Lighting systems for churches come into two different categories; architectural lighting of the building and performance/presentation lighting.
Architectural lighting is the lighting of the building in a sympathetic way. It is both practical and enhancing. From a practical level, the lighting needs to be sufficient for a variety of times of day and needs to provide a good working light for all religious ceremonies. This can be controlled via a simple preset button station that can have a variety of settings depending on the time of day and situation. In terms of enhancement, religious buildings often have so many features that can be enhanced with simple lighting. The usual protocol for this type of lighting would be a discussion during a site visit to ascertain the most suitable options. For example, spires and statues lit in the correct way can become a beautiful focal point.
Performance and Presentation lighting is much more about church bands, large scale ceremonies and dual use aspects. Church bands are becoming more and more common and bring with them the requirements of any band. A simple rig can be established in an unobtrusive position. There are many options for a rig that can disappear during the day and be moved into position when required. There is also an increased demand for lighting, to enhance the areas such as the pulpit, so that the person speaking is more of a focal point to an audience. This is simple to achieve with the right equipment and can be mounted in a way that does not draw attention.
Finally we come to the dual use aspect. Quite often, churches find themselves being used for other purposes such as external hire. Hires can range from simple events through to presentations and performances. By installing a basic infrastructure, the building becomes more viable to clients. A tie line system for AV and Lighting can be the difference between a client booking the space and deciding that it isn’t an option. For example a small touring Shakespearian production would be much more likely to come to the building if they have power, simple enhancement lighting and an audio tie in.
An example installation of a church building lighting system:
A GDS LED Arc system running back to a preset control forms the majority of the house lighting. This is able to be controlled at any time to suit the atmosphere required. The system is great for compatability and can be added to at any time. Similarly if there are existing fittings that the church wants to keep. The majority can be converted to run on the same GDS system.
The spires and walls are lit sympathetically, using ETC source 4 mini. These hybrids between a profile and par 16 are fantastic for lighting architectural aspects. With their shutters, they have full framing capability and due to their wide angle lens they can be mounted at close proximity.
Performance and Presentation Lighting:
The pulpit and main delivery area are enhanced by two ETC Source 4 LED fixtures. These are shuttered off in order to only light the area required. With a long life engine in them and a tungsten warm white colour mix. They will provide a subtle lift when required and will need little maintenance.
The performance and show rig is formed by a truss on a motor system. This, during the day, can be hoisted way out of eyesight, where it can stay until required. It can even be incorporated so that it hoists behind some soft masking, so that it cannot be seen until lowered. The truss contains a comprehensive rig designed to be multipurpose from bands through to Shakespeare. There will be an ETC system that will allow the user pre-configured control to suit the application. Or for the more advanced user, they will be able to take full control of the rig and programme their own show file. Being the most common lighting control system in the world. It also allows potentially hiring clients to tour in their own show file and upload it into the same system. Below is an example truss design:
If you would like to talk to us about effective sound or lighting systems for churches, or indeed an extraordinary sound system by Old Barn Audio, then please contact us. Either on +44(0) 1892 752246, by email or our contact form and someone will be in touch.