Up to 30,000 weekly worshippers revel in megachurch’s new scenography
Described as an “evangelical Christian megachurch” Saddleback Church in Southern California embraces high production values to reinforce its services.
Looking to remain at the cutting edge via an architectural makeover late last year, they took delivery of a quantity of Spot One and Wash One LED moving head fixtures from GLP — commissioned by the then Lighting Director, Jon Griffin.
GLP Inc President, Mark Ravenhill, recalls, “Jon contacted us about the fixtures when they were planning a lighting upgrade to their main stage — replacing the existing discharge lights they had been running for many years. He had heard about the Spot One and could instantly see the potential of it for Saddleback.”
The main sanctuary at their 3,000-seat Worship Centre in Lake Forest has long glass walls down each side and by conducting the demo at the peak of the day in high brightness conditions it allowed Griffin to see how the fixtures would perform when confronted with vast amounts of light streaming in.
Aside from the impressive output and performance, other issues — such as the 5-year warranty on the light engine, the internal workings, maintenance and ease of use — were also factored into the evaluation as was the critical silent performance. Griffin inspected the construction quality, the sealed front chamber and saw the ease with which he could change gobos and other items to customize the fixtures for particular events.
“By the end of the demo, he was able to see that both the Spot One and the Wash One could not only perform in Saddleback, but would also save a large amount of money over the product’s life cycle,” stated Ravenhill. Noting that there was no cost premium, despite the LED engine, Jon Griffin specified six Spot One and four Wash One fixtures in a white housing (which is offered as standard), placing the order with GLP dealer, Cal Stage & Lighting of Santa Ana.
Jon Griffin’s first impressions couldn’t have been more positive. “They are fantastic used architecturally, and I expect the church to order more GLP units when the scenic designs are finalized. I’ve received so many favorable comments as they pop the color and provide more texture than our 700W [discharge] fixtures ever did. I can’t say how happy we are.”
But shortly afterwards Jon Griffin left his position, and his role was taken by the church’s Technical Director, Greg Baker, who has been with Saddleback for six years, and who had simultaneously been upgrading the video. He was equally complimentary about the impact the new washes made to the walls.
“The Wash Ones also help light our Pastor during message delivery — and during music [performed by band and vocalists on the 70ft wide stage], we move them to the offstage walls for color. The Spot Ones we use for texture, mostly for color and design on these same walls. We use the gobos — including a couple custom gobos — and the animation wheel for moving effects, and during the music we use the fixtures to their full capability, changing our color palette and texture for each song.” Programming couldn’t be easier, he says, and Saddleback changes the scene presets every weekend to keep the dynamic fresh.
“We chose these fixtures originally for the complete package of features and these certainly give us the color and contrast to cut through a very bright environment,” he concludes.
With eight locations in its Lake Forest property — and seven other regional campuses — on a typical weekend Saddleback expects to host around 25,000-30,000 worshippers, all watching the sermon preached from the main Worship Center … which is some weekly audience for the GLP moving heads!