Jazzing up Your Stage

In Uncategorizedby tfwm

Here’s a news flash – jazzing up your stage does not have to cost an arm and a leg! At least that’s what the Church at South Lake in Clermont, Florida found out when they let us get creative with their small space. The Church at South Lake is a new church building. They opted for a good quality audio system, an adequate starter package of theatrical stage lights, and a projection system. You may say that audio has nothing to do with the stage looking jazzy, yet how much nicer is it, not having to look at those bulky floor monitors!

The Church at South Lake made the jump to get rid of the clutter and improve their performance all at the same time. In-ear monitors made their debut soon after opening day in this fast growing contemporary church.

A subwoofer was added for a thick, rich sound. Being the small stage it is, we opted to use a compact sub that is no more than 13.5″ tall! This unit fit neatly under the stage – out of sight, out of mind. But don’t let the size fool you on performance. It carries the needed low end for all applications. Enough stage pockets were placed from side to side and front to back to allow for several different set-up options. All the pockets are complete with microphone and monitor jacks. Moving on to the theatrical lighting you will find zoom Ellipsoidal fixtures leading the way up front with Fresnel fixtures being used for back lighting.

The projection system gives the added punch for such things as video, PowerPoint presentations, etc. It consists of a 6′ x 8′ fixed screen and a 3000 lumen projector. Even though the screen is small compared to some, this is a great projection package for such a small stage area with an abundance of ambient light from windows. The front Ellipsoidal lighting fixtures also work wonderfully with the projection system as they allowed us to shutter and crop the beams right next to the screen without any bleed over onto the screen itself.

As we stood looking at the stage, the pastor, Brian Hammond, made the mistake of asking us if a curtain with some up lighting would be good for the back wall to add texture and color to the overall visual.

Well, being who we are (for those of you who know us), our ears perked up, and before Brian knew it, we had a curtain/specialty fabric/lighting stage package put together for around $2500 that allows Brian and his ministry teams to create a different look or stage color each time they use their sanctuary.

This is the most visually stimulating part of this jazzy stage. Here’s what we did.

We started with a drape, custom ordered to fit the back wall and the ceiling line. Light gray was the color of choice. The drape not only created a pleasant visual, it brought an added benefit acoustically.

This gray curtain is stationary, not on a track and is made of a lightweight duvetyn style fabric. Complete with grommets at the top and weights in the bottom, this curtain stays put. There are no distracting or unwanted movements from air currents, etc. Once we had the gray curtain installed, we made custom light bars to sit on the floor with several small PAR 38’s mounted on the bar for up lighting. With the bars sitting on the floor, it makes for quick and easy color gel changes. This is one way the stage colors change weekly. These custom bars are not even run through the dimmers. They are simply an “on/off” style operation. That’s not to say they could not be tied in to a dimming system to allow for more flexibility.

From there, we added in two five point stretch fabric pieces. Each one was placed on the stage side walls, stretching up onto the ceiling for added depth. We selected white as the color for the specialty fabric shapes.

To enhance the stretch fabric shapes, we topped them off with specialty water effect lights. These little fixtures produce a big effect. Rippling water is projected with a choice of either rotating or stationary colors. The particular units we selected have a total of five colors.

Now this little stage has become one of the most well known church stages in town. Everyone is stopping by to check out the “high tech” visual. Even if you are not in the position to add a drape or curtain on your back wall, there are still ways to create excellent color-type effects and enhance your overall stage appearance.

Cyclorama lights using an RGB color mixing feature are now available to create a wide dispersion of uplighting on your back wall. These particular fixtures have the ability to create virtually any color combination. Using a DMX controller, both the color and intensity may be altered. This is an excellent way to illuminate larger areas and create multiple colors for walls, scenes, and other applications using only one fixture.

Grace Church in Cape Coral Florida opted for an upgrade to theatrical lighting. Their stage was very dark and they were looking to enhance the visual. They soon found that a lighting package complete with moving lights was the perfect option for them to help jazz up their stage and services.

The jazziest feature of the Grace Church system has to be the moving lights. Because of the applications they wanted to use these lights for, we installed the fixtures more towards the center of the sanctuary.

The smart move this church made going to the moving light system was selecting a commercial grade moving head fixture. The fixtures allow for beams of light to be projected from up front on the stage, to the back of the sanctuary to single out performers who are creating an interactive experience for the viewing audience.

Grace Church also uses the moving light fixtures to create texture, through the use of the pre-installed gobos, on their large flat back wall. The distance from install point to the back of the stage creates a large enough image to fill a good amount of the barren back stage wall. These guys are now talking about the addition of stationary RGB cyc lights. Several churches across the nation are using photos from www.worshipvisions.com to create an instant backdrop on their screen. This is a very economical way to create serene scenery. Accompanied by background music, scrolling images are a great way to jazz up any stage for arriving members and visitors.

As you can see, there are several ways your stage can join the ranks of excitement without necessarily giving up your entire savings to do so.

As with any of our articles, we certainly hope you have found something to help you out if you’ve been suffering from boring stage syndrome.

We wish you the best in your jazzy stage adventures!