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Black Rock reconfigures for remote services

Black Rock reconfigures for remote services

Black Rock reconfigures for remote services


Black Rock Church in Fairfield, Connecticut has a history of adjusting its lighting rig according to a given situation. For example, it made use of its existing AVL inventory to completely alter its environment for its Christmas services last year. Now, due to the Coronavirus outbreak keeping its campus closed off to worshippers, the church has started its Black Rock Church @ Home programme, which streams pre-produced Sunday services to congregants watching from their homes, and associate technical director Chris Palazini has adjusted the lighting setup once again.

‘Reports about Covid-19 infections increasing were obviously very worrisome,recalled Palazini. The chance of some 2,400 Sunday morning worshippersand many hundreds more attending the planned conferencebeing exposed to the virus was not something we wanted to risk. So, after consulting with local health and town officials, the church leadership chose to suspend on-site services, most likely through the end of April and postpone the conference to a date yet to be determined.

Black Rock Church @ Home differs from the church’s regular services, which too are broadcast over the internet, as it is pre-produced with no live congregation adding to the atmosphere inside the sanctuary. These pre-recorded services are then streamed online during each of the three normal worship service times. Moving from live streamed services that took place with worshippers at the church to pre-produced videos shot with no one in the seats is what necessitated some changes in the lighting. The church’s lighting rig is based around Chauvet Professional Maverick MK1 Hybrid, Rogue R2 Spot and Colorado Zoom WW Tour fixtures.

‘There are a couple of different stage layouts we are addressing with Black Rock Church @ Home,’ Palazini explained.There’s the worship music portion and the sermon message itself, both of which are in a fluid state as we strive to present the message of Jesus' love and peace for us in the midst of a period of uncertainty and anxiety.

In both instances, the lighting will play a more minimalistic role. For the time of worship, we’re creating a consistent and even look for our cameras. Since no one is in the Worship Center seats at the time of the recording, there's really no need to create an enveloping atmosphere as we normally would –but we are still maintaining a performance look to the lighting. For the sermon message, that same thought holds truekeep it simple. Our goal is to make the pastors look good for the cameras, as well as to provide a smooth, natural look.

Palazini went on to describe how the fixtures already in the church’s rig are helping to achieve these design objectives: ‘Normally, we use the Maverick Hybrids to isolate and highlight people and create texture on the stage. The Rogue R2 spots contribute to the atmosphere, while the Rogue R2 Washes bathe the stage in colour to help set and portray the emotion of the song or message. We want to create the same energy level as we would for a live audience, but in a more minimalist fashion. Since we’re already familiar with the Chauvet fixtures, we know their light translates well on to the camera.

Although the services are being recorded, they are still streamed during regular service times to provide congregants with consistency during these uncertain times. ‘Our 8:30 service is a "traditional" service that usually has a choir, organ, piano as well as brass and sometimes strings, and the other services are with a contemporary band,‘ added Palazini. ‘It’s important to maintain that difference out of respect and to create a sense of the familiar for our many older attendees that would normally come to that service. Our goal in all of our services to provide those watching from home, with family and friends, a better sense of normalcy at a time when nothing in their everyday lives is the same.

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