Posted in education on October 4, 2016 2:31 pm EDT

Enlightened Options

The latest theatrical lighting products spell multi-functionality for your church projects' end users.











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TAGS: avl design, design, led, lighting, theatrical lighting,


By Ken DeLoria

When specifying lighting instruments for a house- of-worship, it’s essential to know the core values of the church in its present form. How do they conduct a typical service? Are there special services for youth, Hispanic, or other groups? What events might take place during holidays such as Easter and Christmas? In short, obtain as much additional information as possible beyond the basic Sunday routine.

Moving lights, rapid color changes, and the additional features that modern, intelligent lighting instruments are capable of delivering can offer spectacular results when used skillfully.

Moreover, through dialog with the various stakeholders, a projection should be discussed and put on paper that accounts for growth and changes over time—even if it’s just a rough draft. Writing down ideas and sending summaries to those who attended the meetings will help to formulate a future plan, which in turn, will lead to choosing lighting instruments that won’t be obsolete as the ministry evolves. Questions to ask include, to what extent is the church projected to grow? Will it occupy parallel locations at some point, i.e., multisites? Add Sunday services? Alter the service format? Augment or diminish the music ministry? Remodel the building?

Lighting requirements can run the gamut from a simple stage wash, perhaps with some color changes for mood (see the pendant lighting instruments that follow) —all the way to a full-on rock- or pop-style presentation with a large live band. Moving lights, rapid color changes, and the additional features that modern, intelligent lighting instruments are capable of delivering can offer spectacular results when used skillfully.

Yet, when as you approach various church clients, there may be less-than-a-consensus among the technical and senior staff, who may not really know what they want, or how to put it into words. This is where creative consulting and compassionate counseling come into play.

The Lighting & Video Bond

Lighting design and video coverage cannot be separated. They are intimately tied together. An improper lighting plot can wash out a video screen. You’ll of course want to know if video will be upgraded along with lighting, and on what timetable. Is there a separate consultant associated with video, or will one of the media staff spearhead it? What purposes will video serve? If it’s as simple as ‘talking head’ projection, the task is relatively easy. Conversely, if pre-recorded video will be presented, the size of the screen(s) may need to be much larger to accommodate varying content.

It’s also very important to know who will be operating the systems, to determine the extent of their capabilities. Will moving lights need to follow a performer? Or can all scenes be preset with a simple ‘advance’ command? Will the operator need to make color changes on the fly? Is the video expected to be of broadcast quality with multiple camera shots changing regularly? (Note: broadcast quality video must be carefully coordinated with the lighting system for appropriate color temperature for the cameras.) Conversely, if the service is rather static, little real-time adjustment may be all that’s required.

Other considerations: Will the system need to provide work lights and white light for ingress and egress? Perhaps it also needs to provide a bright white wash for other events, if it is a multi-purpose facility. Does the lighting system require a back-up generator, if it is the only form of light available for emergencies? These questions are important.

Control Considerations

It’s now possible to get audio consoles with lighting control and video control built in, which complicates operational issues. While multi-media consoles may sound exciting and will likely reduce head count of operators or volunteers in a church, managing an expert audio mix when bands, choir and ensembles are part of the service, as well as attending to lighting and video is something only a sharp, ultra-present, and experienced operator can do. That doesn’t often characterize a volunteer or most professionals, for that matter.

The complexity of the lighting instruments, and the goals and abilities of the worship media team, in no small way will determine how the system is to be used. Understanding present and future utilization will lead to making intelligent recommendations for the types of lighting instruments that won’t disappoint now or in times to come.

To aid in this process, Church Designer offers a sample roundup of modern lighting options available for specification.

ARRI L-Series

The L-Series is the first LED fixture to truly incorporate the Fresnel characteristics of continuous focusability from spot to flood and a smooth, homogenous light field. The L-Series takes full advantage of LED technology, the company reports, and allows for complete control over the color and intensity of light. Three simple knobs permit the brightness, color temperature and green/magenta point to be fine-tuned, while a focus knob on the side of each fixture to allow for smooth adjustment of the beam spread, just like conventional sources. Light emitted from the series’ L7 is specifically calibrated for optimal reproduction on broadcast and digital cinema cameras, ensuring pleasing skin tones and vividly rendered colors. Ideal for church use, the L7 is also constructed to be robust and ergonomic. Find a review from Church Designer’s sister publication, Church Production Magazine, on the L7-C LED Fresnel here: (visit link).

Chauvet Professional Ovation E-910FC

The Ovation E-910FC is a full-featured color mixing ERS-style fixture. It offers full RGBA-Lime color mixing with output rivaling an incandescent fixture, according to Chauvet. It sacrifices nothing when it comes to control options, with modes providing full 16-bit dimming, PWM, RDM, and dimming curve selection. Its Virtual Color Wheel matches popular gel colors when projected by a tungsten source, with color temperature presets from 2,800 K-6,500 K that match a tungsten source.

Chroma-Q Inspire LED Houselight

The Chroma-Q Inspire LED Houselight is reported to provide a range of beautiful whites, soft pastels, and bold saturates for worship environments. Inspire’s output is equivalent to a 500-watt incandescent lamp while drawing just 120 watts. With fully homogenized color mixing and three lens options, Inspire provides an excellent selection of mixed colors and true whites without color separation shadows. The Inspire is fully dimmable from 0%-100% and matches tungsten dimming curves.

Elation Professional Colour Pendant

The Colour Pendant from Elation Professional is a wash luminaire that allows for dynamic control of stage and house lighting levels in an energy-efficient, convection-cooled intelligent downlighting fixture. It houses (36) 3W RGBW LEDs for fully blended color changes or projections of variable white shades. Available in a white or black housing, its uniform flat field output, 3,100 lumens of power and 41-degree beam angle are reported to make it an ideal high-quality wash luminaire for house of worship applications.

ETC ColorSource PAR

An LED luminaire crafted by lighting experts, the ColorSource PAR uses a proportionate recipe of red, green, blue, lime, and extra red to expand the ColorSource PAR's color range, the company reports. It outputs bright, beautiful light, easy to use—with or without a lighting desk—and is designed to meet ETC's high quality standards, as well as being budget-friendly for church end users. The fixture is available in original or “Deep Blue” array options.

Mega Systems Inc. Nova-Lite Q200

The Nova-Lite Q200 is a powerful color-changing LED fixture with extremely wide coverage. Equipped with a 200-watt, single-source RGBW LED, the Q-200 provides smooth, even output. It has a 55-degree reflector beam angle and ships with a 30-degree and 15-degree lens for longer throw applications. A 60-degree diffuser accessory is available for softening the edge of the output. Controlled by DMX 512, the Nova-Lite Q200 offers five modes of operation and up to eight channels, including dimmer, red, green, blue, white, strobe, macro, dim speed. Connections include 5-pin and 3-pin Neutrik XLR and Neutrik Power Conn in and out. A cable mounted Neutrik to Nema 5 15 is also included. Stand-alone programming is facilitated by use of the unit's blue LCD display.

Philips Lighting Showline SL Hydrus 350

The SL Hydrus 350 is a hybrid beam/spot/wash moving luminaire designed for houses of worship, event, television, theatre, and concert lighting applications. Powered by the Philips Platinum 17RA lamp and reportedly delivering exceptional output and great color control, it offers versatility and comprehensive beam effects in a compact luminaire. The SL Hydrus 350 is an ideal choice for designers wanting to create bold and dynamic looks, the company reports.





Learn more about the companies in this story:



Chauvet Professional




Elation Professional




Mega Systems


Philips Lighting



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