An Opportunity 

Hey everyone! I sat down with my good friend Phil Grimpo of Inspirmedia to talk about church production recently. We’ve worked with a lot of creative churches over the years, and I’ve seen some fantastic setups.

However, with church services occurring nearly every day, there’s usually not enough time to get into your sanctuary to make real improvements. Your lighting console, lights, and overall production could probably use some freshening up before everyone gets back together.

I wanted to share our conversation with you and give you some great ideas on how to refresh your AVL (audio, video, and lighting).

Below, I’ve listed the key takeaways from the video.

✓ Check Your Focus

Often churches will set their focuses for a single event. They’ll spend time getting all the lights just right, but when the event is over, not everyone takes the time to reset focuses for weekly worship.

Look at your stage. How are people using it? Where are they on the stage? Focus is low-hanging fruit—get the light where it’s supposed to be.

Also, check camera angles. Does the lighting work with the current camera angles? You may need to refocus lights, but you also may need to move your cameras.

✓ While you’re up there, do some maintenance!

When you’re checking lighting focuses, spend some time making sure the lights themselves are working the way they’re supposed to.

Those of us who haven’t upgraded to LED wash lights need to use CTB (color temperature blue) correction gels in our conventional lights. CTB gels offer consistency and make older lights look great on camera.

That said, as they start to bleach out, your image will take on an orange tint. You may notice it now more than ever since we’re all viewing services on video only. Now is a great time to change out those gels as well.

Additionally, while you’re up on your ladder or lift, review the fixture, working and thinking from left to right:

  • Change burned-out lamps
  • Blow out the dust
  • Tighten the clamps
  • Make sure there’s a safety lanyard in place
  • Check for a solid electrical connection
  • Check that the connector doesn’t show signs of overheating
  • Clean the cable
  • Pull down broken fixtures and send for repair
  • Pull out fixtures you’re not using right now

This work will change the way lights look on video, so get the color card out and rebalance your cameras.

✓ Brush Up on Your Gear

You and your volunteers may be able to use this time to get up to speed on your lighting console. ACT Academy is offering its GrandMA training for free right now. Chamsys is offering free training on its consoles, too.

Even better, if some of your volunteers have time available, let them come in, experiment, and program a few songs.

Next, spend a little time cleaning up your lighting console programming. Make sure everything makes sense: Groups, positions, colors, and beams. Then, create some training videos with your smartphone for your team. Get them training and maybe even correct some bad habits that have settled in.

The new situation is causing us to use our gear in new ways right now. A lot of us have discovered we don’t know it as well as we thought we did. Now is a great time to shore up your knowledge of all your gear—not just your lighting console.

✓ Don’t Get Overwhelmed by Improvements

If you’ve been too busy to make improvements to your lights, you may want to implement some changes. But don’t get overwhelmed by trying to take on too much at once.

Instead, think “zones” and “hierarchy.” Which zone is most important to you, and what needs attention right now?

Start downstage. Most churches have conventional lights as their front wash. Making sure your front stage wash is even in coverage and also in color temperature. A light meter can tell you not only your foot candles for the area you are lighting but also what your color temperature is and this is important information for your cameras.

Now might be a good time to upgrade to LEDs as they produce a beautiful output and are more energy efficient while producing way less heat.

Then, think mid- & upstage lighting positions – color washes, movers, and effects lighting. Focus on the zone where an upgrade will make the most significant difference to your weekly services.

✓ Prepare to Get Back Together

Many of us have been watching other churches online and gotten some great ideas. Now might be the time to dive in and figure out how to achieve some of those effects when everyone gets back together.

Dream big:

  • New lighting looks
  • New set pieces (or rearrange what you have)
  • Try something new, like environmental projections
  • Syncing lighting and video with music

Then, decide what you have time, energy, and money to do. Little changes can work wonders. But, if you want to swing for the fences, go for it!

Think long term and overall strategy, too. How do you want things to look and sound one or two years from now? Your leadership, many of whom have been watching other churches online as well, might be open to setting aside the budget for improvements.

✓ Keep the Faith!

You’ve got some momentum. More people will likely view your services this weekend than ever showed up for a regular service.

It’s pretty incredible to see that God had a plan through all of this. The technology is in place so that, even though we’re stuck at home, the Gospel can still get out.

Let’s take the next step and learn how to create better production for our congregations. If you need some ideas, some help, or just need to talk about your church’s production, give me a call. You can reach me right here.