There is an old saying that goes, “Experience is what you get when you were expecting something else.” The worship leaders at First Baptist Church in Milford, Ohio can certainly appreciate this lesson. A well-known and appreciated member of its suburban Cincinnati community, the church was looking to upgrade the lighting system in its 30-year-old building, when an audio consultant recommended Ken Patterson of A Tennessee Lighting Company in Knoxville, TN.
First Baptist Milford’s team explained to Patterson that they were wanted a more energy-efficient LED system that would provide a powerful and smooth white light for Sunday morning services. Patterson provided the church with this, but he also delivered something more, and in the process he opened a new world of color-changing possibilities to First Baptist Milford, thanks in part to a collection of fixtures from CHAUVET Professional.
“The church leaders were not thinking in terms of color changing at first. They had never experienced color of this magnitude before,” said Patterson. “However, once they saw what the Chauvet fixtures could do, they really got their arms around the concept. The system we installed has unlocked unlimited creative possibilities for this church from the pastor on down. Jim Guiton, our point of contact at the church, was totally involved from the very beginning, and was crucial to the seamless transition from an old metal halide system and 6 channels of analog dimming to the system they have today.”
Included in what First Baptist Milford has today are 40 COLORado 2-Quad Zoom Tour par-style fixtures hung on four individual 21-foot battens and used as stage wash lighting. The design also featured eight Ovation E-190WW LED ellipsoidals used for profiles and 20 COLORdash Accent RGBW LED fixtures for accent lighting. Patterson replaced the church’s 15 metal halide house lights with new high output LED fixtures. He used CHAUVET Professional super duty CTC-50HC clamps for hanging all stage lighting, as well as Chauvet DMX cabling for all data runs between fixtures.
“This project went through many enhancements from our original designs,” said Patterson.
First Baptist Milford has made excellent use of the color rendering possibilities of its new stage lighting system. The 4-color RGBW 15W LEDs in the COLORado 2-Quad Zoom Tour feature color temperature macros from 3200 to 10000K, as well as digital control zoom and five dimming curves, allowing it to excel as either a beam or wash fixture. The church’s design team has utilized this robust feature set, using the color rendering capabilities of this fixture as well as the COLORdash Accent to wash its expansive stage in changing hues that engage the audience and accent different elements in services and special events with colorful beams.
Feature-rich lighting fixtures are only one ingredient in a successful church lighting design. A staff of trained, skilled and dedicated volunteers is also necessary to provide the kind of lighting that is now engaging worshippers at First Baptist Milford.
Tennessee Lighting helped the church in this regard too. “We always provide complete closeout binders that include operator manuals and cut sheets on all equipment used, as well as scaled AutoCAD drawings showing all DMX addresses, scaled fixture positioning, AutoCAD data and electrical risers, and all rigging details,” said Patterson. “We also plan our training around the church staff’s experience with the level of technology being deployed. In a church this size, even though their volunteers had not previously worked with this kind of lighting equipment, several people had enough experience dealing with technology to grasp the concepts we presented. First Baptist Milford now has several operators that are able to work wonders with the system.”
Patterson also provided the church with a tightly coordinated system for controlling its lighting. “For primary system control we chose a Philips Strand 250ML because of its available number of dimmer channels and LED/moving light channels,” he said. “For architectural control, we chose the Lightronics SR516 system as the architectural brain, with AC2116W stations in the audio booth and at one of the entrance doors. At the other doors, we used Lightronics APP01 simple remotes. All stage lights are provided 208VAC power and DMX via custom SSRC power distribution.”
Looking at the First Baptist Milford installation in retrospect, Patterson is proud of how the final result exceeded everyone’s expectations. “The church wanted, and needed, a lighting system that would conserve energy and provide multiple control locations, while eliminating the frequent lamp changes, long warm-up times and poor color temperature quality of metal halide fixtures,” he said. “We provided this to First Baptist Milford, but the end result went so far beyond that point. The reaction to the system has been absolute and total excitement and amazement. They really were not prepared for the power and emotion this new system is capable of delivering through its intensity and broad range of colors. So we’re all very happy.”