Our industry finds itself in some stagnant stages, and many would say that we’ve been in one for quite some time. However, this year seems to be bringing us a change in technology that's producing some really interesting products, and big things are starting to come in very small packages. Clay Paky’s Sharpy is an excellent example of this paradigm shift within our industry. Smaller, faster, brighter, stronger are just some of the adjectives used to describe this pipsqueak of a luminaire. For Clay Paky, which has always seen a good share of the European market but has often struggled to compete for market share in North America, it’s safe to say the manufacturer just might have its year to truly shine in the US.

So who is this thing for? Just about everyone involved in a production. From the LD to the accountants, this unit stands to please them all. In typical Clay Paky quality, optics are the prime focus. The unit produces a beam that is free of halation and maintains a zero-degree beam angle of parallel projection for an unusually long throw. Untypical of this manufacturer, though, is the fact that Clay Paky seems to have shifted from the focus of pristine image quality—still extremely good, mind you—truly pushing to get the most output out of a tiny package. This is in no way a slight to the Sharpy’s optics. Although the unit does have multiple gobos, its main focus is not that of an image projector but rather an aerial beam effect. Its output is enhanced via a triple lens system that ultimately produces output of approximately 5,000 footcandles at 65’. This is the type of output that’s normally seen with xenon fixtures, not sub-200W lamps that could pass as carryon luggage.

This little guy puts out a stunning amount of output with only a 189W discharge lamp. Honestly, when was the last time you really saw a 200W-range discharge lamp on a large scale production? There are exceptions to the rule, but the majority of us haven’t seen too many 575s in the last few years, much less something that’s been largely relegated to the small nightclub community since the late 1990s. The Sharpy's eye-popping beam is attributable to the 189W MSD Platinum 5R lamp, and a major advantage of this particular lamp is one to please technicians and accountants alike: its 2,000 hour lamp-life.

At just 35 pounds, the unit is not only easily transportable but also easily managed by a lone technician. That light weight also translates to less stress up in the rig too. Its small footprint also makes for smaller roadcases, and the trickledown effect works its way to the truck pack. More fixtures in appropriately sized roadcases means more gear packed into the truck, which, in-turn, means more savings on the overall production.

Being a true effects fixture, the unit comes with a 15 slot color wheel, including its open white position, and 17 static gobos. A frost filter and 0-3.8° zoom lens round out the unit’s effects package, while a rotating eight-facet prism gives motion to those static gobos.

Speaking of motion, the pan and tilt speed of this unit is exceptional. We haven’t seen speed like this since moving mirror fixtures, and since no manufacturer seems to be willing to give us a scanning mirror unit with high-output in a small package, it’s nice to see such incredible speed in a moving head. I could give some speed numbers, but what kind of picture is that really going to paint in your mind? If you want to see the thing in action, head to Clay Paky’s website where they're proudly displaying several videos showing the Sharpys being put through their paces.

Clay Paky products are distributed in the US by A.C.T Lighting.