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Worship lighting versus live theater lighting

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by hhslights, May 30, 2009.

  1. hhslights

    hhslights Member

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    I am involved in light board operation and light design for my school. We do live productions and such there and I was thinking about getting involved with something similar at my church. I would like to know how worship lighting differs from theater lighting in terms of excitement and things that need to be done. How different will lighting a worship service be than lighting a musical?
     
  2. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    That would depend on the type and style of the services your church presents.

    Church lighting spans the spectrum from recessed floodlights to full blown production with movers, projectors and effects.
     
  3. theatre4jc

    theatre4jc Active Member

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    I just made this transition myself. My church is fairly conservative. Not ultra by any means. We have one service where there are VERY few changes. Most songs have the same looks and the changes are subtle. We also do broadcast of that service. We have a smaller service that uses 15 movers and I have a lot more freedom. Can't do large movement patterns or strobe sequences like concert lighting but can do a few effects. I've been given permission to push the limits but to progress with it slowly.

    Bill is right each church is different and with churches you must cater to your churches congregation. It's one thing to push the limits a tiny bit but it's another to possibly offend people.

    As far as the difference in designing there really isn't any. The concept of design in any environment is the same. For a show you design it based on the needs of the script and the concept the director has chosen. Not much different in a church setting, instead of a script you have a congregation and instead of a director you have a pastor. That's been my view and so far it's worked for me well.
     
  4. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    I have been doing both for years.

    There is no difference, just different clients. As always the rule is to please your client.

    Mike
     
  5. quarterfront

    quarterfront Member

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    I'm a Quaker. We generally open the blinds. If it's dark we turn on the lights. There's a switch.
     
  6. FMEng

    FMEng Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    I do lighting at my Lutheran Church. As Bill said, it depends a lot on your church and its style of worship. I do lighting only for special worship services, such as Christmas Eve, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, Easter. For non festival services, we provide a nice, simple, no color wash of the chancel area.

    Lots of things are used in churches to enhance worship services. Furnishings, decorations, symbols like crosses and statues, candles, robes, and music are often used, and lighting is also part of the art.

    I generally, try to be subtle about what I do, with the goal to enhance the mood without calling attention to the lighting itself. That often leaves out bold scene changes, radical colors, moving lights, etc. Sometimes, just changing the overall light level or the balance of "house" lighting to the brightness in the Chancel can be powerful.

    One service that seems to lend itself to being more expressive is Good Friday. There, the lighting can be more dramatic to help symbolize the death of Christ. After all, a crucifixion itself is a dramatic act. Some years, we do a service called Tenebrae, which is Latin for shadows or darkness. I can get pretty creative with that one.

    On the other hand, a church that uses loud contemporary music, and leans to more flashy presentation can do a lot more with stage lighting. It also depends on how much your church is bound by tradition. Some churches welcome new things in worship easily, and some reject any change.

    Remember that in worship, the focus needs to be on God. Talk with your Pastor about your ideas that can support worship. Some Pastors will be excited to try new things with lighting, as long as they have oversight. Others may just turn you loose to experiment, and still others may prefer to do little to nothing. Just remember that the Pastor is the worship leader, so you need to work with them as you would a stage director.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2009
  7. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    These guys hit it spot-on. The design techniques are no different to anything else; what it looks like is dependent on lots of things that are unique to your church: denomination, style, music, history, all that stuff.

    Some are very concerty. Others are more architecturaly. Others are more Mccandlessy. Others only have windows or fluoro tubes. Some more flashy, others more subtle, still others have no changing at all (flouros) or semirandom changes (windows and trees=cookes).

    The big thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.
     
  8. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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    In my church, they unfortunately use the circuit breakers.
     
  9. David Ashton

    David Ashton Active Member

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    Churches seem to have bigger budgets than theatres.
     
  10. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Some most certainly do.
     
  11. epimetheus

    epimetheus Well-Known Member

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    Mine certainly does it seems. I think we're fixing to buy 10 top of the line Sennheiser 3000/5000 series wireless mics (I know it's not lighting, but that's next on the upgrade agenda).
     

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