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Getting to Know the ARRI M18

Tanner Shinnick

The ARRI M18 can be one of the most powerful lighting tools for independent filmmakers.

Cover image via ARRI.

The Arri M18 is a great light that I constantly keep on set. It’s a powerful and versatile lighting tool for crews of all sizes. In this article, I’ll detail four reasons why you should consider bringing this light along for your next shoot.

Plug into Standard 20A Circuits

The most appealing thing about the M18 is that it’s the strongest light you can plug into a standard outlet. Keep in mind, this will draw all of the power out of one circuit. Any other lights will need entirely separate circuits. Below is a video detailing how to find the right circuit for this light.

The fact that you can walk into almost any location and plug in this 1.8K HMI is a huge plus.

You Can Shape the Light

The M18 is a blank canvas. I love a nice, soft source like an ARRI Skypanel, but sometimes you need a harder source that you can shape as necessary. You can use the M18 as a spot or a flood to get the kind of output you need. You can also bounce the light or shoot it through diffusion material.

I’ve even used this light to shoot through a window, with some haze, to cast a beam of hard light across a scene. This video showcases how you can shape an ARRI par light, much like the M18.

Simple to Operate

Without any required lenses or generators, this light is a breeze to operate on set. You can focus or flood the beam of light right from the back of the lamp without even wearing gloves. The light relies on an easy-to-use ballast included with most every rental. It mounts on a combo stand and is then ready to strike.

Affordable Rental

This light is expensive. However, it’s a rather affordable rental. I’ve seen rates that vary from $140 to $250 per day. The fact that you can bring this powerful light onto your set inexpensively is another reason to consider it for your next shoot.

Have you used the Arri M18 before? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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