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Clay Paky’s award-winning Sharpy debuts at York gig
Lighting Designer
Kevin Thwaites
Vortex Lighting Ltd
Photo Credits
dublinstones photography
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Sharpy, the award-winning, narrow-beamed moving spotlight launched by Clay Paky in January 2011, has already proved a huge success on its first stage performance in the UK.

Weighing just 16kg, the diminutive 189W Sharpy produces a massive parallel beam bright enough for stadium-sized productions. When Graeme Sewell of Vortex Lighting Ltd saw the spotlight at a major industry exhibition he was determined to be the first to use it and gave Sharpy its debut with the Huge Party Band at two recent sell-out concerts in York. ‘I realised that Sharpy was significantly different from anything else on the market,’ Sewell explains. ‘We are a relatively small operation in the North of England and perhaps because of this I’ve always been a firm believer in the less-is-more approach. Sharpy fits the bill perfectly: less weight, less cost, but more power!’

Vortex used just eight Sharpy units to light the concerts at York Grand Opera House, alongside a number of LED wash lights. ‘They’re just incredible,’ enthuses Vortex Lighting LD, Kevin Thwaites. ‘The Sharpies have this massive presence, yet they can move at the sort of speeds you normally only see in moving mirror fixtures.’

The unit produces a laser-like, halo-free beam with a brightness usually associated with far higher lamp wattages. The secret is a new optical design capable of delivering a perfectly parallel beam that is sharp around the edges, without any fuzz or discolouration. ‘We were simply over the moon. The new Sharpy had everyone convinced on the spot,’ says Sewell.

Its zero-degree beam angle and pristine image quality helped it win an Award for Innovation at the PLASA industry exhibition last September, and the unit has since gone on to win wide acclaim and positive reviews from industry commentators in the press.

Sharpy was also an immediate hit with the larger-than-life Huge Party Band, a nine-piece group with a huge local following that has been playing an eclectic mix of rock, pop, soul and disco at gigs in the north of England for 20 years. ‘The local crew at the theatre were amazed and even the band were impressed’ says Sewell. ‘We have provided them with much higher wattage and more expensive fixtures in the past and they didn’t even notice. Sharpy made the difference!’