Environmental Projection: Getting It Done Without Projectors

Besides working to light your team well with front and back light so that they are seen and have depth, the cohesive look of a set or environment behind them now puts them in a space that has depth.

Environmental Projection. At first, it may sound like something to do with keeping rooms cooled or heated. Luckily, it's much easier than that!

How many churches have the skills and budget to do environmental projection well?

If you're not familiar with it, then take a look here first: Visual Worshiper

My favorite one in their gallery is the camping scene! That really transforms you there. But as Brent Mann says in his article that was posted to the Worship Tech Director website on October 4, "Environmental Projection: The Basics Behind What A Church Needs," you can plan on around $10,000 for a video projector-based setup. I would hope some can pull it off for less than that, while others will likely end up spending even more to achieve their intended goals.

But how many churches have the skills and budget to do this?

Are there alternatives? I believe so.

Here are several options I would like you to consider.

First, is coordinating your experiential loops with your lighting.

Experiential loops are the moving backgrounds behind the words you are already projecting. Here's some examples of those loops.

MotionWorship

Most churches are already using a good presentation program, like RenewedVision's ProPresenter. If you are, then you already have the tool you need to play these loops.

Here's my approach:

For each song, select a loop that has color, content and motion that fits the song. Then pick the two prominent colors from that loop and make your stage/set lighting match those colors. Now you are creating a seamless blend of look across the stage. I know for some, this is already the case, but for others, this could be a new tool for your team to use.

Second, is adding a set to the stage that blends well both in look and color. Either the set is painted to match, or you have to light it with color changing LEDs to match. Either way you now get a broader more cohesive look.

Let me jump back for a moment as to why we care about the stuff behind our worship leaders. Besides lighting your team well with front and back light so that they are seen and have depth, the cohesive look of a set or environment behind them now puts them in a space that has depth as well. 3D people in a 3D space is what's most natural to us and allows us to better focus in on the message.

Now for the last one.

Third, gobos projected on your stage walls and other surfaces can provide an environmental projection look at a fraction of the cost. Here, Wyatt Johnston from Fellowship Bible Church in Topeka, Kansas, uses some wash lights and gobos to expand the look and feel of their stage. We can see that the environment is now almost three times the width of just the stage area.

Finally, the spaces our churches are housed in vary greatly and require very different approaches. You may be in a converted shopping mall or a 200-year-old historic building, but either way, I encourage you to experiment with different things to see what works best for your situation.

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