THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CHURCH LIGHTING DESIGN

– Hey there, in this video you’re going to learn the essentials of church lighting design (intense music) – Alright, Bloomer and I are about to head up to the Lakewood Campus of Red Rocks Church We are going to meet with Mark Wray Mark is a lighting designer, and he is going to teach us about, just the best practices of lighting design for the church and for designing lighting for worship I love the lighting at Red Rocks Church I think they always do an excellent job of doing it in a way that’s tasteful but not too distracting, and I think there’s gonna be lots of great principles that you can pull away from this video about how to do light design at your church, even if you’re using not a multi million dollar lighting system That’s not multi million, maybe it’s like tens of thousands of dollars or something It’s big, ’cause you’re gonna see these lights and you’re like, man, those are so cool, We’ll never get them You can still get budged friendly lighting and still apply the same principles to the lighting system at your church But first things first, we’re actually gonna go get lunch with Mark, and then we’re gonna go to the Church after So let’s head out (ambient electronic music) Hey, do you wanna listen to some music? – [Boomer] Uh, yeah – Do you have anything good? – I got Churchfront PADS – Yeah, Churchfront PADS, let’s go, let’s jam out to some PADS (Churchfront PADS music) – [Boomer] Dope – Dope, download your Free Churchfront PADS There’s a lighting genius I’m looking for Mark Wray – What are you guys doing? What are you guys doin’ here? – [Jake] I’m lookin’ for a Mr. Mark Wray, Lighting extraordinaire – You can’t find him here You can’t find him here – I think I found him right here (Mark laughs) Alright, so I’m here with Mark Wray, and Boomer, he’s holding the camera – Mm hmm – And we’re grabbin’ some lunch, and I just wanna introduce you guys to Mark How ’bout we just go ahead, Mark, just tell us a little bit about, a little bit about your story, and your role at Red Rocks, and what are you up to Introduce yourself to Churchfront – Sure, my name’s Mark Wray I’ve been on staff at Red Rocks Church for about eight years now Started out as a volunteer for about five years or so, and then the church grew, and grew, and needed someone to come on full time staff on production So I was the first person they called for that, so I was like, sure, I’ll do it And since then I’ve kind of grown away from the audio side of things, kind of where I started out, into more lighting and producing Technical producing, I guess you could call it So that’s kind of where I am now, sort of Lakewood Campus productions hosts a lot of major events for that come through Lakewood Campus, concerts, youth events that kind of thing – So you’ve been at Red Rocks pretty much almost since the beginning, right? – Almost, yeah – And Red Rock, for those of you guys don’t know Red Rocks started in 2005 here in Colorado and it started with a couple dozen people or so, and then now in 2018 it’s, how many weekly attendants now? – It fluctuates, anywhere between 14, 15 thousand weekend – Yeah, so it fluctuates by a thousand people every Sunday Which is kind of insane to think about But it’s cool that Mark has kind of been there the whole time along the way What was it like in the early days? – What was it like? Oh, it was rough, it was scrappy We did what we could to put stuff together to make Sundays work Didn’t have our resources, didn’t have our people help out for things, so we kind of just pieced together some production elements, some lighting, some PA, we had stage wedges for monitors We had, you name it, from what you think of starting out with a church (energetic electronic music) – Man, it’s really dark in here Hey, Mark, can you turn the lights on? There we go Alright, so Mark and I, and Boomer behind the camera, we all finished lunch at Panera, drove a couple miles down the road We’re here at Red Rocks Church, Lakewood Campus It is a really beautiful facility I love coming here to worship and I especially love just the lighting design, the sound, everything about the production

Let’s go ahead and roll that B roll of the space (energetic electronic music) Okay, so for the remainder of this video Mark and I just wanna give you guys some quick tips about how to light the different types of scenes you’re gonna have to create in your church How to do that well, and strategically And I think the best way to do that is to actually just show, like, how do you light a pastor, a speaker, communicator on stage, how do you light a worship leader, then how do you use colors and moving lights to kind of add ambiance with that back lighting and side lighting And then we’ll also talk a little bit about haze too So the first thing we need to do, I think we need to find a subject to be our cool, young, hip, relevant pastor or speaker Do you think we could find any of those around here? – Probably, yeah – Okay So fortunately we found Judah Smith, he’s with us here in the house here at Red Rocks today (Mark laughs) Just kidding, this is Cam, he is one of the youth pastors here at Red Rocks Church, he’s a great guy So he’s gonna be our subject of a communicator You’re gonna pretend like you would be preaching today And Mark, let’s go ahead and build a lighting scene to light Cam and just kind of talk us through