In the September/October 2008 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine, the article "Lighting for Video Ministry" covered things to keep in mind when lighting your sanctuary for recording or broadcasting video. Here's nine quick tips to keep in mind when adding video capabilities to your sanctuary, so that your lighting will give your video work the professional look it deserves:
1. Use back lighting to add three-dimensionality to the subjects and objects on the platform. By adding extra light around the edges of the people on the stage or platform, back lighting enables the people to visually "pop out" from the background.
2. Provide smooth, consistent coverage with front lighting. "You must have an even field of light," says David Martin Jacques, president of Jacques Lighting Design and head of stage design at California State University, Long Beach, California. "The cameras should be able to adjust easily, so the person walking across the stage is not going in and out of dark spots."
3. Use side lighting to fill in shadows created by front lighting. Front lighting can leave the sides of the head shadowed, causing camera angles from the side to make the person's head look more like a disembodied face. Lighting from the side fills in these shadows, restoring a normal appearance.
4. Have your lighting volunteers try this tip: "When you create a lighting queue, turn on the back light, then the sidelight, and finally, the front light," advises Lighting Designer Stephen Ellison. "As much as the front light is the key element, you want to set the color, mood and modeling first. Bring up the front light slowly, so it doesn't wash everything else out."
5. Pay attention to the background. "Make sure the background is lit properly so the person on video is not standing in front of a black void," Jacques says.
6. Use the monitor to decide if your lighting is adequate, because the human eye sees light and resolution differently than a video camera.
7. Don't be afraid to use color, but be sure to define "white" for the video camera. "White is a relative term," Ellison says. "The camera will accept anything as white, and render facial tones and colors correctly, as long as you define it that way." Video cameras need to be shown what white is in your specific lighting situation. This is typically done with a large white card placed on the platform. The camera operator zooms in on the card and presses a button that informs the camera that this is a white object. The camera can then adjust itself to create accurate color for that lighting.
8. Different types of lighting fixtures have a different color qualities (or color temperatures, in geek-speak) in the light they produce. Mixing different types of fixtures (incandescent vs. fluorescent, for instance) can cause the cameras to produce incorrect colors for different parts of the room. If you've ever looked at a photograph of a room with windows, where the room looks normal, and the outdoors looks very blue, this is an example of mixing color temperaturesdaylight has much more blue in it then incandescent lighting, and cameras accentuate this difference. If you must use different types of light sources, one set can be "balanced" using colored filters so that their color temperatures match.
9. Don't let the technology overpower the message.
Following these pieces of advice will help you achieve the quality video your church wants to produce.