As filmmakers, almost everything we do at Aphelion requires some sort of power source and there’s never enough chargers or outlets when we need them.
These power sources come in the form of batteries, power bars, adapters, cables, etc. Over the years, we've had many power solutions and approaches that we’ve applied to our workflow in order to organize, keep track of, and charge the various types of batteries that we use. We typically scramble the night before a big shoot to make sure that everything is ready to rock, but we finally decided enough is enough.
If you’re like us, you’ve had this idea on the back burner for a while and what better opportunity than a global pandemic to finally confront the issues we’ve been facing. Charging batteries is one of the necessary evils that we face on a daily basis, so with the help of some youtube inspiration, we decided to create our very own portable power station. We call it; The Arc Reactor.
We wanted to create a modular, streamlined, yet portable system that allows us to charge our batteries and save valuable time on-set, all while keeping the creative process flowing. When taking on the challenge of putting together this beast of a charging station, we wanted to break down all of the key traits that we were looking for. We had our inspiration and motivation to build a reliable power solution. but had to analyse and breakdown the exact reasons we were building this case. We had to consider how we would realistically use the case on set and how we’d manage all of it’s cables effectively.
When the case is opened, you’ll find a neatly wrapped cable secured to a multi-use tray. Once plugged in, the standard AC cable provides 6 feet in length from the nearest outlet into a single weatherproof port located on the back of the unit. Power is then distributed to a cube tap adapter branching out to a D-tap charging unit, and of course the core of our setup, an intelligent 10 port usb hub that unlocks the overall portability. Once paired with our chosen charging units, and universal magnetic chargers, There’s no doubt that the ARC Reactor is a versatile, functional piece of equipment and a necessity on every project.
"Electricity is really just organized lightning."
The process of building the arc began by brainstorming ways in which the case could remain functional while achieving a sleek and professional design. The DIY process had us feeling like mad scientists as apparently some of us have never used hot glue before. We used plywood to create a tray that houses all the components above, while concealing all the cables & adapters below. We originally planned on using wood for the supports underneath the tray, but we ultimately used some foam that we had lying around in order to keep the whole system feather-light yet sturdy.
We drilled 0.5” holes in the tray for cables to be fed through and neatly tucked away. In some instances like our D-Tap cable, we had to disassemble the connector and reassemble it after feeding the wiring through. Overall the process was somewhat demanding when it came to solving unpredictable issues, but ultimately we found it to be a very rewarding process. Our gear evolves as we grow as a company, and so will the arc. By designing the case to be modular, we’re able to add and remove any components to keep up with our ever-changing gear. We achieved this by using industrial grade velcro as the mounting point for all of the components.
Overall, the arc reactor is a perfect DIY solution for all of our charging needs. Alternatively, you could build your own case based on what your needs are and what gear you have. You can use a case you already have or create a wall mounted solution if you don’t need the portability of a hard-shell design. You could also implement a portable battery in order to remove the need for a wall outlet. We pride ourselves in our organization and minimalism when it comes to the way we operate. The Arc Reactor now has its place in our transition to a fluent workflow, that get’s the end result to our clients as efficiently as possible. Our goal at the end of the day is to pay attention to the details, the little things that help us to inspire, create, and record.