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Lights that Move Your Congregation

Lights that Move Your Congregation

With sanctuaries hosting a range of services for the congregation, churches have a mixture of lighting needs.

You can learn more from Rich Anders of PR Lighting,  who will teach on this topic at WFX REACH 2015 Chicago, May 28-29th. For information or to register for the WFX Reach Conference click here.

Today’s worship facility is very different from the past. Contemporary churches have many needs for lighting that support praise and worship, sermon and church affiliated events like weddings, youth events, baptisms, bible studies, food drives, etc. With sanctuaries hosting a range of services for the congregation, churches have a mixture of lighting needs.

One way to address these multi-functional requirements is to incorporate moving head lighting fixtures into your lighting system.  The ability to direct light to an area of need is the most beneficial use of these fixtures. Additionally, moving head features like gobos, beam effects and zoom help to create mood, enhance message and add dramatic effect.

Most moving head fixtures are placed in the categories of wash, spot, or beam. 

There are several things to consider when choosing one of these styles. The most common considerations are the size of the facility, placement of the fixtures, and use. For instance, if you are washing your stage for color and need white light for video/broadcast purposes, then a moving head wash with features such as zoom, CTO channel, and appropriate wattage/coverage are key parameters.  If you want gobo projection, spot light, and moving animation, then a moving head spot with gobo rotation, prism, prism rotation, iris, and focus would be necessary.  To do aerial effects with gobos, look to a moving head beam which typically has both gobo rotation and prism rotation. Some moving head fixtures are so feature packed they can serve as an all-in-one solution. For example a hard edge or a soft edge wash with gobos and beam effects can also have CTO, Frost, and so on.

Moving head fixtures are not just full of programming features, they are also available with a traditional lamp or LED lamp source.  When considering between the two, keep in mind that LED fixtures create less heat, require less power and typically have a quieter operation than traditional lamp source fixtures. They also tend to be more expensive and may be not as feature packed.

Traditional lamp source fixtures are usually brighter and sometimes have more features, but require bigger electrical requirements and have higher maintenance costs. That’s because moving heads with traditional lamp sources have to be replaced frequently compared to LEDs because they have shorter life spans. In the end, budget will dictate feature set, lamp source, and style, but having moving head fixtures as a part of a total lighting package has become more of a need, rather than a want.

Another important factor to consider when adding intelligent moving head fixtures to your system is the control package. 

Since moving head fixtures harness so many features, it's important to have a control system that allows the operator to utilize those features with ease.  Many worship facilities have turned to software-based lighting control systems because most of them simplify the control experience with user-configurable movement, color, and effects presets.  Another reason users are turning to software based control is that lighting fixtures these days do not operate on a single channel as they did in the dimming systems of old.  In fact, a typical moving head fixture has 16 or more channels alone.  Lighting control software simplifies the process of controlling all of these channels.

In summary, adding moving heads to your lighting system can enhance the worship experience through a myriad of effects. Pairing the fixtures with an effective control system is imperative to getting the most out of these units. When these two factors are met, churches will have a new avenue for creative expression to spread the word.


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