Murfreesboro, Tennessee-based equipment rental company Morris Light and Sound Inc. can't keep its new inventory of Clay Paky Sharpy fixtures on the shelves. The company is also doing a brisk business with its grandMA and grandMA light consoles. A.C.T. Lighting is the distributor for both product lines in North America.
"After getting a demo of Sharpy we purchased 24 for the upcoming Xtreme Muzik The Tour with country duo Big & Rich and Gretchen Wilson," says David Haskell, owner of Morris Light and Sound. "Then we used them on CMT's live 'Music Builds: CMT Disaster Relief Concert' for the victims of the recent storms, floods and tornadoes. After that we ordered 12 more Sharpy fixtures for Jake Owen who's supporting Keith Urban on tour.
"We're among the first to take delivery of the lights, which are pretty impressive for their size and punch. For television, their most impressive feature is how quiet they are: You can't hear anything. We think they're amazing - we're really excited about them."
Morris Light and Sound also owns six grandMAs full-size and five grandMA lights, which it is supplying to the tours and furnished to the TV show. "We love them. They're great for tours and have proven to be a very rentable commodity."
Lighting and production designer Mike Swinford only had six days to put together "Music Builds." "When they wanted a 'beamy' type of light, I immediately thought of the Sharpy," he says. "I think we were the first show to use the Sharpy for broadcast.
"The set had two stages. One was acoustic, very stark. We used eight Sharpys - they're very small but with such a graphic beam. The other stage was for the house band and different acts; it had eight Sharpys on the floor that created a great graphic element the producer loved.
"The sharpy high Kelvin 8000 reads very blue on TV, even with cameras chipped at 5600 Kelvin. This is not a bad thing as the high color temp punches through other lights live and as well as on camera. Programmer Mark Butts pointed the lights at the acrylic floor at times, which bounced back and doubled the beams. People actually called the show afterwards to find out where we got those lights!"
Mark Butts is already a fan of the Sharpy, which he calls "a rockin' light!" He found them to be a "perfect choice" for the live "Music Builds" concert. "They were small, light, very low power and had great gobos. I was really impressed by how compact, bright and fast they are - those are big selling points. And no other light has this look."
Butts programmed a grandMA full-size to control the lights for the benefit concert. "With a live TV show there's no room for error. We chose the grandMA because it has always been solid and reliable. We never have to worry about it."
Butts notes that he also uses the grandMA on concerts where the bit map editor is especially useful. "It helps me do unique and interesting looks and effects really quickly," he says.
Swinford plans to use a complement of Sharpy fixtures on the Xtreme Muzik tour this summer and fall. "For Big & Rich and Gretchen Wilson we want an old-school rock 'n roll look," he explains. "Sharpy is kind of a modern-day ACL with movement and color. I plan to use them up high, hung on a truss in groups of four mostly for graphical and in-air effects. We can point them straight down through a field of smoke and make a sort of light curtain."
He likes the Sharpy's "great color palette and gobos" and is amazed at its speed. "It's almost as fast as a moving mirror head," he says, " and it puts out an amazing amount of light."
Swinford is also a veteran grandMA user. "Every show I do with Mark Butts, it's his board of choice. I've also been using them with Kenny Chesney for the last 10 years. That's how I originally met Mark - he's a real wiz on that board!"