Light Painting With Clay Paky at ACT Lighting

I was recently invited to the ACT Lighting office in New Jersey to take a look at the Clay Paky line up of Fixtures. ACT Lighting recently became a distributor of Clay Paky in the United States and wanted to show off the line up of fixtures. The gents at ACT Lighting setup one of each of the Clay Paky fixtures in their expanded warehouse. The fixtures were connected to a grandMA 2 Full Size with haze filling up the entire space. I joked with the guys at ACT that they should start a night club after hours. They had the fixtures, control and room, so why not? If a club can pop up in a meat packing plant like on Seinfeld, why not a shipping warehouse? We’ll see what happens. ;)

The first fixture we took a look at is the new Sharpy fixture. It was announced at PLASA 2010 in London England. The first thing you notice about the Sharpy is it’s size, it is small at just 17″h x 11″w and weighing in at 35 lbs. Inside, the Sharpy uses Philips new MSD Platinum 5R lamp at just 189 watts with a color temperature of 8000k and a life expectancy of 2000 hours. Remember that number, 189 watts. At first mention, you might think… um ok? After turning it on and striking the lamp, at 20 meters or 65 feet, the Sharpy is putting out 55,000 lux or just over 5,000 footcandles.

This is where I must warn you about jaw dropping. If you haven’t done so already, pick your jaw up off the table, it gets better. Combining the high quality, precision optics and the lamp output, Clay Paky has placed a warning on the outside of the Sharpy stating that the fixture should NEVER be pointed at a single point for too long at a distance of 40′ or less for risk of fire! The beam is that intense!

Keeping inside the fixture, the Sharpy has am interchangeable color wheel with 14 colors plus open, 17 fixed gobos, a 9-facet rotating prism, frost and a mechanical shutter. The Sharpy also has a zoom from zero to 3.8 degrees, and electronic focusing built in. Since the Sharpy does not offer a zoom function, Clay Paky included six different size apertures in the gobos to narrow the beam for awesome looking aerials. The colors on the color wheel are not your typical round diachronic, but flags that sit tightly next to each other. This gives the ability to have split colors in your beam.

What was really impressive… the speed of the fixture. The Sharpy is SUPER fast with it’s pan and tilt. It’s so fast it almost hurts to watch the fixture move. The fixture has the ability to complete it’s full 540 degree pan in just over 3 seconds and it complete tilt of 250 degrees in just under 2 seconds.

The Sharpy is a pretty impressive fixture for it’s size, output and speed. Read more about it on Clay Paky’s website,

Another fixture we looked at was the new Alpha 700 Profile. The Alpha 700 Profile is jam packed with features! As with the entire line up of Clay Paky fixtures, I was impressed. The 700 is roughly the same size as your typical 700 watt moving head at 15″w x 15″ d x 25″ high weighing in at 69 lbs. As the saying goes, it’s whats on the inside that counts.

The Alpha 700 Profile uses the Philips MSR Gold 700/2 MiniFastFit lamp. Just like the 700’s brothers and sisters, Clay Paky uses high quality optics and lens to produce smooth and even beams. The fixture has and electronic linear zoom from 9 degrees to 55 degrees and electronic focusing.

Something I have to mention about the zoom and focus feature that will be coming into the Alpha 700 Profile is the “Stay-Sharp Zoom” auto focus feature. Just the like the 700 big brother, the 1500, the 700 will get the auto-focus feature. The auto-focus feature allows you to set the distance the fixture will be projecting on. After setting the distance, the fixture will “hold” focus while zooming in and out. The fixture does all the work determining how to keep focus will zooming! I can’t say it enough… very impressive!

This is where Clay Paky stepped it up another notch. They have a patent on a framing system that uses four blades that move separately with smooth and variable speed movement. The system allows for a “total curtain” effect to completely douse the output.

The 700 Profile features CMY color mixing in addition to an 8 color wheel and open. To top it off, the fixture also includes a linear CTO to match the fixture to tungsten sources. The 700 has 1 rotating gobo with 7 individual rotating/indexable gobos, 1 9-facet prism, 1 interchangeable frost filer, a high speed, 16 segmented mechanical iris and a hybrid 0-100% dimmer that is electronic and mechanical.

I could have sat at the desk all day playing with combination of color, gobos, focus and effects across all the fixtures. There is just so much packed into the Alpha 700 Profile that it seems like there are endless number of looks you can create with a single fixture. Some of the aerials that the fixture was able to produce were mind blowing and just pure lighting goodness. Check out more about the Clay Paky Alpha 700 Profile by visiting their website,

While you are at it check out the entire line up of Clay Paky fixtures. While it wasn’t at the demo as it wasn’t ready yet, I am waiting patiently to see the new Shotlight Wash with 3000 watts of strobe… Yeah, 3000 WATTS OF STROBE! I don’t think this needs to be stated, but don’t look directly into the strobe.

I had a great time playing on the grandMA 2 and the Clay Paky fixtures ACT Lighting had out. If you have not had a chance to see the Clay Paky fixtures in person, do everything in your power to see them. The entire line up of fixtures has features that will be sure to knock your socks off, or at least give you goose bumps. Contact ACT Lighting to find out where they will be on display next or to line up a personal demo, you will not be disappointed.

I want to give a super huge thanks to the gents at ACT Lighting NJ for allowing me to “take over” their warehouse for a day to test out the fixtures and take some lighting porn photos. Next time, the Bar-b-que is on me!