With this article, we conclude our three-part series on AVL: audio/video/lighting. Church design today has to consider each of these technologies and plan for everything from wiring to controls.
Lighting is key to sharing your church’s vision, because if people can’t see the face of the person talking to them – well, the problems are obvious. You need to think ahead and design a complete AVL package to catch and hold people’s attention in this video-driven age.
‘Let There Be Light’ Without Breaking the Bank
It used to be that lighting was a challenge in churches because of all the cost associated with properly lighting the platform. The good news is that LED lights today allow you to use fewer lights and less power while still effectively lighting each area and each face. While LED lights might be costly up front, they can be built into the church design and construction budget, and a selling point is that they involve very little operating cost.
Can You See the Light?
You really do need the lighting operator to be able to see what’s going on. As we mentioned in our video article, video operators don’t have to be in the room, because they can see the action with their video screens. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work with audio and lighting; you need to have someone in the room to perform those functions.
While the audio control booth is best located in the midst of the worship space, fortunately for your church seating plan, the lighting operator doesn’t also have to be down “in the crowd,” blocking the view of worshippers. We often include in our church designs a light bar that is on an upper level, so that the operator can see the stage, but doesn’t have to block the view.
Casting Light on Church Design
The main reason you need to be thinking about lighting during the church design stage is that it enables you to incorporate all the wiring necessary to light all the right places. In addition to ensuring electricity is accessible, you need to locate the dimmer racks properly and make sure they communicate with everything else. One very critical aspect is placing the light source at the correct angle to the platform. Too steep of an angle on the light and large shadows will appear across the faces or the people on the platform. Too shallow an angle and people will be washed out.
Another important question to ask during the church design phase is whether you’re going to be broadcasting. Additional lights and lighting locations might be needed if you are going to broadcast your services. In order to hang all of these lights where you want them, the building will need to be able to structurally support the light bar and all the lights that hang on it.
Lighting the Way
You’ll also want to consider wiring from another perspective: providing technology to help people find their way around your new or renovated church building.
More and more churches are using flat screens for information, like a schedule of events, or even an interactive screen where people can touch the event they want to attend and get information on how to get there. As costs for those screens continue to come down, we’re seeing more churches—and not just the really large ones—using them to help people navigate around.
If you’re considering a new church design and building project, you’ll also need experienced help to light your way. This is why we created our free i3 webinar series. To learn more about the various aspects of church building and renovation, visit our website today and sign up for our 2016 webinars!