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First things first, it’s pronounced “myth-os” (soft Y sound) not “meeth-os”. Where on earth did people get the hard Y sound from?

We’ve finally seen what Clay-Paky’s new light from a few weeks ago is – it’s the called the Mythos, and it seems to be a direct answer to the popular Robe Pointe, with a few cool upgrades. I saw a demo of these units a few weeks ago and though I haven’t had an opportunity to use them on a gig yet, but here are my initial impressions.

First, these units are bright. Really bright. They’re based on an Osram 470-watt lamp, the same as the SuperSharpy, (It’s Super, it’s Sharpy) and based on what I can see looking at them, they will cut through any wash or video wall that you care to throw at them. I didn’t get a chance to look at the optical train, but there’s quite a few fun gadgets in there for LDs like me to play with. First, they have color mixing. This is surprising, because color mix systems don’t really function their best with very narrow-beam optical systems like this. The mix system in the Sharpy Wash used wheels with fat, circular elongated triangles that progressed from thin to wide as the mix got more saturated, but here Clay-Paky has gone a different direction, and used wheels with a “speckled” gradient on them. This seems to work well – though systems like this tend to enhance any kind of imperfection in the mix system, and that happens here as well. Artifacts are very visible moving through the output when the unit is in “beam” mode, but it gets considerably better when it’s zoomed out or you drop a frost in. In beam mode, however, we don’t really need theatrical-grade color mixing, and the system works just fine for its intended use.

The optical system is very interesting. The convergence point, unlike most other arc-lamp based systems, is outside the housing of the unit, and this can be clearly seen in mid-air. It’s particularly noticeable when the unit is in beam mode. This convergence also means that anything in the beam is perfectly in focus at that point, so when the color mix system is inserted, you can actually see the little needle-thin streaks of the stippled pattern on the color wheels. It’s a very interesting effect, one that I doubt was intentional but it’s cool nonetheless. The focusing system can move the convergence point of the beam up and down along the length of the output, so you can vary where this effect occurs, but it’s not possible to get the mix system into focus all the way down the beam, to use the mix system as a colored gobo, for instance. (You wouldn’t want it to be, really.)

Both the SuperSharpy and the Mythos contain the same gobo load, with a variety of both rotating and static gobo. I wasn’t overly-enthusiastic about the gobos they picked, but everybody likes different sorts of gobos, and Clay-Paky has made these easy to replace if you want a custom gobo load. George, the ACT guy who demoed the unit, said that the choice was conscious one to make the gobos more “organic”, and I agree with that choice of wording. There are some good patterns in here which should work just fine for all sorts of events.

The optical zoom / focus system is very, very fast. I was able to put a zoom chase on the unit that’s faster than anything I would ever use, outside of an EDM show. It’s a very usable zoom. I’m extremely happy to see that in the last few years manufacturers have been moving away from the conception of a zoom optic as a “utility” parameter used only for focusing and spill control to recognizing that it can be used as an effect, and dramatically increasing the speed at which these motors can move.

Clay-Paky also brought over the linear prism that the Pointe had, and the circular diverging prism (technically, a octagonal pyramidal prism) that the original Sharpy had, to split the beam into eight diverging beams from a central point. Both of these provide nice separation of the image, and the linear prism is a very interesting effect that isn’t on too many lights these days, though I’m sure it will be copied by every other manufacturer within a few years. One small note, the unit supplied by ACT for their demo did not have a production reflector on it – one-off reflectors are very expensive – so the prisms had some very noticeable drop-off at the edges, some of which ACT reports will be resolved when the production units start shipping.

In all, I love this unit. It’s bright, it has lots of ways to play with the output, and it’s light. I think Clay-Paky has a winner here, and I look forward to using some soon.

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