I'm doing some charity work for our church. Their stage/pulpit area has some lighting issues. Unfortunately I don't have any experience here so would appreciate any input. It's an elevated area (three steps up)approx 40' wide and 20' deep with a 16' ceiling height. The area is currently lit with 4 track strips all with spots(now obsolete), 4 small can lights and there is a projection screen just forward of center. The area where they are asking for higher footcandle levels is 8-10' wide and in a slight semi-circle that follows the stair line. This will cover the pulpits, choir area (center stairs) and the praise band. Although it's a bit tricky to work in, there is a 24" space above the ceiling. If I can figure out how to do it I will submit a picture later.
what kind of budget? Are they looking for a cheap solution using conventional lighting? Or are you considering professional stage lighting?
If your looking for the most bang for the buck, I would consider another track with 150 watt Par38. Bring a selection of wide flood, narrow flood, wide spot & narrow spot to get the right beam spread for the specific areas. Also consider if you want 2 circuit track so you can highlight different things at different times. Don't forget to think about controls.
My church was considering upgrading to professional stage lighting with professionial dimming control. I was involved only from the install stand point. I defered to the consultant's suggestions on locations and wattages. You do want to make sure the lights are back far enough from the subjects as to not create shadows on the faces.
Re: Church stage lighting#59007 11/24/0507:16 PM11/24/0507:16 PM
I would first suggest that you visit a few similar places, and see what they've done. I'd also ask the parson what he desires. I'd go to a service or two, just to see how that particular church operates, and what they might expect. There are some basic issues here...is the preacher the star of the show- or does he stand to the side, as a supporting figure?
You definitely do not want to light the prescher from below...unless yeo want to make him look satanic! :-) Lighting from above can also be a problem as you don't want the congregation to be looking into a bright light.
I see a projector screen in the area. One thought is to make a box, and mount a fluorescent strip light in such a way that the bulb is completely concealed from the view of the congregation, with the light aimed up and back. Light will then reflect off the ceiling, and softly light the stage. The same thing can be done on either side of the stage, where the walls meet the ceiling.
This, then, leaves us with indirect lighting, with perhaps a few carefully placed spot lights to accent the artwork. For example, you might replace the spot light on the cross with rope lighting concealed behind it, to make the outline glow. Ditto for any steps parishoners might be asked to ascend.
Were one to be inspired by Hollywood -where a shaft of light falls upon the anointed- you might forgo lighting all together, and have a "solar tube" skylight installed over the alter.
Related topics are holiday lighting and lighting control. Make sure you have enogh switches, and their placed in the right places. Consider whether dimming is desired.
Let there be light!
Re: Church stage lighting#59008 11/25/0510:48 PM11/25/0510:48 PM
Thanks for the thoughts guys! You've given me some good ideas to work with. I was stumped. Reno....I like the indirect lighting idea. I wonder if there's an indirect surface mount fourescent fixture available that reflects the light in one direction only? I've seen small wall washers like this but haven't seen longer ones. If they're available I wonder if they'd work in this application?
Re: Church stage lighting#59009 11/25/0511:39 PM11/25/0511:39 PM
"replace the spot light on the cross with rope lighting concealed behind it"
Not rope lighting for a cross. Use Trac 12. Don't cut corners on the cross. One church had fluorescents on the back of the cross. I think blue or pink neon would be cooler.
IMO I don't like everything on the cieling. The speakers, track, and screen seem to clutter up the look of the cieling. The cieling seems to be curved around the center point the cross. With whats on the cieling takes away from this.
To avoid obstructions taking away from the shape of the cieling I can only think of two things. Comercial recessed lighting.
Or changing the cieling above the stage to concel the lighing, speakers and screen. This could even be done with a curtain across the top. But the pulpets are so close to the edge you would still need lighting further back over the benches.
The ball light could be replaced with something more suttal. Like an indirect light or a up & down light. So you don't see the light shining from the side. It looks like the pues ar lit up much better then the stage. I would want it the other way around with the stage brighter. Some churches turn out all the lights in the audiance and only light up the stage (except for colection time). They put on more of a show. But that gos back to what they want.
I don't know the budget. If you have money to work with you may think about a designer or consultant. You might get better use of the money that way and nicer results.
No offence ment just some thoughts.
[This message has been edited by Active 1 (edited 11-25-2005).]
Re: Church stage lighting#59010 11/26/0507:45 AM11/26/0507:45 AM
You can call in the lighting rep from the mfg you are planning to use. We have done work exactly like this and we had a rep from Times Square Lighting. (Professional lightng) The job came out perfect. Only thing that may be an issue - Very expensive.