About three years ago, True North Church made the transition from being a portable church and meeting at the local high school (which it had done for 12 years), before moving into our highly anticipated beautiful new building. Everyone was excited as the new structure took shape and all the pieces of the puzzle came together. After a long construction process, CO (certificate of occupancy) was finally granted and the building was ready to be used to worship God.
But there was an elephant in the room, the house lights were HORRIBLE, and it was too late to fix the problem. So, we did what anyone with a shiny new building would do, we opened the doors and welcomed thousands of people on a weekly basis with open arms with the mission to “lead people into a passionate relationship with Jesus Christ”. Over the last three years we have continued to grow, being named one of the fastest growing churches in America, and we have transformed lives even with terrible house lights in our auditorium.
During the initial design phase, our original designer had a specific fixture in mind. However, due to budget constraints, the decision was made to replace the specified fixture with a more cost-effective product. Unfortunately, it didn’t have the beam width we needed, which wasn’t readily apparent until after the fixture was installed. The result was very spotty lights. For those sitting directly underneath the fixture, it wasn’t a big deal; anyone sitting outside the beam angle was sitting in the dark. During actual worship, the lights didn’t really affect us all that much, but when the main sanctuary was being used for anything that wasn’t worship, like weddings, funerals, set construction and even cleaning, the lighting was incredibly problematic.
A little over a year ago I was asked by our leadership to fix the problem, so I did what any good TD would do: I started looking for the cure. I looked at all the normal names on the market and found some lights that would probably fit the bill, but each one had a flaw or two that kept me searching. One day, I was visiting The Light Source website looking at some of their other products, and saw they also offered LED house lights. I began to research the HL Series architectural pendant lights, and everything about them was perfect! The HL Series are 100% configurable to meet the specific needs of the facility they are going to be used in, which meant I was able to configure them for our needs, without having to settle for something that wasn’t exactly right for the job.
For example, I was able to specify the beam width, color temperature, suspension method, data input and output, power input and everything that we needed to easily swap out our old fixtures with the new. Since we were able to specify exactly what we needed, there was no re-rigging or rewiring involved, which was a huge selling point for us. Another huge selling point was that we were able to choose the color temperature we wanted for the fixtures to match some of the existing lights we wouldn’t be changing out. This immediately made a marked and very noticeable improvement to video and photography done in the room, and provided a much more even color wash throughout the facility.
Installing the pendants was very easy. On Sunday afternoon after service, we removed roughly 400 of the 900 seats in our auditorium to make room for the lift we needed to bring in to change the fixtures. We started actually installing the 17 new fixtures Monday morning, and were finished putting them in by the end of day. The seats went back in on Tuesday and we were good to go for Wednesday’s youth meeting!
Working with The Light Source on this project was easy. They offer a wonderful customer service experience, and their attention to detail is incredible. I worked with their sales representative, Paul Nabb. The time he spent talking to me about the fixture, as well as the photometric report that was provided, helped me show our leadership we could get the fixtures we wanted within our budget range. High recommendations from people I respect in the industry also assured me I had found THE perfect light for the job.
The Light Source has spent a lot of time developing an amazing product that has helped us see our sanctuary in a whole new light. We couldn’t be happier. Since taking the position of Technical Director/Audio Director at True North Church just over two years ago, I’ve had the opportunity to help design and integrate new technology as well as maintain the existing infrastructure that was part of the original design. I’m passionate about production technology and I’m always trying to learn and expand my skill set.