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Author Topic: OT-Lighting our stage?-Need some basic advice!  (Read 4651 times)

pastorbrian

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OT-Lighting our stage?-Need some basic advice!
« on: June 15, 2004, 12:25:08 PM »

Hi
I am the Youth Pastor/Worship leader of a mid-sized church. (250 at 1 service) We need to light the stage from the front, not just the top house lights!

I really don't know where to start. I understand we need to get controller, dimmers, lights, and cabling, light bar...but thats about as far as I can get on my own!

Any additional advice is welcomed Very Happy

Our budget is 1000-1500$ appx.

Feel free to point me to any web sites as well.

Thanks-
PB Surprised
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breese

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Re: OT-Lighting our stage?-Need some basic advice!
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2004, 09:42:40 AM »

As my background is more of an audio background, I'm going to give that as a disclaimer.

The first thing that comes to mind is to see if there is a consultant you can hire. Ask others about the consultants work ect. just like you should any other projects. All to often in many contractor roles I hear of organizations hiring so and so b/c he's a friend of Mr. Big Donor who sits on the board. Often times whom ever so and so is, they do a half baked job. Granted their cost to you may be lower in the short term, in the long run it can become more expensive to redo things the right way.

Having said that, most installed systems I see have a mechanical room for the dimmers, and the lights are hanged from the ceiling on some sort of rigging. You want to make sure anything hanging from your ceiling has a fail safe system, stationary light fixtures normally have a strap that the light will hang from if the clamp fails.

I can't really tell you which fixtures to use, but I can say from experience that you want the lights to cross the stage, so if a light is stage left, it should be focused on an area stage right. Direct lighting will remove depth and can make things appear washed out.

If you video tape your services, you need to make sure the lighting is even, especially if the speaker wanders. You will also have to be careful with what color gels you use b/c some colors don't work as well on camera (I don't know why, it's just what my TV production friends tell me when I ask about gels).

For the experts here to give good advice you will need to better describe the area you need to light: stage size, stage elements (risers etc), what you need to light, location of current hose lights, etc.

For an installed system, I think $1500 might not be enough so if you can raise some more funds that would be helpful for you. You'll probably spend more money on dimmers and installing things correctly than you will spend on the light fixtures themselves.

Brian
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Hansel Anasarias

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Re: OT-Lighting our stage?-Need some basic advice!
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2004, 06:04:09 PM »

(from the viewpoint of one who researches stuff online a lot, especially, websites)

i haven't messed much with lighting, but you can go to www.pssl.com where they have a bunch of lighting packages.  Depending if you wan't intelligent lighting that's robotic and stuff like that....that'll get really expensivem. But if you need just spotlights (even kinds that change color, etc.) i personally don't think you'd need a consultant.  

Just figure out what you want in terms of the ambiance, and how it'll affect the mood of worship, and other aspects of the service, you'll know exactly what kind of lights you'll need.  Because i've always had to work on tight budgets, grab a package deal.  Eh, i dunno, good luck. But, yer on the right track: dimmers, controllers, etc.  Oh and make sure that yer room can handle all the power needed to power all those lights.
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Mike Sveda

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Re: OT-Lighting our stage?-Need some basic advice!
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2004, 09:07:00 AM »

Contact some sound companies that deal in lights.  Invite them to bring some gear over to your church and demo it for you.  You cna see first hand how the lights will work in your application insted of seeing them online or in a showroom.  Most dealers will gladly work with you.  Tell them your budget and what kind of lighting ideas you have and they can bring out some stuff, rig it temporarily and see how it looks.
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breese

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Re: OT-Lighting our stage?-Need some basic advice!
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2004, 08:18:24 PM »

Well, considering the budget the consultant advice was probably a little over the top, but for a permanent install there are building code issues to contend with. With the size church mentioned, it shoudn't be too hard to find some members who know the code and could do the job but make sure they are qualified, you want to make sure the job is done right the first time.

My thought process with things like this is along the lines of "buy once, cry once" (a wise poster(I don't recall who)). So with that in mind, I'd do what I could to learn about different installs and the process, read online, go to the library, visit other churches, etc. One of your top concerns should be saftey. The last thing you need is a light fixture falling from the ceiling and the church being held responsible for the medical bills or worse. Following saftey, your going to want to look at expandablity. Sure a few lights are good now, but what about the future. It might be worth it to find a good sized light console and while your dealing with the electrical system, have a few extra circuits or more amps (more power) planned than your going to use now.

One church that I attended where I grew up ran extra 20 amp power for dimmers and extra microplex wire. This sort of planning came in real handy the year we decided to use pro level lights for the Christmas contada. The guy who had a major hand in the design and construction of the building attends the church, so he came in and put some pipe in place so we could hang the lights, and after the contada was over, we took most of it down for athestic purposes.

Brian
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jayjanssen

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Re: OT-Lighting our stage?-Need some basic advice!
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2004, 11:16:52 AM »

Hi, I'm kind of in the same position you are in, though I am working on getting the stage in our teen/young adult center lit.  I'm about half-way through this project, so I'll pass along some of the equipment finds I have run across.

We have a Behringer LC2412 lighting board, it is cheap, has a ton of features and seems to work reasonably well.  I got it for $200 on the web.  My only complaint so far is that it is probably way more complicated than we really need.

