Role of a Lighting Director: Understand Needs, Goals of Production

Knowing the roles of different members of the team allows you to separate and focus on them as you and the production team go through the steps of creating a production.

Role of a Lighting Director: Understand Needs, Goals of Production
A view of Essex Alliance Church's Easter 2015 setup at The University of Vermont gym.

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Technology Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, September-October 2017
The September-October 2017 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers a glance at a Granger Community Church, and their recent install of a Lawo audio mixing console system.
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A Lighting Director?

We’re just happy to have someone running the lights on a Sunday morning, who isn’t also doing words or sound!

If you are making use of lighting technology in your services, then you have the need to fulfill the various roles within a lighting team…

Statistics of attendance, and therefore volunteer base, for more than half the churches in this country show that this is more than likely the situation you are in. So then why is it worth knowing the roles within a lighting team? And know the role of Lighting Director, the most senior role on the lighting team too?

Regardless of the size of your church, if you are making use of lighting technology in your services, then you have the need to fulfill the various roles within a lighting team, even if it is only one or two people wearing all the hats on the team.

So let’s take a quick look at a basic lighting team before we dive into the LD role.

A typical lighting team:

Designer/Director

The top dog! We’ll get to this role in a minute.

Programmer

This person knows the console best and also has creative input when creating cues.

Board Operator

The board operator runs the console and maintains the original concepts.

Crew Chief/Master Electrician

This person is hands on when building or changing any part of the rig.

Technician

Think MacGyver here, build it, fix it and maintain it.

Follow Spot Operators

Just like it sounds, operating a follow spot to highlight the folks on stage as directed.

So what role does the Lighting Director play in the lighting team?

Concept:

A Lighting Director works directly with the lead people (Worship Pastor, Speaking Pastor, Music Director, Choreographer…) to understand the needs and goals of the production. This may be as simple as knowing ahead of time what songs are being used this Sunday, or as complicated as a full Easter or Christmas production. The importance here is working to make lighting a cohesive blend with the rest of what is being planned.

Design:

Here the LD needs to choose fixtures, their placement and other choices, like color and softness for the purpose of achieving the concepts discussed. This can be as formal as drafting a lighting plot and fixture schedule, to napkin sketches. It should also include the means to power/dim fixtures and how to control automated fixtures.

Preproduction:

With your LD hat on, it is time to put your plot in place and get ready for rehearsal. Once you, the Crew Chief and Technician have got the rig changed, then you can work with the Programmer to set levels, colors and cues.


More About Chris Tall
Chris Tall currently serves as the Lighting Designer and Assistant Tech Director for Essex Alliance Church in Essex Junction, Vt. His start in lighting came early in his freshman year of high school after he talked his way into a Maynard Ferguson concert. Since then, he has always been active in lighting and technical show production. While the work has taken him from lighting local theater to designing special effects for Universal Studios, MGM Vegas and Disney, Chris enjoys being part of a team that works to bring a production's dream to life. When Chris isn't working, he can be found making dinner for his family or flying RC planes.
Get in Touch: Flylightvt@gmail.com    More by Chris Tall

Latest Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, September-October 2017
The September-October 2017 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers a glance at a Granger Community Church, and their recent install of a Lawo audio mixing console system.


Article Topics

Technology · Lighting · Visual Arts · Lighting Design · Team Management · Leadership · Team Development · Chiefs · Designers · Directors · Lighting Director · Operators · Pastors · All Topics

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Comments

By milan on July 21, 2017

I think this is a really good article. You make this information interesting and engaging. You give readers a lot to think about and I appreciate that kind of writing.

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