When it came time for rock legend Paul McCartney to acquire a new lighting rig for his many appearances from coast to coast, lighting designer Roy Bennett selected an array of Clay Paky Sharpy fixtures controlled by a grandMA console. Both product lines are represented in North America by A.C.T Lighting.
Bennett has been working with McCartney on a series of one-off concerts for the last four years, including the former Beatle's opening of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, California in 2009. "We had a rig that we traveled with, that we continually used for shows," he says. "After all that time I wanted a new rig, and we had a couple of weeks of production time so I redesigned the rig to be really clean and efficient - something that was easy for production to deal with but that also had a lot of power."
Having seen Clay Paky Sharpy fixtures at LDI, Bennett remembered the small but powerful lights that had made such an impression on him. He went on to structure the new rig around the strong but compact fixtures, building versatility into the rig since McCartney is known for providing a set list only a few days out from the concert and may change his mind on the fly.
Bennett designed the rig with 64 Sharpy fixtures arrayed in two curved trusses of 32. An additional 25 Sharpys are mounted on a rear wall in five rows of five. The main rig also boasts 59 VARI*LITE VL35000 washes and 57 VL3000 spots. He also chose 62 upstaging LED cube headlights, 31 audience lighters, 16 IW Color Blast beauty lights and 240 Martin MAC 101s. McCartney's video wall features Nocturn V lights.
"Although the lamp count is quite high, the Sharpys are small and quite efficient," Bennett reports. "One of the reasons I thought about using them was that Paul wanted to use a cage lighting effect around the band members, and I thought the Sharpys would be perfect for that. They have turned out to be a great success. Paul absolutely loves the look of the lights and so does everyone else. Production people especially like their small, lightweight footprint."
Lighting director and programmer Wally Lees says that the intensity of the Sharpys have made a hit with all concerned. "It was the one thing we were missing before," he notes. "We just didn't have enough power. The Sharpys are working great."
John Huddleston at Upstaging, Inc., which supplied the rig, concurs. "The Sharpys have been performing beautifully. Everyone raves about them."
The grandMA also garners kudos. "We have over 70 songs in the console, and no effect is used more than once," says Lees. "The size of the show and the content is huge. Every time you see a song, it has a unique look thanks to Roy."
"I've been using the grandMA for a long time," Bennett notes. "It's a very stable and efficient console and has been a great asset for Paul's shows."
About A.C.T Lighting
A leading importer and distributor of lighting products, A.C.T Lighting, Inc. strives to identify future trends and cutting-edge products, and stock, sell and support their inventory. The company provides superior customer service and value for money to all of its clients.
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