The lighting board connects to the lights via control cable and then dimmer packs.  Think of dimmer packs as big power strips with the ability to communicate with the lighting board to adjust.  Most dimmer packs are 4-channel, meaning you have have up to four individually controlled (via the board) circuits to plug stuff into.  The dimmer pack I use is the NSI D4DMX, which I found for around $130 a piece.  I can't figure out why they are so cheap compared to the other NSI products, but I'm happy with them.  

Also, don't pay a ton for the control cable!  You're looking for 5-pin DMX cable to run all this, it can be between $50-$75+ for any length of it if you buy it retail, but I got mine on Ebay for around $25-$30 per cable.  

As far as lights, I'm still trying to get that figured out.  We have our house lights on dimmers for now and we've inherited some Par can lights that will be installed soon, but not yet.  

Anyway, I hope that gets you started!
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Jonathan Schroeder

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Re: OT-Lighting our stage?-Need some basic advice!
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2004, 11:22:53 AM »

Fixtures are the cheapest part of all of this, unless you are looking at automated fixtures (with your budget, don't even bother) but you can lower it even more by looking at used fixtures from Lighting Rental companies.  I know of a few in my area that are changing out their rental stock, and selling most of their stuff off at reduced pricing.  Depending on your ceiling height and how far people will be from the fixtures themselves, people won't notice if the lights have been used before or not. Just make sure you get new lamps with them.

However, I would strongly encourage you to talk with someone who does lighting professionally.  I have been in hundreds of churches (touring with a Christian act) and could tell when someone designed the system, and when someone threw it together.  It doesn't matter if you hang 100 lights in the sanctuary, if they aren't in the correct locations, you will still have a very bright, poorly lit stage.  What do people do then?  Spend more money to add more lights, and what do you have?  An even brighter, poorly lit stage.  For a typical stage with strictly white lighting, you can use far fewer well placed lights to cover the whole stage.  

On the cross-stage lighting mentioned above.  Be careful, as you will end up with the onstage (closer to the center stage line) side of the face really bright, and the off-stage side still dark.  You need to get multiple angles lighting each section of the stage.

I could keep on going, but I have a feeling you are beginning to realize this isn't as simple as hang, point, and shoot.

Jon
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Jeremy

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Re: OT-Lighting our stage?-Need some basic advice!
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2004, 08:50:00 PM »

Hi,

Hopefully this will be of some help.

You will want to give some more info for design. The idea is to light the stage evenly from both sides. Gel colors should be pink and blue. This will create a natural white light on stage. There are proper angles for lighting.

Do you have a drawing of the church? Is this a permanent installation or can it be set up and struck each Sunday?

As for instruments I prefer ETC source fours. They are a very bright 575 watt light. A new source four par will cost about $188.00. A ellipsoidal will cost $375.00.

Dimmers come in various sizes. You can get small 4 channel dimmers that mount near the lights. This is feed by 1 20 amp circuit. You can get 12 channel dimmers that are rack mounted. You supply it with a 100 amp circuit and run individual power cables to each light. ETC also makes dimmer packs (only the 12 channel type). For the 4 channel units there are several manufactures.

http://www.etcconnect.com/
http://www.prg.com/equipment/lighting/used/

If you have further ?'s you can email me at zzidad@aol.com
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Jeremy Gates
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Frank Frombach

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Re: OT-Lighting our stage?-Need some basic advice!
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2004, 09:16:24 AM »

Many of the others are correct, you have to locate the fixtures in the proper manner. There are suggested angles and methods of achieving what you want. I'm no expert, but I now a little about this, Here's some very basic advice and very general rules, not set in stone but a good place to start.
Instead of trying to come from the front as you stated, Try 3 point lighting. Angle of Light should be cast around 30-50 degrees, 45 degrees being ideal. 3 point lighting is ideal and includes hitting an object from 3 directions: 2 from the front and 1 from the back. The 2 lights cast from the front are known as Key and Fill, cast at 45 degrees. Objective is to give the object a full natural look. The third light is referred to as Back light and is usually cast at a 65 degree angle. Often overlooked back light gives the object a deep 3 dimensional look. Photometric data charts- get these from the manufacturers of fixtures. They give you the footprint of light the fixture will provide at at given distance. For example:
Par 64 WFL wide flood Image size at 30feet is 13'x26'
Par 64 MFL medium flood Image size at 30feet is 8'x16'
Par 64 NSP Narrow spot Image size at 30feet is 3.5'x 7'
From here you may calculate other distances.
6. How much light do you need? - Example if you have a 40' by 30' stage: Divide the stage into 10x10 squares and count them. Decide on how many color looks per square you want. One 2.4 kW channel is usually enough to give a 10x10 area one look or color temperature (2 1000 watt lamps
for key and fill and 1 300watt lamp for backlight). So roughly we know we need one 2.4Kw dimmer channel per 10x10 square so:
12 x 2400watts per dimmer channel = 1 look
24 x 2400watts per dimmer channel = 2 looks
36 x 2400watts per dimmer channel = 3 looks and so on....

Like I said these rules are not set in stone, with all due respect, a $1500 budget will not get you many lights, much less a consultant, lol so I hope this is helpful to you and your Church.

Frank Frombach
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: OT-Lighting our stage?-Need some basic advice!
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2004, 09:16:24 AM »


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