Intentional Lighting: From Cues to Color Theory

One of the best things you can do as a lighting director (or technical director who programs lights) is learn color theory. Different colors make you feel different things.

Intentional Lighting: From Cues to Color Theory
Lighting styles and trends change pretty all the time. It's important we keep on top of that, while remaining true to our individual church styles. If you need some help with getting a sense of what is appropriate and good, pick some other church services to watch online.
Intentional Lighting: From Cues to Color Theory
Lighting styles and trends change pretty all the time. It's important we keep on top of that, while remaining true to our individual church styles. If you need some help with getting a sense of what is appropriate and good, pick some other church services to watch online.

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After more than a decade as a Technical Director and now serving churches across the country, one thing I see so many churches struggle with is intentionality. Why the music is the way it is, why we mix the way we mix, why we shoot the camera shots we shoot, and more are just some of the areas that I feel like often churches sort of just feel their way through without any real thought as to why they’re doing it that way.

When there is a build in the song, I’ll write a new cue.

I’d like to hit on the area that I see churches be the least intentional with, which is lighting. I could be wrong on this but I’m not sure there is another discipline that ends up being less intentional than lighting. And it’s not just in churches. I see all kinds of random lighting all over the place. But I think this is an area where some planning and thought can make a huge difference.

Earn the Cue

Perhaps one of the best pieces of lighting advice I’ve ever received came from my friend Daniel Connell at Church on the Move. Several years ago at Seeds, he was talking about his approach to lighting and he gave us his criteria for adding a lighting cue to a program. He said, “The moment needs to earn the cue. If there isn’t a benefit for a new cue, I don’t do it.”  I’ve repeated that phrase over and over to my lighting guys in the past and use it myself when programming. The way this plays out for me is in simplicity. I don’t have a compulsion to do three cues per verse, nor do I run animations all the time. When there is a build in the song, I’ll write a new cue. But if the feel of the song is consistent throughout, it will likely only get one or two. And sometimes the best lighting is super-simple?one look will keep the focus where it needs to be.

Learn Some Color Theory


One of the best things you can do as a lighting director (or technical director who programs lights) is learn color theory. Different colors make you feel different things. Do you know which ones conjure up which feelings?  I’m not going to go into a bunch of color theory here; you can Google it. But there is a really good reason we use red for our communion songs and yellows, turquoise and purples for many of our worship songs.


Latest Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, March-April 2018
The March-April 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about how to prepare, prevent and respond to church violence, a look into what church management software can do for your church community, and a piece on how a once popular nightclub venue was transitioned to become Shoreline Church's new home.


Article Topics

Technology · Lighting · Team Management · Leadership · Spiritual Health · Team Development · Animation · Churches · Color Theory · Cues · Lighting · Lighting Styles · All Topics

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The latest strategies for sound, lighting and facilities can help you better attract and engage with your congregation. With Worship Facilities’ insights on leadership, communication and administrative tools, each issue shows you how to design and maintain your facility and how to adapt it to meet the changing needs of today’s members.
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