The Clay Paky Alpha Profile 1200 luminaire that combines the technology of the other Clay Paky Alpha range luminaires with an exclusive, patented framing system. The unit features a zoom range of 10° to 30°, a full color system, 14 gobos, an animation effect system, and a prism. With this unit, you can combine effects to get a wide variety of beam shapes and sizes. If you are looking for a beam-shaping profile, then consider getting a demo of the Alpha Profile 1200.

What It Does

The Alpha Profile 1200, a 1,200W luminaire with an electronic zoom, requires 31 channels of DMX for control. The unit features 200 to 240V and 100 to 120V 50/60Hz power supplies, which can be changed over with the built-in selector. It works with Osram 1,200W HTI lamps in either 6,000°K or 7,500°K color temperatures with an average rated life of 750 hours. The body of the unit comprises an aluminum structure with a die-cast plastic cover. It has a pan range of 450° and a tilt range of 252°. At maximum speed, it takes four seconds to pan 360°, and it takes 3.2 seconds to tilt 252°. There are axial fans for forced-cooling; safety devices include a bipolar circuit breaker with thermal protection and an automatic cut-out of the power supply in case of overheating. The light weighs 86 lbs, 14 ozs (39.5kg), and is ETL- and CE-rated.

Clay Paky America managing director Francesco Romagnoli points out some of the features of the Alpha Profile 1200: “The framing system, designed and patented by Clay Paky, operates on four focal planes, generating triangular and quadrangular profiles — rhombuses, trapezoids, etc. — in various shapes and sizes, and the exclusive total curtain effect. This means that the whole light beam can be closed with a single blade. The framing system consists of four blades moving independently from each other with speeds adjustable from the console. Each of the blades is connected to two motors — that determines its movement — and is fixed at the end with worm screws that provide it with linear and regular advancement until they are totally overlapped. This operation keeps each blade in focus in any position. Perfectly defined profiles are obtained in this way that can vary, transform, and compose themselves in space, without compromising the projection quality in any way. It is also possible to obtain complex geometrical figures, such as a large equilateral triangle — impossible to reproduce without the system described above. The whole framing system can also rotate through 90° (±45°) with linearity and at an adjustable speed.”

Romagnoli moves on to describing the color and gobo system of the Alpha Profile unit. “Any shape obtained can be colored with infinite color shadings [CMY + linear CTO + color wheel], fixed and dynamic images that include 14 special gobos in dichroic glass, six of which can rotate, plus animation effects that can also be multiplied with the rotating prism,” he says. “We refer to this as Framed Moving Images, or the FMI effect.” The Alpha Profile 1200 comes with interchangeable gobos in dichroic glass on both the rotating and fixed gobo wheels, and a gobo-shake option that can be selected for both wheels.

Clay Paky wants potential users to note the new design for dimming the Alpha Profile 1200. “The dimmer is on a dedicated channel,” comments Romagnoli. “It is very linear and uniform, thanks to the combination between electronic — reduces brightness by up to 50% — and mechanical dimming.” Two frost filters, high-speed mechanical iris, and stop/strobe effect round out the fixture's effects.

How It Came To Be

“In 2002, Clay Paky presented the Stage Profile Plus 1200, taking the path to producing a professional beam-shaper,” says Romagnoli of the evolution of the Alpha Profile 1200. “The product had great success in professional show lighting because it offered original features in both the framing system and the effects. In 2006, Clay Paky decided to incorporate some of the revolutionary advancements of this product into the whole of the Alpha Range. After a careful study and stringent verification tests run by R&D manager Angelo Cavenati and his team, Alpha Profile 1200 was ready for the official presentation at the 2006 SIB show. From the time of its development to now, Alpha Profile 1200 has been used in some of the major events, both in the US and internationally.”

What End Users Have to Say

LD Greg Brunton, president and partner of Design Partners Inc. (, specified the Alpha Profile 1200. “I was very impressed with the fixtures at a demo at Acey Decy and used them on the BET Celebration of Gospel '07,” he says. “I was very happy to find that the Alpha Profile 1200 looked unique on camera.” Brunton used them for floor patterns and scenic looks, and notes that he “achieved some striking scenes. Additionally, the graphics in the air were new and different from the looks I had been getting in the past. The colors are very vibrant, and color mixing was excellent. Using the gobos overlaid with a prism made a beautiful watery effect on the set. I had no maintenance problems; the lights did not fail or require attention. The units had a bright flat field; good color temperature on the bulb. I'll use them again.”

Mike Djomeh, account executive at Acey Decy Lighting (, supplied the units for the BET Gospel production. “The Alpha Profile 1200 has a very good optics train with a shutter module that works very well,” says Djomeh. “The gobo selection is excellent, and reliability is key for us. We had zero technical difficulties with the lights. It was one of the first shows that those lights had been on for us. As a rental house, the modularity and the ease of repairs and technical maintenance are key for us, so those fixtures are really accessible for a technician. They are easy to check, and the parts are all modular across the Clay Paky line, which means that we don't have to stock a whole lot of parts for every single fixture. We have some basic components that will go into any of their fixtures, so that is one of the nice features that they have compared to some of the other moving-light manufacturers where you have to have parts for every light.”

There is little that Djomeh would change about the Alpha Profile. “The only thing that I would suggest — from a rental house standpoint — is to have an auto-switching power supply rather than a manual-switching power supply,” he says. “We have become accustomed to auto-switching power supplies, which can sense either 120 or 208 voltage simply by plugging it in.” Djomeh notes that he likes that the company has complemented the Alpha Profile 1200 with the Alpha HPE. “When you put both of those fixtures on a show, they work well hand-in-hand,” he says.

David Mann, studio lighting director for Comcast Entertainment Group (E!/G4/Style), says he chose the fixture because he was looking for a featured hard-edge light on E!'s production of The Critics Choice Awards in January. “Marty Wickman and Fred Waldman at CW Productions had just taken delivery of some units and asked me to look at them,” he says. “Obviously, I was very impressed by the fixture. Its brightness, projection, and flat-field were very appealing.”

CWP general manager Waldman adds that he thinks the shutter mechanism is a great feature. “You can wipe the image with one blade, and the mechanism rotates 90°, which is pretty impressive,” he says.

Mann notes that as important as CWP's enthusiasm for the fixture was Clay Paky's involvement, “including account reps Eric Mueller and Scott Townsend,” he says. “Everyone was willing to work together to get the lights into our challenging budget.” When asked what one feature about the Alpha Profile 1200 he likes, Mann responds, “I really liked how flat the field of the light was. From edge to edge, the gobos seemed really sharp and the light seemed even with no apparent hot spot at center. I didn't have any complaints; they did everything I asked them to in both of my shows. I credit the fixture, and I also credit my programmer/LDs for not showing any of the fixture's weaknesses. If they have any, I never saw them!”

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Michael S. Eddy writes about design and technology. He can be reached at