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Lighting Design Draws in North Carolina Worshippers

CSD Group's lighting design for Grace Church helps staff create professional-quality worship productions to draw in and engage attendees.

By Church Designer Staff   •  October 10, 2017 11:46 am EDT

Tags: design, led lighting, lighting design, technology, worship space,

Silvia Hatchell, the fourth winningest coach in women’s college basketball history, and David Cutcliffe, head football coach at Duke University, have more than athletic success in common. Along with other sports figures like Coach Larry Fedora from the University of North Carolina, the two participated in “Playbook How To Win In Life,” an inspirational series of videos from Grace Church.

The commitment to being a relevant part of its members’ lives is reflected in Grace Church’s new campus, located between Chapel Hill and Durham in North Carolina’s famed Research Triangle. With its sweeping, inwardly curved stage, gently arched ceiling, fanned seating arrangements, and state-of-the-art AVL system installed by CSD Group of New Haven, Ind., the inside of the church resembles a contemporary theatre or conference center. Yet it still makes worshippers feel at home by projecting a sense of warmth and intimacy, in part reportedly due to the Chauvet Professional Ovation and Colordash LED luminaires that CSD used to anchor the lighting system.

“This church is fully contemporary in style, but its leaders also wanted an immersive environment with a sense of transcendence,” says Doug Hood, CSD Group's president. “The even warm white front and stage lighting we got from the Ovation fixtures makes it easy for worshippers to see the stage and connect to the people on it. When you look at a well-lit stage, you are more likely to become immersed in what you’re seeing.”

Fixture specification

The CSD team positioned 12 Ovation F-165WW Fresnels and 16 Ovation E-260WW with 26-degree lenses on downstage truss for front washing and key lighting. A collection of 16 Colordash Batten-Quad 6 linear fixtures is arranged along the front of the stage for low angle color foot lighting.

Adding color and warmth to the design are 16 Colordash Par-Quad 7 fixtures, which were placed in each of the truss structures. In addition to serving as truss warmers, these fixtures enhance the room’s architectural features. “The truss warmers provide a sense of height to the room without full lighting,” says Adam Henderson, operations manager of the CSD Group.

The Ovation fixtures do more than crate an engaging environment for worshippers attending services at the church, they also reportedlyenhance the quality of Grace’s video recordings. “This is a very forward-looking church and video is an important part of its outreach,” Henderson notes. “We definitely had to light for camera. The good balanced white wash and natural looking warm white light we got from the Ovation fixtures was important.”

Versatility was also critical to CSD’s lighting concept for the church. Aside from having the flexibility to support contemporary and more traditional services, the lighting also had to work for the wide range of events that the church holds to engage worshippers. As the coaches who appear in Grace Church’s inspirational videos say, winning means never becoming complacent and always being ready to try new ideas. It is a lesson that this house of worship practices each day.

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