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Clay Paky delivers dynamic looks for Sam Smith
Lighting Designer
Will Potts

UK – Lighting and production designer Will Potts has chosen to use an array of Clay Paky fixtures for quadruple Grammy-award winning artist Sam Smith’s ‘In The Lonely Hour’ UK tour.

For his stripped back yet stylish design described by The Standard as ‘spectacular lighting’, Potts specified 6 Clay Paky B-EYEs, 12 Sharpys and 22 Sharpy Wash 330s from PRG. The tour covered such venues as the o2 Academy Brixton and Manchester’s o2 Apollo.

“We wanted the show design to be simple and classy because Sam’s the focal point the whole time, so it’s key here to reinforce that and not over-embellish,” explains Potts. “The original design was built for enormous arenas on the previous North American run so we have scaled that back while still making use of the full space with layers. As some of Sam’s tracks are delicately intimate and others are more full and bold it’s important to have flexibility in the rig.”

The Sharpys made up part of Potts’ floor package and were positioned behind the video risers. He then rigged the Sharpy Wash 330 fixtures in an arched truss that beautifully framed the band.

“I used the Sharpys to bring the floor to life and open up the space behind the risers with their fantastically tight beams,” continues Potts. “The Sharpy Wash 330s have also been really good fun to use because they’re super quick. They’re perfect fixtures in that we can line that truss with them because they’re lightweight and very reliable.”

Both the Sharpy and Sharpy Wash 330 are highly portable fixtures, weighing just 16kg and 18.5kg respectively. However their power belies their size, with both equaling the output of fixtures with much higher wattages.

Potts rigged the B-EYEs in the roof where he used them for key front lighting of the band.

“The B-EYEs were ideal for intense washes of colour to pop the band out of the backdrop,” says Potts. “I didn’t use any of the B-EYEs’ unique effects this time around because they really do make great soft beam lights. Some people have said they look like a moon on this show which is unintentional but a nice reference.”

Sam Smith’s tour continues this month throughout Australia and New Zealand before a jam-packed summer of European, American and festival dates.