Claypaky Mini-B fixtures, the smallest LED moving light ever made by Claypaky for the professional market, are in constant demand at Burbank-based Volt Lites, Inc. where “American Song Contest” was among its latest users. Volt Lites was the first company in the US to acquire Mini-B and now boasts more than 200 of the fixtures – the largest inventory of Mini-Bs owned by a single vendor in the US.
Weighing a little over 15 pounds, Mini-B features a wide zoom, ranging from 4° to 55° for extremely versatile performance. At the narrow angle, the beam is very solid and concentrated, superb for aerial effects. At full aperture, the Mini-B becomes an excellent wash light replacing much heavier and bulkier equipment. The Mini-B’s central LED may be controlled separately from the external ring of LEDs, making it ideal for graphic lighting effects, too.
“Mini-B has proved to be a workhorse fixture for broadcast and streaming content even through COVID,” reports Harrison Lippman, Co-founder of Volt Lites. “Customers like Mini-B for its brightness, compact size, reliability and cost efficiency. When people use them once, they want to use them again and again.”
Lippman explains that when Lighting Designer Noah Mitz of Full Flood was designing NBC’s “American Song Contest,” the eight-episode series hosted by Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dogg, which debuted last March, Mitz decided that the Mini-Bs would be the right fixture for the show. But he needed them in a large quantity – more than Volt Lites had on hand at the time.
“During this time of production delays and supply chain issues Claypaky was able to produce a significant number of Mini-Bs for us without compromise and deliver them on a tight timeline for the first season of ‘American Song Contest,’” says Lippman. The show featured 56 live original song performances by artists from all 50 states, five US territories and the nation’s capital; episodes also aired on NBC.com, Peacock and Hulu.
“Mini-Bs were a great choice for many reasons: They really impressed Noah, his design team and production crew,” Lippman points out. “Mini-Bs make a huge visual impact and are very reliable and easy to maintain.”
Volt Lites’ 200 Mini-Bs were deployed on a set by Production Designer Julio Himede in the style of a forced perspective roadway, which terminated in an upstage wall and sun. “The Mini-Bs really held their own against large-format fixtures and screen surfaces. For a compact fixture they make a big impact on a big stage,” Lippman says. “In 10 weeks of work on the show there wasn’t a single failure among the Mini-Bs. They were the only fixtures used that held up 100 percent.”
Noah MItz added , “the compact size and impressive beam of the Mini-Bs are a fantastic combination. Their speed and color rendering were a great fit for the project and were impressive down the long sides of our set.”
“We look forward to what’s coming up this fall for our Mini-Bs,” says Lippman. “With such a large quantity of Mini-Bs on hand many lighting designers have had the opportunity to use them on projects, and Noah and the Full Flood Team are finding continued uses for them.”
Next up: Noah Mitz plans to put a significant number of Mini-Bs on the upcoming 18th season on “America’s Got Talent,” which has already announced auditions.