- March 12, 2018
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Video Production
Easter is the second highest attended church service after Christmas. Because of the spiritual significance of the day and the fact that many people that are not regular church attenders will be present, many churches are planning to add special elements to their services.
Some churches will be doing full-blown theatrical productions, while some will just be adding special music and additional Easter pageantry. But regardless of what you are doing, if you plan on lighting it, now is the time to figure out your plan of action.
I know that “start early” for a major Christian holiday is the mantra of every church technical director out there; yes, it sounds a bit cliché, but it still holds true. So exactly what things need early planning?
Where to begin …
First, you need to have a basic understanding of what your Easter season services will look like. Are they full blown passion plays staged like a Broadway musical, are you doing a basic Easter Cantata or choir concert, a simple theatrical production, or is it mainly business as usual? The answers to these questions will help you determine your staffing and equipment requirements.
Once you have a basic understanding of what you are doing, lock down a schedule and put out the word to your volunteers, especially those that do your lighting programming and operation. Some presentations are people-intensive and Easter is a time when many families travel and will be out of town. You don’t want to assume that your best lighting person is going to be there for the program. Ask them to be there and get it on their schedule. Also, re-hanging and re-focusing your lights is a time- and personnel-intensive activity. If you aren’t going to have the people power to change the whole system around it might require you to rethink how you are going to light your production—or it might force you to hire professional crew.
Checking the Inventory
The next thing that you will want to do is make sure all of your existing lighting equipment is working. If you have equipment that is not working you will want to plan for repairs in advance of your production programming and rehearsal time. Starting early allows for parts and lamps to be ordered so there is plenty of time to get the fixtures working before the production. Nothing adds to the stress of a production week like trying to repair equipment that you feel is essential to the production. If you work on it early and find it isn’t repairable you can make plans to purchase or rent a replacement.
If you are renting additional equipment for your production you will want to place your equipment order as early as possible with your local rental house. Easter, like Christmas, is a busy time for rental companies since many corporate shows and music tours happen during this time of the year. This reduces the amount of gear that is available for rent. In addition, other churches in the area will be renting equipment for Easter, which will also exhaust the local supply of equipment. As such, you might end up renting from an out-of-town source or paying a premium price for gear if you wait.
Just a couple more notes on renting lighting equipment. Make sure when you rent gear that you have the correct cables and connectors that interface with your system. For instance, you may use Edison connectors on your dimmer outputs but the rental company uses stage pin plugs on all of their cable and fixtures. Make sure that you have the correct adapters. Also, if you are renting automated fixtures, make sure that your control console can operate what you are renting and that you have available power.
Additionally, one often-overlooked item is a man lift for accessing your lighting system. Spring construction season will be starting up and the lift rental companies will start sending the majority of their equipment out on construction projects. Not being able to hang and focus your fixtures will quickly put a damper on your Easter program plans. Order your lift early.
Into the Planning Phase
As you get closer to Easter you will probably have more detailed information about your program. With this information you will want to develop a lighting plot showing where you are going to hang your fixtures and where they will focus on stage.
While there are many Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) programs, a hand-drawn pencil sketch can work just as well for simple systems. You just need a way to communicate the plan to your volunteers.
As you refine the plan you can add information such as gel colors and gobos to use, as well as what dimmer the light is plugged into, etc. If you are using LED fixtures or moving lights you can add the DMX addresses of the fixtures to make them easy to patch in the console. The goal here is to have the information on the plot so you can hand it off to the team and let them run with it, setting it all up.
Remember that first impressions matter and there will be many people that attend on Easter. This will be the first for a number of them—and maybe the last time—that they will visit your church. So take your time and create a warm and inviting environment.
Start now and by the time Easter rolls around it will all come together as planned. Everyone loves it when a plan comes together.
Lighting Design Has Four Basic Components:
The first, most obvious use for lighting is visibility.
2. SELECTIVE VISIBILITY
The second reason is to call attention to an area of the stage where you want the audience to focus, or alternatively drawing attention away from an area of the stage where you don’t want the audience to focus. For example, you may not want attendees to focus on a scene change or the band coming on stage.
The third reason for using lighting is mood. Creating mood with lighting can be accomplished with intensity, color selection, lighting angles, or a combination of all of the above.
The last reason for using lighting is for modeling. Essentially, using lighting for modeling is nothing more than making the subject of the lighting stand out from the background or making the subject more visually interesting or, in a nutshell, making it all pretty.