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Sharpy spotlights bring Hollywood glamour to Sky TV
Lighting Designer
Malcolm Reed
Richard Martin Lighting
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Clay Paky’s Sharpy spotlights added a touch of Hollywood glitz recently to Sky Movies’ televised coverage of the Oscars. The show, presented by UK film buff Alex Zane, was shot in what appeared to be a Hollywood apartment overlooking LA, while powerful searchbeams danced overhead.

Only, this wasn’t LA and the beams were not from massive searchlights. In fact, the show was shot in the slightly less glamorous setting of Sky’s London studios and the huge beams were actually from Clay Paky’s modest-sized Sharpy spotlights. The Hollywood illusion was all down to the creative efforts of Sky TV lighting director Malcolm Reed and set designer Nick Ellis.

An authentic looking LA skyline was created using a printed backdrop positioned a few metres beyond the faux apartment windows. LED floodlights at floor level allowed Malcolm to apply colours to the cyc and fine-tune the look. Completing the illusion were beams from eight Clay Paky Sharpy units supplied by Richard Martin Lighting, strafing the midnight skies.

Weighing just 16kg, the tiny, 189W Sharpy produces an intense laser-like beam capable of imitating higher-wattage fixtures, even Hollywood-style searchlights! “They’re brilliant,” said Malcolm Reed. “So fast and responsive. I’m thinking, where shall I use them next?”

Launched in January 2011, the Sharpy has won immediate positive reviews and has been quickly adopted on a number of shows in the UK including BBC’s Let’s Dance, BBC Blue Peter, Channel 4’s Alan Carr Chatty Man and the NME Music Awards.