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Clay Paky Mythos Fixtures Shine on Lighting Designer Matt Ford’s Reality Television Projects
Lighting Designer
Matt Ford
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USA – Clay Paky Mythos has become the ‘go-to’ fixture for lighting designer Matt Ford, who recently deployed Mythos on truTV’s “Fake Off,” The CW’s “Penn & Teller: Fool Us,” and NBC’s “Food Fighters.”  Ford is president of Magic Lantern Creations, an entertainment lighting company in Woodland Hills, California.  A.C.T Lighting, Inc. is the exclusive distributor of Clay Paky fixtures in North America.

Ford was introduced to Mythos at a demo held at A.C.T Lighting where he felt he “found the answer” to his need for a fixture that combined Clay Paky “Sharpy effects with a hard-edged gobo fixture.  Mythos does the job of two fixtures in one light: I get Sharpy effects when I want them and great gobo beam patterns, too.  I’m a huge fan!”

Ford also finds Mythos easy to use on-camera for television shows.  “It’s not a big ugly light; it’s compact and good looking.  I can stick Mythos on the floor in a background shot and it blends in well with the set.”  Ford rents his Mythos fixtures exclusively from PRG.

“Fake Off,” now in its second season on cable’s truTV, is a reality competition show where contestants recreate and re-imagine moments in popular culture in 90-second routines.  Ford uses a couple dozen Mythos fixtures on what he calls “a very theatrically lit show.”

Contestants perform elaborately-staged production numbers, he explains.  “Typically, we might rehearse an hour for a variety show or spend an hour programming the show, but for ‘Fake Off’ we spend upwards of two to three hours per group.  Instead of five to eight cues per number, we get 30-40 cues in 90 seconds.  So it’s almost like Broadway adapted for TV.  It’s important to have the lighting tools that allow us to be versatile in a short amount of time.”  And that’s Mythos.

Ford uses Mythos as floor lights, aimed at the camera.  “With Mythos we get a variety of gobos, an animation wheel and color fading, which isn’t available in Sharpy.  Mythos is so bright that we sometimes end up dialing back the intensity to deal with other fixtures on the set that can’t compete with it.”

Ford recalls one dance number performed in a tropical rainforest set.  “The group integrated a lot of flying in their performances and wanted it to look like they were climbing down a waterfall made of frosted plastic.  They needed water effects, so we placed two or three Mythos upstage center, backlit the plastic, put in a gobo and the animation wheel, and it looked just like falling water!”

“Penn & Teller: Fool Us” is also a reality competition series now airing on The CW.  Contestants try to stump the famed magicians with magic tricks of their own.  Ford has several dozen Mythos fixtures on this show too, using them as floor lights that serve as mid-ground elements with the set in the background.

“In TV we often use lights to create scenery in the air,” he notes.  “But some gobos look like amorphous blobs.  That’s not true of the standard package of Mythos gobos: It offers a lot of options.  The gobos work great in smoke and come out toward the camera – their definition is really great.”

“Food Fighters,” a reality-based cooking competition that pits a home chef against five pros, just began its second season on NBC.  Ford upgraded the existing design with eight Mythos on the big two-level kitchen set: the home chef works in the upper level kitchen and the pros cook in the kitchen below.  The Mythos fixtures are hung on truss at the top of the set.  “It all comes back to the hybrid nature of the fixture: it can do Sharpy effects when we want them and straight hard-edged gobo effects, too,” says Ford.

The lighting designer also tapped Mythos to deliver pattern effects and Sharpy effects on a network game show pilot featuring contestant challenges.

“Mythos is my favorite light for sure,” says Ford.  “It’s one of the best lighting products I’ve seen in a long time.  Mythos has changed the way I think about lighting a show.”

Francesco Romagnoli, Clay Paky Area Manager for North and Latin America, added, “Matt Ford is an all star lighting designer and we’re honored whenever he uses our fixtures.  The Mythos combined with his designs look great on television.  I look forward to following his continued success.”