Church Communications resources and tips from Justin Dean

Lights and Sets

Each year, puts together a Christmas show to reach out to the community. They want to wow and entertain those who attend, then prepare their hearts for a salvation-based message and a time of worship afterward. This means the set design and lighting are very important.

So while they needed something impressive for their Christmas Spectacular services, they also needed something that would work with their December series: Vintage Christmas. They didn?t want to have to swap out the stage for one weekend if they didn?t have to.

Fortunately, they were able to theme the Christmas Spectacular in a somewhat vintage way.

Marty Taylor, their new creative arts pastor, had the idea of creating a proscenium out of red velour fabric like an old proscenium theater. So they rented red Damask curtains from Grosh Rentals. This fabric hung nicely and felt like traditional, theatrical fabric. (The fabric cost them around $750/week to rent.)

They used a PVC pipe bent into curves to hold the red Damask fabric. They supported the PVC pipe every few feet and tied the curtain to it. They didn?t need the curtain to move, so the static fixture worked well. They spent about $60 on spray paint and PVC for the curtain support.

To light the curtain, they focused six Color Kinetics Color Blasts across the fabric.

Then, to create an even more vintage look in their room, they decided to hang a bunch of older-style conventional fixtures as a scenic element. They rented a bunch of scoop, Fresnel, Leko, and beam projector fixtures. Company De Roth rented vintage lights to them for $40 each?for the entire month-long run of the set. These rentals, coupled with their small inventory of Pars, scoops, and Fresnels, helped them create the stage design. They focused most of their vintage fixtures out across the audience, which served well as gentle blinders. (They made sure never to dim the vintage fixtures above 30% so it would create more of a warm glow instead of complete blinders.)

Then, to get the full benefit from the fixtures, they decided to make them stand out in the backdrop. They actually lit the fixtures themselves! They down-lit the fixtures with Par 46 canisters, so the audience could actually see the fixtures.

They mixed in their moving lights with their conventional fixtures to light the service.

Finally, they included some other scenic elements for the set design and for function during the service. The scenic elements included Christmas trees, 55 Gal drum percussion, and a few snow machines for the finale.

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