After our Easter Series “Wounded Heart”, we did a series called “Seeds”. Wounded Heart was pretty dark, as it’s purpose was to deal with the issues in your life. So with Seeds, we wanted to talk about potential in your life, this lent itself to brighter colors, optimism, and everything associated with moving forward. So here’s the artwork we ended up with:
Here was our bump for the series:
And here was the lower 3rd motion graphic to accompany the branding:
When we change sermon series, we often like to change up our stage look so that our look is always new and fresh. Sometimes it’s quite difficult to think of something new to do for each series, but the result is always great, and our people always appreciate the new looks. For our summer series “Awaken” (we are actually doing Awaken through the majority of the rest of the year), we wanted something simple, bright, and fun. Bright and fun because it’s summer time, and simple because we will be in the series for such a long time, we don’t want people to get tired of the look. So here’s what we ended up with:
We took four rolls of white semi-stretchy fabric, and stretched it from the top of our stage to the floor. We then put an LED bar at the bottom of those fabric pillars and matched the color palette of the graphic. Then we faded our Environmental projection over the top of the pillars. This made it feel very cohesive, as the projection matched the LED bars and continued over our walls to the left and right of the screens. It made for a very unified look, which didn’t cost us a thing to make as we already had all the pieces necessary to pull this off.
I have found that when we make set pieces based upon what we already have, it’s so much sweeter when we come up with a final look.
Our summer series at Northwood Church is called Awaken. It’s a book study through the book of Acts. Typically we are in series for 4-5 weeks. However, we’ll be in the Awaken series for the rest of the year except for two small series later in the year. So here’s the artwork for the series, done by our graphic designer Josh Tate.
Because we are in this series for so lunch a long time, we wanted to make sure the Bump was really short. After a few weeks of a longer bump, it just gets old. So we made a bump just long enough for our worship team to clear off stage, and for the speaker to get set (about 20 seconds). This not only makes a smooth transition, but it helps people get settled in, get their mind right, for the sermon time. Here’s the bump we ended up with. Short and Simple.
The Passion tour came through to Northwood a couple months back. The place was packed, and all had a fun time worshipping the Lord. Here are a couple pictures from setup and a few pictures from the show. Their tour bus broke down 5 hours away, and the band ended up loading in only a couple hours before the show started. Our production team kicked it into gear and had them ready to go with plenty of time to spare. Appropriate for that day, I wore my “I love last minute changes” shirt.
We also have some killer video from the night, but I’m sure Passion would appreciate it if I didn’t post it for everyone in the world to see.
When Technical Directors or Creative Directors think about how they can make a bigger impact on the worship service, their mind naturally jumps to bigger/better sound systems, bigger/better lighting systems, moving lights, LED curtains, etc. While all of those things make a big impact, they are all REALLY expensive, and not attainable for a lot of churches. Here is one practical step we took towards making our stage look and feel completely different and for a fraction of the cost of a single moving light.
When we moved into our current facility in 2008, the plans called for a grey carpet to cover the stage. For a while, we actually enjoyed the lighter color stage top, as it accepted tons of color. As our production needs grew, as cables and equipment accumulated on stage, and as we looked toward cleaning up our stage for video, the lighter color stage top just wasn’t cutting it. So we set out to find a good affordable dark stage top. We looked at true tech tops, black carpet, dark wood, dark tile, hybrids, and everything in between. After months of searching, talking to countless sales reps, and banging our head on the wall to find something that looked sharp and was affordable, we ended up with a dark, slightly textured vinyl tile. Both extremely affordable, extremely durable, and had a slight texture to give the stage a tiny bit of life when hit with light.
The tile measures in 18×18″ squares. And when placed in the right light, looks pretty much black on stage with a little life. We couldn’t be more happy. Here’s a couple of pictures of the install process.
Here’s what a darker stage enables you to accomplish (besides just looking awesome):
1. Hides cables, equpiment, and clutter. As video distribution and video in service becomes more important, the way your stage looks on camera becomes very important. Your stage looking good is not an ego thing. It’s a distraction thing. The cleaner and sharper you stage looks, the more it should fade away, leaving the speaker the main focus.
2. Gives life to your lights and color. The darker your stage gets, the more contrast it creates with your bright and colorful lights. In our own experience, we found that our lights all of a sudden felt much brighter and more colorful. This helps your lighting designer or creative director to easily create moods with colors, lights, gobos, etc.
One thing to note is that it is a change that most people won’t notice. They’ll notice that something looks really good, but they won’t be able to put their finger on it. That’s a good thing. It’s a subtle change that makes a big difference. With the flooring material that we went with, it’s also much cheaper than investing in even one moving light.
When contemplating investing in large pieces of equipment, first consider your atmosphere and setting. Look to see what can be improved there first. Odds are it will make a huge difference and cost much less than you think.