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Great Lighting with One DIY Makeover

Great Lighting with One DIY Makeover

When a lighting system becomes less effective, it may be time to execute this lighting assessment.

Over time, a church's lighting system can become less effective at lighting their services.

One might think that this is being caused by the lighting system not working right, but it might actually be from the lighting fixtures being moved and re-arranged to the point where the lighting plot simply doesn't work anymore.

I'm reminded of a local church where I was asked to help out with lighting their choir space. It looked very poor on camera, with hot spots in some areas and dark spots in others. Over time, when special events occurred or in an attempt to brighten up a dark spot, a volunteer would toss another light up on the bar to brighten up one area. This often cause an adjacent area to become too bright, at which point other fixtures would eventually get moved, until the choir space was a mish-mash of random fixtures pointing in random directions.

We took measurements of the space and the distanced to the lighting bar, did some trigonometry calculations based on the specifications of the lighting fixtures, ordered some new lenses of those fixtures to change the beam shape, and was able to re-light that space with about half the fixtures that were there before and get almost perfectly even lighting with very little investment. It probably took two days of time to measure the space, do the math and re-lens/re-hang the fixtures.

The point being, sometimes you don't need a new lighting system or a major overhaul. Sometimes you simply need to step back, take in the big picture, and assess whether you have a problem with your lighting system or it's just been tweaked and altered over the years by so many people that there's no longer any rhyme or reason to how the fixtures are lighting your platform.

A lighting meter is a great tool to have for your lighting team. You can walk across your platform and see exactly where your lighting levels are increasing and decreasing, and help you decide how to space your fixtures and overlap the beam to even out the lighting as much as possible. The math will get you a good part of the way there, but a light meter will help you "dial it in."

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