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Lighting Control for Houses of Worship

Lighting plays an integral part of most churches’ worship services and at the core of any lighting system is the lighting console or control software. See what's new that lighting techs should know about.

Lighting plays an integral part of most churches’ worship services. At the core of any lighting system is the lighting console or control software.

Unlike lighting fixtures, consoles and con­trol software systems don’t tend to see a lot of frequent radical change. It’s usually small­er releases of software updates to fix bugs and introduce some new features.

We reached out this month to some of the companies that have a strong presence in the church market, as well as individuals to see what of late has caught their interest.

To view the latest in Worship Technology join us at WFX Conference & Expo in Orlando, November 13 - 15th. For registrationa and information click here

One of the bigger pieces of news this year was from Chroma-Q. Global Brand Manager Paul Pelletier states, “Chroma-Q, who recently acquired and re-branded the Jands Vista lighting & media control system, has released the long-anticipated Vista 3 software, introducing a large num­ber of exciting new features and improve­ments. Vista 3 has been developed to dra­matically enhance existing functionality and introduce an array of intelligent new features that appeal to both existing and new users. Some of the new features in­clude the ability to merge multiple show files, a new color engine that supports up to 11 colors, improved 2D fixture visualiza­tions, customizable workspaces, a vastly expanded command line interface, and Smart FX masters. These features all con­tribute to improving the entire user expe­rience in creating and delivering fantastic looking shows, in addition to making the software even more intuitive to those users who are new to the Vista ecosystem. Chro­ma-Q is also now shipping two new control surfaces – the Vista MV and Vista EX – which provide affordable hands-on control suitable for any size or style of production.”

“We use Vista at all of our venues and are really excited that Chroma-Q has acquired Vista and has improved the software with Version 3,” states Daniel Rhodes, lighting and production director at North Coast Church in Vista, CA. “I’ve heard great things about Chroma-Q with both their fixtures and customer support, so we’re excited to have a continually improving software con­trol system.”

Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC), also had some news this year. ETC’s Luke Del­wiche, the entertainment market manager at ETC, shares “ETC’s recent introduction of the compact Gio @5, Element 2 and Ion Xe consoles brings state-of-the-art control and brand-new hardware to even the smallest of venues. Eos controllers increase in capa­bility with each new (free) software update, so existing consoles only get more powerful over time. This year’s new features include expanded multi-cell control, which allows individual emitters on an LED fixture to be programmed with great precision – so your technicians can create exciting new effects for your next production.”

ETC user, Alan Haggard of Community Church of Chesapeake, adds, “We use an ETC Element-1. My greatest moment came when I got the third party remote; ‘OSC-RFR’ from Alien Stagecraft. Because the Element has no encoders, it’s absolutely wonderful, but I have full encoder control [via a tablet touch-screen] of my movers through this app. It also gives me a new, standardized panel lay­out. A very worthwhile $29.90.”

ADJ took over the Compu Show soft­ware lighting control from Elation and has some new offerings in that lineup. “ADJ Compu Show is an advanced DMX control software application for PC,” states Brian Dowdle, marketing director for the ADJ Group of Companies, “that is designed for programming and controlling large rigs of moving heads, pars, ellipsoidals and oth­er professional entertainment and stage lighting fixtures from a PC. It is suitable for a wide range of applications for churches, concert tours, festivals, as well as other big, one-off events.” Dowdle notes that the SDE unit is particularly relevant for a house of worship.

Elation Lighting has rebranded the M-Touch line of control solutions under the brand Obsidian Control Systems, using the product line name Onyx. Says Elation Product Manager Matthias Hinrichs, “One of the first lighting control products under Obsidian Control Systems’ Onyx lighting control platform is the powerful NX2, a compact yet fully-integrated lighting con­troller. The NX2 offers a slate of profes­sional features like full-HD multi touch­screen, eight encoders, grand master, ten full playbacks with four buttons and much more. The NX2 features easy-to-use tools and optimized graphical work environ­ments that can adapt to any degree of complexity from lighting for weekly ser­vices to more intricate performance and theatrical applications.

Fast boot times, instant operation and the ability to process 64 universes right in­side the console, without the need for costly external processing networks result in un­precedented power in this small form factor. Onyx is a stable and easy-to-learn lighting control platform that is fast to program and fun to operate. Designed for both hardware consoles and PC systems, it is a rebranding of the well-established M-Series control plat­form. Obsidian Control Systems products are exclusively distributed by Elation Profession­al worldwide.”

MA Lighting has the new grandMA 3 out,” adds Greg Persinger, owner of Vivid Illumi­nation in Nashville, TN. “It’s both an update in hardware and software, and extends the capabilities of the MA2 line by adding more processing power and new features. Chau­vet’s acquisition of Chamsys is seeing im­proved support for that product line.

There are a lot of smaller brands, or brands that aren’t well established in the US, but generally I try to steer my clients towards one of the top 10 console manufacturers to help ensure they not just get a piece of hard­ware or software, but a company that pro­vides quality support in the US as well.”

“A lighting company only truly introduc­es brand new control systems every 10 to 12 years,” adds Persinger. “But in between, they are constantly making smaller updates to the control software that runs the hardware. There can be a lot of value added in these smaller updates/upgrades.



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