Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Church Lighting - Shining On Your House Of Worship

Church lighting is one of the most challenging lighting assignments that a lighting designer can receive, especially as more and more churches becomes centered around musical performances and the stage rather than the alter exclusively. The biggest challenge is blending the house lighting and the church’s stage lighting and making them both systemically integrated and thematically integrated. One way of doing this is by using the stage lights in such a way that they can double, at least in part as house lights. If a church has significant resources to devote to stage lighting then the solution is easier: by using moving head effects, beams and washes of light can be swung from the stage to the house more easily. Moving heads are expensive however, and it is common sense that many churches don’t have the coffers for such a lighting investment. Lighting designers realize that house lights don’t aren’t usually up in the house during the entire service, so perfectly uniform coverage is not necessary. One way to light the house and the stage at the same time is to complement the existing PAR cans with additional PAR cans with flood and wide flood PAR can bulbs. By doing this, the light will offer wider coverage and be more diffused, allowing the house to share in some of the light produced by the PAR cans.

Of course the house will need its own lighting, but savings can be had by attempting to bridge house lighting and stage lighting. Investing in PAR can stands and PAR can bulbs with a multitude of beam spreads is one way to do this. PAR cans coupled with PAR can stands can be used as spots on stage or for uplighting along the walls in the house. They can simply be moved and by screwing in bulbs with different beam angles the lighting effect drastically changes. LED PAR cans and LED light bars are another good option for bridge stage lighting and house lighting. Their versatility and built in features makes them very easy to use on stage and in the house.

The problem of integrating stage and house lighting is a never ending one and only gets more complicated as options and technologies for each become more mature. Though this guide is by no means complete and by no means conclusive, consumers and beginning designers should keep an eye out for fixtures that can be used in both applications in order to maximize lighting and keep costs under control.