Transforming Your Space by Reflecting Light

Wood, Coroplast, and fabric aren’t the only materials that will catch and reflect light. A trip to the home center will provide you with plenty of inspiration to offer a variety of simple tools that can yield amazing results when hit with light.

Transforming Your Space by Reflecting Light
Coroplast is shown, cut on a CNC and strung together using fishing line and split shot weights. They’re lit from the top with LED PARs, from bottom with LED battens, and from the back with LED battens, with the backlight creates the white outline that’s seen on some of the hexagons.
Credit: Billi Cate Greenwell

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Transforming Your Space by Reflecting Light

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Big moving lights, haze in the air, a high-end console, and maybe even lasers … it’s every church lighting director’s dream to have an arsenal of fixtures and tools that rivals a Trans-Siberian Orchestra show. But the reality is that most smaller churches don’t have the money to create the looks they see on magazine covers.

Wood, corrugated plastic, and drapery can save the day when it comes to adding reasonably-priced, reflective surfaces to your space.

Lighting surfaces with LED fixtures can be an effective and inexpensive way to add a new dimension to your space without breaking the bank, especially since you can head straight to a local music store and buy a few inexpensive LED fixtures relatively easily. Even if you don’t own a lighting console, most fixtures allow you to choose from a palette of color presets, meaning you can just plug in the fixture to power and you’ll have instant color.

But if your space is like so many of ours, you may only have a bland beige wall or a black curtain behind your stage. Not much to write home about, when you light it with LED, right? Wood, corrugated plastic, and drapery can save the day when it comes to adding reasonably-priced, reflective surfaces to your space.

Wood

Wood is a fascinating reflector of light, because each piece is a different color and shape than the next. Even though cleaner, simpler lines and darker stains have replaced the mismatched look of light-colored palette board in church stage design, it’s still worth working with wood. Rough-hewn cedar fence boards are an inexpensive way to achieve a surface with detailed texture, and simple pine one-by-fours, sanded and stained, look fantastic in rows of horizontals or diagonals.

Another benefit to wood is that it looks just as great lit in a warm, traditional, incandescent up-light as it does with the cooler color temperatures of an LED fixture, giving you two very distinct looks. Wood is heavy, so when working with wood, always stay safe: don’t hang anything that’s not absolutely structurally sound, and be sure nothing ground-supported can tip over.

Corrugated Plastic

Coroplast, the brand name for corrugated plastic, has been a church stage design favorite for years. The first time we used it at our church we knew it would reflect light, but we were blown away when we shut off the work lights and aimed one single LED fixture at the white Coroplast: not only did the plastic reflect light, it seemed to glow in the light.


More About Adam Dye
Adam Dye is the Media Director at Brentwood Baptist Church, just south of Nashville, Tennessee, where he oversees production for the church’s six campuses. Originally working in the recording industry, he’s had the opportunity to work with some of the greatest country, Christian, and rock artists in the country, but most loves working with the amazing volunteers who serve alongside him at the church. He spends time each summer with high school friends hiking the Appalachian trail, is his church staff’s resident Tour de France fan, and enjoys discovering bike trails and greenways around Nashville with his wife, Allison.
Get in Touch: adye@brentwoodbaptist.com    More by Adam Dye

Latest Resource

For 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.


Article Topics

Technology · Lighting · Visual Arts · Stage Design · Team Management · Budgeting · Coroplast · Corrugated Plastic · Drapery · Fabric · Hexagons · Incandescent Lighting · All Topics

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