Moving Lights for Worship Technology — Stage Wash Thoughts
Adding moving lights over the stage is what the vast majority of churches — both large and small — are installing for their intelligent lighting.
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There is a lot more to a moving light rig than many people may think at face value. We as technicians may understand the specific nuances of different types and classes of moving lights, but sometimes articulating the uses and needs for those different types are lost on others in your church organization. I hope to, ahem, shed some light, to help them better understand some of those aspects.
Moving lights, by their very definition, move. We can all get on board with that. But let’s simplify and divide their purpose into two different parts of your auditorium. Let’s call it over the stage or over the audience or congregation.
Fixtures for Small or Large Churches
Adding moving lights over the stage is what the vast majority of churches — both large and small — are installing for their intelligent lighting. There is nothing wrong with that! This is what we use to illuminate the stage set, set pieces, instruments, musicians, provide aerials into the audience, beams, texture, color—you name it.
An often overlooked part involves installing moving lights over the audience in the worship space. I’m not saying we are going to use these to illuminate the audience, but for the action on stage. Many stages are illuminated in a basic stage wash, whether it’s a rack of ellipsoidals or PARs, a couple Fresnels, or even some track lighting.
I much prefer the use of moving lights for stage wash than the use of ERS, or Ellipsoidal Reflector Spotlights, or other traditional tungsten fixtures. The reason for this is that I try to minimize the amount of spill hitting unnecessary parts of the stage. And that is knowing that for the most part, a person can perform inside of a 6-foot circle.
So if I can make light circles for individual performers, as opposed to a giant wide white wash, then we can cut down on the amount of wasted light. What this ultimately does for the designer is that it can enhance the over-the-stage lighting package. This wasted light might also be washing out your projection surfaces. Before, you may have seen a small beam of light coming from the lens of your fixtures. Now that we’ve cut down on the amount of light bouncing around, though, the texture, beam, color, or whatever is now making its way all the way down to the floor.
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