Pro sports leagues and their fans demand spectacular halftime shows these days, and the NBA All-Star Game Halftime Show on February 26 was no exception. Lighting designer Otis Howard got some assistance from the grandMA and 30 Clay Paky Sharpy fixtures, which lent their unique look to high-octane performances by Pitbull, Chris Brown, Ne-Yo and Nicki Minaj.
"When you go into a show like this you need to appeal to the NBA, the client and the artists," says Howard of Otis Howard Design in St. Petersberg, Florida. "They wanted a dynamic halftime show - something on a par with the NFL. There's always the challenge of making a show like this look big, and the 2012 show was the biggest they'd ever done. We had to come up with a lot of bells and whistles."
Howard had seen Sharpys in action and was looking for an opportunity to use them. "They seemed like the right tool for the application: The unit was dynamic, and we needed something low profile that was small and fast. Sharpys are as fast as a mirrored head - that's quite an innovation."
Mixed in with lasers and a large lighting complement the Sharpys really stood out, Howard reports. "They delivered a lot of bang for the buck. We had 20 on stage and created a lot of different looks with them, including grouping them in clusters to create a helix like you get with helicopter blades. We put the additional 10 fixtures under a four-foot high plexiglass disk that was rolled out for Ne-yo. Nothing else moves that quickly."
Howard says, "I can't use the word 'dynamic' enough to describe Sharpys. They're so low profile but have this amazing output - it's crazy!"
A grandMA console was used to control the lighting instruments. Howard teamed with programmer Mark Butts on the show, calling him "a great collaborator."
Francesco Romagnoli, Clay Paky Area Manager for North and Latin America, adds, "We're proud that our Sharpys are involed in such a high profile project. Mr. Howard is a great designer and it shows in the projects he works on. We're glad to be able to help with our innovations."
A.C.T Lighting is the North American distributor for Clay Paky.