what you’re doing all the way – Alright, so I start out with my subject I have lovely Cam here, who’s gonna be our speaking pastor for today Lovely And so what I’m gonna do is just kind of simplify things from a larger scale, I’m gonna bring in only a few lights at a time to kind of show you the angles that we’re shootin’ at and how that all looks when it’s all come together So to start out I’m gonna a light in from the house right side, so you can see here I have a light coming in from a little bit of an angle off to his left side up there, that is shooting the left side of his body It’s also coming at an angle to where it’s getting his left side of his face a little bit more, his ears, the left side of his arm, and you can see, too, it’s getting from head to tail There’s no dark spots, it’s a pretty flat light all the way through So what I’m gonna try to do now is replicate that with the other side, try to create an experience with two lights coming at him from the front, trying to round him out a little bit more ‘Cause obviously one light right here from this angle isn’t gonna look good for a teaching pastor, so to help do that I’m gonna add a second light coming from the other side So there he is with two lights coming at a little bit of an angle off to the side So you can tell right now, if he were to not move at all he’d be lit pretty well from the front There’s no back lights, so it kind of looks a little bit one dimensional So right now what I can do is add a little bit of back lights, to help round out his body a little bit more, his shoulders, his hair, that’ll help – I don’t know I feel like his body’s rounded out pretty well – So let me go ahead now to some back lighting here You’re gonna see how that helps, helps him to look – Is is 100%? – Yeah it’s 100% backlight So you can see just for all intents and purposes see when those lights came on there’s a little bit more of a glow on his shoulders, his head glows a little bit more, his shoulders That way we are looking at him from the audience in the congregation, you can kind of see he’s not one dimensional, he’s actually three dimensional, he’s here in real life So the backlight there really helps bring out the full experience so he doesn’t look so one dimensional – So that’s how you light a speaker Just have some great fun lighting, two lights up here, and have one or two back lights, and there you go Is there anything you can do to make him look less, look like less of a tool? – No – Hi, my name’s Corey Miller, I’m one of the worship leaders at Red Rocks Church Mark is gonna show us here how he lights me, a worship leader (mark laughing) So go ahead Mark – Alright, so lighting a worship leader is a little bit different in that I’m not gonna use any of the same lights that I used to light the speaker wash I’m gonna use a different light dedicated just for each individual worship position, whether they’re downstage worship leaders, upstage, drums, guitar, bass, keys, organ, whatever you have on your stage That’s how we light them Each individual light is dedicated just for that person, that position So right here I have keys, stage left What I do with each worship leader in each position is I have one light dedicated to them to where, now I have a second light coming off from this side, and what that kind of brings to the camera eye specifically, is kind of a more focus to just the front of their face a little bit So I’m not gonna have two lights,

three lights, four lights shooting up one worship leader That can be a little bit overkill From my opinion, I like one light per worship leader Just gives it a better feel for when you’re in the audience, they don’t feel like they’re overly lit, they don’t feel like they’re too lit, I guess – Too lit (Mark laughs) – So, you’ll see right here I have this one, so it’s one source for coming in from a little bit more to house right side, it’s not directly on to, like directly 90 degrees on to this position It’s a little bit off to the side, and what that does is it brings out some shadows a little bit more, so a little bit more depth as well If they were straight on, if these individual worshiping light were straight on, you’d just see like just straight, no shadows no nothin’, just be a flat look But with the light coming from the side you’re seeing some nice shadows – Us worship leaders like the dramatic, emotional look Not that we’re dramatic or emotional people, but – No So you’ll see right here, I had my house right light come on There you go So that’s coming in from, it’s a 26 degree barrel on a Source Four, it’s a little bit warmer color, as you can tell, a little bit more amber in there From this side, there’s some shadows on your right hand side, or from your left side it’ll look more, you’re a little brighter, it’s a little well lit, and that brings some cool shadows for the camera eye that’s on this side of the stage And so the light is not directly in front of him, straight up and down, it’s a little bit off centered, a little bit to house right, stage left side to help create that dramatic effect through key light So what I’m gonna do is to help round out his image a little bit more, is I’m going to back light him, back light Jake with a little bit of colored wash light So from this area, I click on this wash light, and there I have a good back light for Jake – And I think this is a good point, you know, talking about the purpose of