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Essential Church upgrades to energy-efficient LEDs

Essential Church upgrades to energy-efficient LEDs

Essential Church upgrades to energy-efficient LEDs


As part of plans to improve the aesthetic appeal of the stage and reduce the HOW’s energy bills, Essential Church in Huntsville, Alabama, has turned to ADJ and sister company Elation Professional to improve the production quality of both in-person services and the footage they capture for online broadcast. The church brought in Christopher Watts of Watts Technology to advise on a cost-effective and effective solution to add creativity to their stage lighting. In turn, Watts brought in lighting designer and regular collaborator Thomas Griffin of Lti Productions.

Like most religious congregations around the world, Essential Church has made online services a major priority this year. However, as they experimented with filming their worship and teaching in their auditorium, they realised that the lighting setup, while adequate for those attending in-person, was limiting the quality of their video recordings. After visiting the church, Griffin designed a new system that would replace the conventional front lighting fixtures with LEDs. New PARs and battens have been installed above the stage, while a small number of existing LED fixtures have been repurposed and integrated into a new DMX control system, which Griffin programmed to be easily operated by the church’s volunteer tech team.

Four of ADJ’s Ultra Hex Bar 12 LED colour wash battens have been fitted to lighting bars hanging above the stage, parallel to the room’s apex ceiling, with the inside pair positioned towards the back of the stage and the outside pair towards the front. “The addition of backlight was an important part of the solution to the church’s broadcast lighting problems,” explained Griffin. “When you film someone onstage with just front light, they look flat, the backlight adds a bit of a halo effect and separates the person from the background and makes them look more three-dimensional and lifelike on camera. I like the Ultra Hex Bar 12 because it is a double hit fixture, you get a nice wash but you can also use the pixel control (in groups of two) to create chase patterns.”

To further enhance the church’s online broadcast quality, as well as the look of the stage in general, Griffin put in four of ADJ’s 5P Hex LED PAR fixtures. These were positioned beside the rear Ultra Hex Bar 12s and angled backwards to wash a series of four scenic elements the church had constructed, each consisting of multiple white rectangles. Griffin also specified the SEVEN PAR 7IP from ADJ’s sister company Elation Professional and introduced the church to the ONYX platform from another of ADJ’s sister companies, Obsidian Control Systems. Alongside the ONYX PC software, he put in an NX Touch, a simple control surface that features 14 touch faders and 20 velocity-controlled pads.

Following the installation and setup of the new system, the team at Essential Church were very happy with the transformation to the lighting of their stage. Not only do the pastors and worship team onstage come across sharper and more naturally on camera, the backlight and colour washing enhance the atmosphere for those who attend the in-person services. Add to this an easy-to-use control solution and the church is ready to take its services – both on- and offline – to the next level.

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