Lighting Design: It’s Not the Light, It’s Where You Put It
In general, you want your fixtures to be placed at a 45-degree angle from the subject. Higher than this, and you will end up with unflattering shadows.
Lighting Design NewsFor Lighting Design, What Software Is The Right Match For Your Needs? (Part 3) Lighting Design Software Guide: Deep Dive Into Two Options (Part 2) Lighting Design Software Guide: Making It Easier With What Works (Part 1) Language of Light: Using Visuals to Communicate Culture
Lighting Design ResourceFor Lighting Design, What Software Is The Right Match For Your Needs? (Part 3)
Dig into this final part of a three-part series that looks into choices for lighting design software, including Vectorworks and LightConverse, and how each can best serve the needs of your church.
For many churches, lighting often gets the last of the resources. Audio, video, and environments are usually the first things that come to people’s minds when they think of technology and what to improve.
What many churches miss out on, though, is that lighting is equally as important to effectively communicate the message.
If the pastor is dark, shadows are harsh, or colors are distracting, people can be distracted from the message we are trying to communicate. That’s why even though our lighting setups may be simple, how they’re set up can make the difference between bad light and good light.
That’s why our lighting positions matter.
We often think that as long as someone is illuminated, we’ve accomplished our job. But, the reality is that just as there’s more than one way to mic a pastor, there’s more than one way to light them as well.
Front Lighting Placement
In our house of worship contexts, you will always need, at minimum, front light. At the ground level, the purpose of our lighting is to illuminate that which needs attention drawn to it. If the pastor, baptistery, or soloist is left in the dark, people will be left glancing around the room wondering where the sound is coming from.
We’ll move on to using multiple fixtures in a moment, but what do you do if you just have one light?
What is our formula for success?
In general, you want your fixtures to be placed at a 45-degree angle from the subject. Higher than this, and you will end up with unflattering shadows. Lower, and you will blind your subject and wash out your background. Still, this will get you a fairly even wash on your light that generally everyone will find acceptable, albeit with some harsher shadows under the chin and nose.
Even more ideal than one light, however, is two lights. This is the best way to illuminate someone from the front, and gives you complete coverage of the subject, while allowing you to create more dynamic looks using shadows across their face and body. Here, 45 degrees is still our magic number. We want to position our lights 45 degrees to the left and right, and 45 degrees up. Again, these are just general numbers, and are subject to change according to your venue. This is the most natural way to illuminate somebody from the front, giving the subject a more three-dimensional look, and eliminates all the major shadows.
Latest ResourceWorship 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.