kind of these color washes on stage, of you don’t have any of those color washes up on the front truss up here, it really looks like you’re just back and side lighting – Correct, yup, and what’s cool about the color LED washes, too, is that I can do a little color changing if I want to If I wanna try to get more of an amber color that matches a little bit more amber tones that’s kind of matching your fit a little bit, I can do that too Like that – Nice – Then again, if I wanna get more, real moody, I can go through different color, more blue, I can do some more saturation to it, you have a lot of flexibility with these colors and these wash lights to add some cool back light to your worship leaders – So as we already mentioned, most of the color lights that they have on stage are not on the front lighting truss creating front lighting, and those are mostly ellipsoidal lights, and lights that have that more, like, natural tungsten look, is that what I’m– – Yup – The right language, I guess Most of the LED lights here on the Red Rocks stage are usually, like, they’re kind of like back slash side lighting, so I guess, Mark, can you talk us through a little bit about, like, let’s just talk about color combinations, and the use of color So we have another camera that’s capturing, like, the whole stage so you guys can see what we’re talking about here How do you go about just choosing colors, what are your favorite colors to use, which ones do you avoid? Give us some tips on color – Sure, so let’s go through some color choices here I’ll bring up my wash lights So here they are, kind of white, shooting down stage a little bit, kind of a straight wash, no different weird positions, there’s no X’s, no nothin’ They’re just on, in their home position, kind of like a good walk in look That’s what we use this a lot for And then I’ll bring in my spot fixtures as well Those’ll come in down stage as well, kind of the same idea behind that Got like composition, a good starting point for my wash and spot fixtures So what I’ll do is I can go through some color combinations here For our spot fixtures specifically, they have what’s called a color wheel inside them They’re not color mixing like the wash fixtures are So there’s a physical wheel or two inside the light that’s rotating from the lens, that’s creating those colors Some higher end fixtures do have color mixing, these ones just don’t So I’m kind of bound to the color choices that these lights have inside them So you’re gonna see me scroll through here Got yellow, blue, some green, red, magenta, dark blue, and orange I do have a second color wheel That can do some amber, little bit lighter amber,

it’s almost like color temperature And then green, almost like a UV color, orange, pink or fuchsia, and then dark blue again So how I go about lighting a song is I usually use my wash lights first That is just because they can color mix and I can try to create different colors based on whatever I like for that song So if I go through now, right now they’re on, and they’re white I can take my software here and kind of scroll through the deep saturations of each color See like what looks good for color choices If I don’t like the saturation of that, I can back it off a little bit, come down, do the same kind of scroll, go through my colors same exact way So my theory behind that is usually faster songs, I use brighter colors, slower songs sometimes darker colors, but that’s not always the case either Sometimes a slower song I’ll use amber, a lot of white amber, just to create a different look that people aren’t used to seeing Say if we have a slower song, I might go to a little bit like a light blue color right here And then I’m gonna bring in my spot fixtures as well – [Jake] And that looks like a desaturated blue – [Mark] Yup, it’s a more light blue, definitely desaturated a little bit I’ll bring in my spots, obviously that kind of blows them out a little bit, but I try to accompany that a little bit with some darker colors I don’t want them to overpower anything, so what I do is try to compliment that with a different color combination So at this point if you’re not sure what your light’s gonna do, you just wanna scroll through them again You can kind of go through each color combination, see what looks good for your eye, what kind of song you’re in, and then go from there – Rules, like what are some basic rules of thumb you go by, color wise, when selecting? Especially if you’re combining two colors together? – Yup, so I don’t wanna do two really, really saturated colors together For example, if I take my wash fixtures and go all the way red with ’em, and my spots, and do a dark blue, that typically is a different look that you normally don’t see Sometimes it can look good, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, but I wouldn’t’ really do that for a Sunday or a worship song So I can take, if I wanna keep that, keep my spots the way they are with that dark blue, I can then take my wash lights and desaturate them a little bit, and change the color, and it brings out a nicer feel, to where it’s a little more complete – Are there any colors you avoid? – Colors I avoid are yellow, (laughs) and green – [Jake] Yeah, that kinda looks like the green goblin – [Mark] Right. (laughs) – [Jake] Yeah – [Mark] Unless it’s, you know, for a youth show or some sort of concert or whatever, I typically, for worship, don’t