I am quite amazed at the power of ambience to impact perception. God has created in people a resonance with beauty. Some people are out in nature and the beauty of nature helps them respond to God. Other people respond when they see an amazing dance, beautiful music, or a piece of art. This week I was struck by the impact of color and light as our stage had a makeover.
Here’s how our stage originally looked like.
This would work fine if our worship center were purely a sanctuary. However, it is really a multi-purpose room. We have lots of events in this room. And when you try to do events in the room, sometimes they don’t look so good when there is a gold curtain in the back. Here was our Breakaway/Vacation Bible School set this year.
The lighting was plain white lighting, no colored gels or anything. As a result, this set looks a bit flat. It’s also a bit distracting with all the color clashing going on. Next year our Breakaway theme is “Breakaway to the Arctic Freeze.” That would be an interesting challenge to incorporate dark maroon and gold into an icy color scheme!
But this week, thanks to some very generous donations, we were able to install a black curtain. A number of us pitched in to transform the stage with two very simple elements: fabric and lighting. We made quite a mess. (Fuzzy photo was taken on my phone because I didn’t have my camera with me.)
Glen took some long white fabric I got (30% cheaper than online, and when I went to the fabric store, the lady there was so nice and gave us an additional 40% off. Wow!) Anyway, Glen applied white duct tape to the end and installed grommets.
When he was done, Keith and Peter hung the fabric. Actually, Keith was overseeing the project and putting colored gels in the lights. Peter doesn’t mind heights so he got voted to go on the lift. It was a bit challenging trying to figure out how to tell him to turn the folds of the fabric while I was standing on the floor! But he did an excellent job.
We set up some colored lights on the floor and aimed the overhead lights. We are blessed by having a student that is studying stage lighting, who created a lighting plan for us. It was a bit funny having us inexperienced lighting people trying to decipher gel numbers and light numbers and stage area numbers and figuring out what went where.
And here’s the finished stage! Compared to the first picture in this post, it is hard to believe it’s the exact same stage! (This is the “dark” setting, before service starts. It’s a lot brighter once service is in session, as you can see later from the photos below.)
Here’s the “before” picture for comparison.
Our lighting is only about 25% done. More lights need to be moved around and gels need to be put in and the lighting board programmed.
We had baby dedications and baptisms today. Here’s a picture from a couple months ago where we had a baby dedication.
Here’s today’s. The darker background and the gels add a whole lot more dimension.
This is really a great picture of Matt with the old lighting but the background is kind of blah and the plain lighting is… plain.
Now everything looks so much crisper, more energetic, and more dimensional.
Gels add a subtle color in the shadows and highlights. You can really see it in this photo below in the hair and pinkish highlights on the blue shirt.
Baptisms are wonderful celebrations. Here’s how the pictures looked before.
But now with no distractions in the back, it is so much easier to focus on the subjects.
We still have a little work to do in creating lighting submasters so we can fade out the band equipment in the back. You can see the equipment clearly in the photo below. But it’s a definite improvement from before!
Just for fun, I played around with the white balance in my camera. These pictures also demonstrate the colored shadows from the gels.
I think the auto white-balance was the closest.
Another reason we had the curtains put in was because we had major sound issues. Sound was bouncing back and forth on all the stage walls and muddying up the mix. But now, the sound is much improved.
All in all, there are many benefits to this new makeover!