Fluorescent lights may “get the job done” in illuminating a room, but they can certainly be unforgiving in terms of setting a mood, something especially important in a house of worship setting. With that in mind, Celebrate Community Church of Knoxville, Iowa recently upgraded its lighting facilities with the addition of a new system comprised of 24 elektraLite Dazer LEDs controlled by a new Avolites Titan Mobile desk.
“Our old fluorescent lights were outdated and expensive to replace,” explains Judd Nelson, the church’s director of facilities and congregational care. “Plus, we wanted something that would allow us to control the mood of the room,” he says, adding that the sanctuary seats over 500 people with average attendance for services at around 400.
Upon the glowing recommendation of another church, Celebrate chose to commission Urbandale, Iowa-based HOW AV systems integrator Zygo Integrated Solutions to design, install and program a new lighting setup for its main sanctuary.
“Celebrate Community Church brought us in to create an atmosphere that was inviting and easy to control,” says Eric Bishop, Zygo’s CEO and lead consultant, who points out that the church’s previous lighting was “industrial and sterile with a crude method of control.” Existing lighting fixtures were high bay reflectors with eight CFLs per fixture, and the client would “dim” the system by shutting off any combination of two lamps within the fixture. Furthermore, the ballasts were noisy and the temperature of white was inconsistent due to different types of CFLs, so the church simply started to not replace lamps as they went out.
“When we visited for the first time, we brought a Dazer Warm White (3,400K) LED fixture for demonstration,” Bishop recalls. “The client loved the warm color temperature and the smooth control via DMX. We mentioned that they could add RGB LEDs with the color temperature of white they wanted at no additional cost. Having the ability to add color to the house lighting was something the client had not thought of and it opened their creativity to the point where there was no further discussion as to what LED fixtures they needed.”
The integrator completed the install in only five days. “We installed temporary fixtures (RGB only with fans) in mid-January and the RGBWW (Warm White) fanless fixtures were installed on March 29he says.
Since Celebrate Community’s existing lighting controller did not have enough DMX control channels to control all the LED fixtures individually, which is what the church wanted in order to add special effects/looks, Bishop recommended the Avolites Titan Mobile for its multitude of control channels and very user-friendly experience: “Having the physical faders and buttons helps those who do not want to completely control lights from a mouse and keyboard. After discussing the technical ability of the staff and volunteers, we all felt this would be a great fit, and it is.”
As for the new elektraLite fixtures, Bishop says that the church’s leadership absolutely loves how they make the room look. “The lead pastor is happy that the house lights can now stay on at a dim level so he can see the congregation while he preaches,” Bishop explains. “Previously, since the old fixtures couldn’t dim, they would completely shut off the house lights. Between that and being ‘blinded’ by the stage lighting, he always felt like he was speaking to an empty room.”
Nelson concurs with how well the upgrade has been received by the church’s leadership and congregants for both services and concerts. “Everyone is very pleased with the atmosphere the new lighting system has created,” he says. “It’s fun being able to change the appearance and mood so drastically; it really adds another dynamic to our worship.”