use any yellow at all Don’t think I’ve ever used yellow or green I’ll use amber sometimes, ’cause amber can look really good when you use a more natural color looking amber, but when you go yellow, it just tends to look a little bit gross So that’s kind of your amber look Kind of going back to what I said, too, on creating different positions and looks Just because they are movers doesn’t mean they have to move And so some of the best looks I’ve seen on lighting aren’t actually moving lights, they’re just on in a specific position, but they’re intentional about where they are So for these spot fixtures if I move them to the center, downstage, there’s a great quick look that had a focus on the downstage center area If you have one vocalist, or a violinist or someone, two or three people downstage, kind of a more special type song, special worship song, creating that intentional look really goes a long way, and it helps focus, helps people focus on what they should be focusing on on stage – Yup, so moving lights don’t always have to move And the final thing I wanted to ask you about was just haze, how do you guys approach using haze here in worship? I know it’s important, for the Holy Spirit to dwell here, there has to be some haze, you know, in the atmosphere. (laughing) – Sure – I think it was a Babylon Bee article about that a couple years back, it’s pretty funny But what is, let’s seriously talk, like people think “ah, your church uses fog machines, “ah, you’re like from the devil.” It’s like, what is the purpose of haze? – So haze is, for our room, it kind of fills in the space a little bit more It kind of creates some atmosphere for worship So if we were not to have haze in this room at all, the lights, yes, you could still have color,

you could still do color changes, but it wouldn’t feel complete without haze – We wouldn’t see those beams right now – [Mark] Right, you wouldn’t see the beams Not that it’s all about the beams but it helps create the atmosphere – [Jake] It’s all about the beams (Mark laughs) Beams are amazing! No, I mean, but seriously though, it’s like you have these really nice lighting fixtures, to me that haze is like, it’s a piece of the lighting fixture almost – Right – You know, it’s not, the people who make these lighting fixtures make ’em in mind with, like, you know, and those beams can, can’t those, like, do different, like, texture beams and like moving gobos? – Gobos – Yeah, like, how, like those things, like have to have haze to really have any effect Oh, that is so cool Yeah, so obviously you don’t wanna be obnoxious but something like that, like it looks like sparkly starlight or something – [Mark] Look at the spin – Even just like, yeah, that subtle movement If you didn’t have haze, only thing you would see is the gobos on the floor – [Mark] Correct – [Jake] Yeah, yeah – [Mark] So yeah, it kind of helps, especially with cameras, helps create the look, feel a little more complete, little more full, with your lights, what you got goin’ on And it definitely adds to the experience for sure – Yeah, and like I’d say, like, my final, like little, I don’t know, thought on all this stuff is, like, sometimes we think about lighting and production and we kinda get all caught up in, like, oh we’re just tryin’ to put on this big show and entertainment, but what we’re really doing, I strongly believe, this is why I’m so passionate about it., is that we’re really just helping focus people’s attention on God, and why they’re here We want people to focus on the lyrics of the worship songs that they’re singing We want people to be able to focus on the message that the pastor’s preaching So it’s not about entertainment, having a bunch of flashy lights and cool haze, and stuff like that, it’s really, I feel, and I know, it’s about focusing people’s attention on the gospel here during worship So Mark, thanks so much – yeah for these lighting tips You taught us how to light a speaker, a worship leader, how to use color effectively, how to use haze effectively I think this is super helpful stuff I’m gonna take back to my church ministry and apply there – Awesome – Thanks, man – Cool, thank you – I hope you enjoyed this video, and that you learned a ton about the best practices and essentials of lighting design for a church, worship context Mark, if you’re watching this, thank you so much for taking the time to walk through your approach to lighting design, and I know I’ve taken away a ton of great ideas I’m gonna apply to my church ministry context and I know other folks who’ve watched this video will be able to do the same And before you go I wanted to let you know about a free gift I have for you It is my worship tool kit I’ve linked it below in the description of this video It is my complete list of all the gear and software I use in my worship ministry I’m at a small church plant, and I know sometimes it can be tough finding all the right resources for ministry, so that’s why I’ve compiled this all together into one list, called my worship tool kit You can click the link in the description, complete the form, I’ll send you instant access to that tool kit If you found this video helpful, hit the like button, share it with your other friends in ministry, and make sure you don’t forget to subscribe to the channel and hit that notification bell so you can receive all of our latest content to help you grow yourself and grow your church