The first company in the US to acquire Claypaky Mini-B fixtures, Burbank-based Volt Lites, Inc. has seen a steady pace of requests for the smallest LED moving light ever made by Claypaky for the professional market. The most recent was from Lighting Designer Arnold Serame who chose Mini-Bs for Riot Games’ LCS 2021 Mid-Season Showdown tournament at The Los Angeles Greek Theatre.
“We were very excited to get the Mini-Bs so early – it was a no brainer decision to purchase them,” says Harrison Lippman, Co-founder of Volt Lites. “Even during COVID we found people utilizing the Mini-Bs for their efficiency and size. They’ve been a great tool for our clients. We’re getting second requests for Mini-Bs now as clients see them as a useful part of their toolkits.”
Weighing a little over 15 pounds, Mini-B is the smallest LED moving light ever made by Claypaky for the professional market. It features a wide zoom, ranging from 4° to 55° for extremely versatile performance. At the narrow angle, the beam is very solid and concentrated, superb for aerial effects. At full aperture, the Mini-B becomes an excellent wash light replacing much heavier and bulkier equipment. The Mini-B’s central LED may be controlled separately from the external ring of LEDs, making it ideal for graphic lighting effects, too.
Arnold Serame, who heads LA’s Serame Design, used 78 Mini-Bs from Volt Lites to create a wall of lights on stage for the LCS Mid-Season Showdown. The North American League Championship Series (LCS) is a professional esports league for the MOBA PC game League of Legends. Its 2021 Mid-Season Showdown replaced the Spring Playoffs of previous years with the winner qualifying for the subsequent Mid-Season Invitational in Reykjavik, Iceland. The Mid-Season Showdown, produced under strict COVID protocols and with a limited crew, was held from March 20 to April 11 and seen on the LoL esports website, Twitch and YouTube.
Competition took place during the day with players positioned in the vast Greek Theatre audience seating. The broadcast area on the stage was outfitted with two levels of portrait-mode LED video panels staggered and spaced like video columns through which the back wall of lights was seen giving the impression of a continuous surface. The LEDs displayed graphical content and players IMAG while the light wall was choreographed to flash, chase and beam in an array of colors.
Since all of the league’s shows in 2020 were produced remotely with no big live events, the LCS 2021 Mid-Season Showdown was intended to make a big statement, Serame notes. “It marked a return to big shows with a single look on stage.”
“The trick was building a big, impactful light wall, that would operate in daylight, with a limited number of crew in order to adhere to the strict COVID production protocols in Los Angeles at the time,” he explains. “Usually, I’d use the biggest, brightest lights possible, but that wasn’t practical with a small crew and a limited budget. That’s where the Mini-Bs came in: smaller fixtures that were more intense and focused so it made it feasible for a small crew to go big with the look. It blew me away to see the Mini-Bs read so brightly in LA’s afternoon sun. They looked stunning.”
Serame was also impressed by “the artistry of the Mini-B’s zoom lens. We could take the same chases and effects and they would have different feels at different zoom settings. To take an effect and exactly match the feel of a particular part of a show, you’re usually dealing with waveform speed and size. The Mini-B zoom was another layer in the arsenal of customizing effects really simply with just a touch of the zoom knob.”
Serame reports that he considers the Mini-B part of his toolkit now, and Volt’s Lippman believes the fixtures, which have gained repeat customers, “will see more opportunities than ever going forward.”