How To Light A Small Church Stage

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How To Light A Small Church Stage imageHow Do You Properly Light A Small Stage In A Church?

To light a stage, you should first set up a stage wash, to ensure that the entire stage is illuminated. You can then use beams to add more lighting or color to the stage. With these lights in place, you can use spot lighting to light performer’s faces.

Setup Your Stage Wash with Soft-Edged Lights

The front lighting is the most important part of the stage lighting. You need to ensure that people can see the stage. However, you may also want to avoid lighting the entire stage with bright light.

Most stage lighting layouts include soft-edge light fixtures for creating a stage wash. You can evenly light the stage without overpowering the performers with lighting.

There are several different types of lights that you can use for the stage wash, including Par Can lights, Fresnel lights, and Cyc lights.

With Par Can lights, you can choose between very narrow and very wide flood lighting. These lights also provide oblong coverage instead of a circular beam of light. With a wide flood Par Can light, you should have no problem washing the stage with light.

The Fresnel lights are also popular choices. These soft-edged lights look great, especially on camera. If you plan to record or live stream your event or service, you should consider using these lights for your front lighting.

The Cyc light is mostly intended for covering large spaces. However, they also allow you to use different combinations of colors, which may make them better suited for adding atmosphere. However, you may also want to use beam light fixtures.

Use Beam Lighting to Create an Atmosphere

Beam lighting is great for creating atmosphere and adding splashes of color to the stage. These lights typically get mounted high and pointed more to the ground compared to other light fixtures.

Beam light fixtures can cut through all the other lighting on the stage. These lights are often colored to help create the right mood.

You can also use Cyc lighting to help add atmosphere. As mentioned, these fixtures allow you to use different colors. With conventional lamps, you can use color gels to change the lighting. With LED Cyc lights, you can typically program different colors using your lighting console.

However, you do not want the Cyc lighting to overpower the beam lights. One of the reasons for using beam lighting is that you can see the beams of light, even without haze.

When mounting the beam lights or Cyc lights, place some of the lights to the left and right side of the stage. These lights help create more dimension, helping to separate the performers from the background. It also allows you to create more of a three-dimensional effect, instead of simply flooding the stage with light that all comes from the same direction.

Setup Spot Lighting to Highlight Performers

Spotlighting can be used to highlight areas of the stage. You can highlight church performers or the minister with these light fixtures. Spotlights are also called profile lights, as they help profile the performer.

When positioning the spotlights, you want to avoid mounting them too high. If they need to point down on the performers, you will likely see shadows under their eyes, noses, and chins. However, if the lights are too low, you will see their shadows on the back curtain.

The right height depends on the height of the ceilings, the size of the church, and how far away from the stage the lights are positioned.

With the light fixtures set, you should connect them to your lighting console. LED lights provide more flexibility for controlling the lighting during the event or service. For example, you can dim the lights, change the LED light color, and even control the movement of mechanical fixtures.

After you ensure that the lights are correctly positioned, you can begin adjusting their brightness. Start at the beginning, with the front lights. You may want to keep the stage wash dim, providing just enough light to ensure that everything on the stage is visible without lighting the people in the front row.

The beam lights and Cyc lights can then be set to create more dimensions and atmosphere. Make sure that these lights are not too dim. If they cannot cut through the other lighting, the front lighting may still be too bright, or you may need to increase the brightness of your beams.

The spotlighting may not need to be positioned, as it needs to move with the performer. However, you should ensure that you get the brightness set correctly. You do not want to blind the performer. You also want to avoid keeping the spotlight so dim that it is unnoticeable.

It may take some practice to get the light levels set properly. You should perform a trial run and test the lighting while the performers are on the stage. You can have volunteers walk around on the stage as you test the positioning and brightness of the lights.

Conclusion

When setting up your stage lighting for a small church stage, you should start with the front lighting. This lighting is typically used for washing the entire stage in soft light. For the stage wash, consider using Par Can light fixtures or Fresnel light fixtures.

After setting the front lighting, you can add more lights to help create atmosphere. Cyc light fixtures and beam lighting are commonly used for adding color to the stage. The beam lights can cut through the other lights while Cyc lights can be used to change the tint of the entire stage.

Spot lighting is used to highlight specific spots on the stage, such as the performers. Typically, someone manually controls the spotlights, as they may need to move with the performer.

With these lights set, you can connect them to your lighting console and start positioning them at the stage. Turn off all other lighting and experiment with the lighting until you get the right atmosphere for your event.

Sources

https://www.learnstagelighting.com/what-fixtures-are-common-in-stage-lighting-wash-fixtures/

https://www.learnstagelighting.com/beam-fixtures/

https://www.vls.com/how-to-light-a-stage

Duke Taber has been a Senior Pastor of various churches since 1988. Prior to that, he was involved in the Christian rock scene opening for such notables as Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, Rez Band, and once played briefly with Darrel Mansfield. Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.