Creating a more camera-friendly stage became a pressing need for many churches during the pandemic, as they turned to livestream services to reach worshippers during lockdowns. Marysville Christian Fellowship was no exception to this rule.
Not surprisingly, this dynamic, small church, which serves a rural community in northeast Kansas, also shared something else in common with many other houses of worship: it had only a limited budget to devote to making its space more well-suited for broadcasting services.
Marysville Christian was able to navigate its way through this issue with help from Stark Raving Solutions, which recently completed a lighting and video upgrade at the church. Taking a holistic approach to this project, the Lenexa, Kansas based company provide a comprehensive solution that involved far more than the installation of new gear.
“We did a lot of upgrading, including adding an entire video system with new cameras and switching, but we didn’t stop there,” said Marcus Hammond of Stark Raving Solutions. “Clark Johnson our design lead and Shelli Kutz, our project manager did a great job finding ways the church could better employ some of its existing equipment.”
Indicative of this approach is the way the church’s front lighting was revamped for filming services. Prior to the rehab, the worship area had six CHAUVET Professional Ovation E-160WW ellipsoidals. Stark Raving Solutions increased this number to 14 units. But adding these new fixtures was only the beginning. The company also changed the angle of the church’s front lighting to make it more effective.
“We regard the Ovation E-160WW as a great workhorse product, so we felt good about adding eight more units,” said Hammond. “The church didn’t just need more of these fixtures, though, it also needed to deploy them better. Prior to the upgrade, they were at a very harsh side angles. This didn’t come off well on camera. Plus, the pastor, worship leaders, and backing band were often in the dark.”
To address this issue, the Stark Ravings Solutions team created a new light plot for the ellipsoidals, which are outfitted with 36ﹾ, 26ﹾ and 19ﹾ lens tubes. The Stark Raving Solutions team installed a new electric angled at 45ﹾ and hung the ellipsoidals from this pipe.
This electric was part of an overall reconfiguration of the lighting rig. “We basically plot two rows deep, and about three to five areas of two-point or three-point lighting wide,” said Hammond. “This allows the church to light each area needed like its own little stage. In addition to that, it creates a sense of depth.”
Stark Ravings Solutions also provided the church’s tech team with advice on utilizing the wide zoom range of the Ovation E-160WW, in addition to sharing tips on using the fixtures’ shutters.
“All video displays in the church are projectors on screens, so the lights can easily wash out the screens if they’re not focused with care,” said Hammond. “We worked closely with pastor Brad Wicks, who is a great partner for us, to ensure that we could develop the tech team.”
Developing the tech team was among the most gratifying parts of this project for Hammond. “Our team strives to help the church create the experience, not just sell gear,” he said. “Whenever I see one of the church’s videoed services, I know we succeeded in meeting this goal.”