Clay Paky fixtures were the lighting instruments of choice for the 12th annual Critics’ Choice Awards ceremony at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, January 13, 2007. The show was televised on E! on January 20.

Bestowed by the Broadcast Film Critics Association to honor the finest in cinematic achievement, the awards are acknowledged to be one of the most accurate predictors of Academy Award nominations: Between 1997 and 2004, the Critics’ Choice nominations predicted all but two of 35 Academy Award nominations for Best Picture. By comparison, the Golden Globe Awards were three times more likely to go a different way during the same period.

Lighting designer David Mann of E! Networks obtained 25 Clay Paky Alpha Profile 1200 spots for the awards ceremony from CW Productions (CWP). The show was the first in the US to utilize the new fixtures, which feature extraordinary luminosity, a large, newly-designed effects section, color-mixing CMY, and linear zoom 10Âş- 40Âş.

“The overriding goal was to put on a full-fledged awards show with a distinctive look. It needed to be right there with the big awards shows but had a much more competitive budget,” says Mann. "I was looking for a hard-edge fixture to feature in the show when CWP general manager Fred Waldman approached me about the new Clay Paky fixture he had just seen. With no scene changes, we needed to have some movement and be able to change the look at a moment’s notice: Lighting and video would carry the look of the show."

“The Alpha Profiles were fantastic. We featured them prominently as floor units on the stage and used them for effects lighting on the audience--both were important components of the show, and the Alpha Profiles allowed us to tie the stage to the audience and the audience back to the stage in one seamless setting. The gobo wheels gave us great changing looks. And the lights were incredibly bright and even. The whole frame of light was the same at the edge as at the center. There was no drop off. They cut through all of the conventional lighting. The colors were very saturated which was great: We had a lot of LED media and it was important for the beam and color to punch through and read well on camera.”

CWP, which rents, installs, sells, and supports automated lighting and digital lighting, previously worked with Mann on other projects for E! “When Clay Paky showcased the Alpha Profile 1200s for us we compared them to similar lights and thought they were a better fixture, and when we saw the pricing, it was an easy decision to make,” notes Fred Waldman. “Side by side, the light was far better. We find that the shutter mechanism in the 1200 is quite amazing. You can wipe the image with one blade, and the mechanism rotates 90º which is pretty impressive as well. And Clay Paky’s service, support and overall customer service is awesome.

“When David (Mann) came to us with an overall idea of what he wanted for the Critics’ Choice Awards we showed him the Alpha Profiles and he really liked them,” Waldman adds. The lighting designer’s choice for the Critics’ Choice Awards was a winner all around.

CWP was the main equipment supplier to the Critics’ Choice Awards. Fred Waldman served as gaffer and account manager on the show.