sensitivity and can reduced
Lighting with HMI’s:
HMI lighting that uses electronic ballasts will not flicker, but they can be prone to another artifact.
This would be Arc Wander, as described in the previous passage, the hot spot of the electrical arc
that travels in the plasmatic gas within the glass bubble moves back and forth between the two
cathodes. The resulting effect appears as shimmer and colour shift.
If one big light is used directly pointed at the subject, this effect can be quite obvious. If many
lights are mixed together or if the light is punched through diffusion then Arc Wander can often be
limited to an unnoticeable level.
With 1000Hz High Speed Ballasts it is possible to achieve high quality flicker free images at frame
rates of 1000 fps and in many cases beyond even with a single HMI daylight source.
This new technology supplies the lamp with a greatly raised square wave current rather than the
typical 75Hz. High frequency ballasts are available for all wattages from 125 W – 4000 W. It is
recommended to test the lamps at the shooting speeds required prior to a job.
Tips for lighting with HMI’s:
.Test your fixtures before shooting
.Obtain 300Hz or 1000Hz ballasts
.Use as bigger sources as possible
.Use diffusion or bounce the source
.Group smaller heads together separated by different phases
.Using HMI’s when shooting outside is much less noticeable than when inside
.Make sure the electronic ballast is set to flicker free