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16 Dec 2015

Review: Clay Paky Mythos

Compact hybrid fixture

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It’s no secret I have a lot of time for Clay Paky. I love how well the company does optics, and the Mythos is perhaps one of their neatest achievements yet.

It’s a compact fixture with a 1,500 hour, 470W discharge lamp. Luminous flux is stated at 23,000lm, native colour temperature is 7800K, and the front lens is 160mm wide.

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Mythos is happy to operate in any orientation you can think of, and the absence of holes on the base of the fixture mean that while it’s not IP rated, it’s among that class of fixture which is more likely to tolerate a bit of rain until you can get up to the truss and bag it. Pan and tilt ranges are 540 and 244 degrees respectively, and I suspect the tilt range has been thus limited to prevent you from pointing the fixture at its own base.

Mythos is marketed as a hybrid, the idea of this being that it can work as a profile, wash or beam light. To do this successfully a unit needs to be able to pull sharp focus on projected gobos, have a good zoom range, and be capable of kickarse beam work too.

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Beam effects within the fixture begin with a pair of gobo wheels – the first is an 18 position (plus open) fixed metal gobo wheel, while the second wheel provides seven 25.9mm rotating dichroic gobos. Because of the way the focal lengths work, the rotating wheel is not available when the fixture is in beam mode. Add to this an animation wheel and dual prisms, and you’ve got a good range of beam features for both aerial and projected effect work. Different wheels allow for sharp focus at different zoom ranges – the fixed wheel is good for 4 to 31 degrees, while the rotating wheel allows 6.7 to 50 degrees. Mythos has a focus tracking system, which means when you zoom in and out the fixture will adjust focus in real time to compensate for the changing focal lengths.

Three colour wheels allow for graduated CMY mixing, and there also are 14 fixed colours spread across these same wheels. Two CTO and one CTB filter are included, so there is some scope to colour match to tungsten sources. A variable frost filter allows the user to subtly soften beam edges or even diffuse the whole beam. Position, gobo indexing and focus functions are controlled with 16 bit resolution.

Mythos is from the same family as Supersharpy, and the two fixtures have more in common than just physical appearance – the main feature being beam functionality. Mythos can be switched into beam mode to produce a 2.5 degree beam. This can be further narrowed using one of the six beam reducers on the fixed gobo wheel. Obviously care is required when operating in beam mode, as the output is concentrated at a point outside the fixture body. A safety feature allows Mythos to automatically blackout if DMX is lost, and another prevents beam mode engaging during lamp strike.

Of course the challenge with concentrating so much output into a narrow beam will always be dimming the output in a nice tidy manner, especially at low intensity. While Mythos struggles a little to produce extremely low output in beam mode, I don’t think this really matters since it’s an unrealistic application. Dimming is more likely to be used with the fixture on spot or wash duties, and for these applications it’s certainly more than acceptable.

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The menu allows for three complete user configurations to be stored and quickly recalled to help reduce setup time, and there’s also a “quiet mode” option. Not that Mythos makes a lot of noise – we reviewed it on video and whereas some fixture cooling fans are distractingly loud, this one was far from it. It doesn’t move as fast as something like a Sharpy, but it has other strengths. An internal battery allows the menu to be used without applying power to the unit.

It’s little wonder Mythos has rapidly found such popularity in production houses. If I was going to equip a lighting hire department with only one type of fixture and I didn’t care about needing to re-lamp periodically, this would have to be one of the strongest contenders for the job. One type of fixture, one type of spare lamp, one console profile… It’s an appealing prospect!

Whether it was beam, wash or spot tasks, Mythos was good at everything I asked it to do. It fits the bill as a versatile hybrid lighting fixture, and does so with extreme competence. I like it a lot.

  • Brand: Clay Paky
  • Model: Mythos
  • RRP: AUD$15,799.00 inc GST
  • Product Info: www.claypaky.it
  • Distributor: www.showtech.com.au

First published in CX Magazine (December, 2015)

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