Clay Paky Lighting Fixtures Shine During TV Tribute to the Ladies of the Ice

Clay Paky fixtures lit up the ice and turned on the glamour when production and lighting designer Christien Methot of design one employed a complement of Sharpy and Alpha Spot HPE 1500s on "Caesars Tribute II: A Salute to the Ladies of the Ice," which airs on NBC on New Year's Day.

The figure skating extravaganza features a roster of American Olympic medalists, including Nancy Kerrigan, Tara Lipinksi and Sarah Hughes as well as an international contingent, among them current world champion Miki Ando. The event, held at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, comes on the heels of last year's figure skating tribute for which Methot handled production design.

Methot devised a circular motif for the show using thee circular video screens and a circular main stage with clean, simple lines. He mounted a circular truss above the ice with 16 Clay Paky Sharpy fixtures suspended on it.

"At the beginning of the program the truss was almost touching the ice. As the opening light show began, it rose up and shot light everywhere," he explains. "Then some fabric was released and hung from the truss, Kabuki-style, in the shape of icicles. The skaters interacted with the fabric and skated around it as the truss lifted and became a scenic element, another surface to play off the lighting like metallic chiffon."

Sharpy is a 189W moving head with an unprecedented brightness usually achievable only with far greater wattages. Tipping the scales at just 16 kg, Sharpy produces a perfectly parallel, laser-like beam with an incredible output of 5,100 footcandles at 65 feet. Sharpy is also groundbreaking in the purity of its beam, which is sharply defined and free of any halo or discoloration around the edges. It offers an interchangeable color wheel with 14 fixed colors and an interchangeable gobo wheel with 17 fixed gobos, allowing users to change the shape of the beam and create an array of spectacular mid-air effects. Sharpy features new, high-performance electronics and can perform rapid and extensive pan-and-tilt movements.

"I've used Sharpys before and think they're the best thing since sliced bread," says Methot. "In a light show scenario, their bang for the buck is outrageous, and you can see the light for miles! The only light that could do that used to be a 7000-watt lamp. Plus, they are so small and easy to handle - a crew member can carry two at a time."

The lighting designer positioned 12 more Sharpys on the ground to supplement 20 Alpha Spot HPE 1500s, which served as "work horse" fixtures. "They were the main wash/template wash that really lit up the ice," he reports. "I wanted to find the brightest light with the most choice of templates and effects. The 1500s were fantastic - extremely bright, wonderfully crisp, accurate and very fast for a light that size."

The Alpha Spot HPE 1500W moving head is the most impressive graphic effects spotlight available, with an incredible array of color and imagery devices, including 20 gobos on three wheels, animation disc, rotating prism and the exclusive Automated-Star-Gobo (patent pending). All devices are fully combinable with limitless rotation and morphing possibilities. The zoom has an extreme aperture range and amazing speed; an auto-focusing function combined with the Dyna-Cue-Creator make programming and operation easy and creative. A special high definition iris, the advanced Zoom-Tracking-Diffuser and silent operation position the Alpha Spot HPE 1500 at the edge of show-lighting technology.

Methot took advantage of the macro effect, which is unique to Clay Paky fixtures "You tell a light that it's part of a group of ten lights, then it does some of the smarts that you would otherwise have to do on a console," he points out. "Thanks to the macro effect, we used some effects that we might not have otherwise thought to light."

Previsualization for the show was done at A.C.T Lighting; A.C.T is the distributor of Clay Paky lighting and grandMA consoles in North America.

"A.C.T was very helpful in pointing out some of these features during the previs on the grandMA 3D," says Methot. "That allowed us to have a head start when we got to the venue."

For the salute to the figure-skating champions Methot ran two full-size grandMA 2 desks networked together. Robert Bloom was the programmer.

Francesco Romagnoli, Clay Paky Area Manager for North and Latin America, adds, "We're pleased that the our lights were able to so capably meet the needs of this event. "Our gratitude goes out to Mr. Methot for choosing our lights and our partner, A.C.T Lighting, for working with them."