Brian Damerow from Revolution Church in Canton, GA brings us another great use of LED strips and projectors.
This year for Easter, the theme was “The Infinite Became Intimate.” They wanted to not only share the Gospel and the amazing story of Easter but also show that God, an infinite being, came to earth through his Son Jesus to die for us (an undeserving and unworthy people) so that we can have an intimate relationship with Him through Jesus. In order to take things from such a large scale in certain moment down to a small intimate setting, they decided to use projection mapping and some new LED light design to help support the theme. The stage ended up with a “Zion-esk” mountain range made up of LED strips and they flew most of their movers to create the perspective of Heaven meeting Earth.
Some initial R&D went into this project about a month or so before their install and build days. They tested the LED setup way beforehand to make sure it would work like they hoped. Jeremi Lamberson’s design gave us some insight into a very similar LED setup and he was helpful in sharing how they did thing. You can check out his post here: https://churchstagedesignideas.com/widescreen-light-panels/. After they had tested the LEDs, the next thing to figure out was projection. The folks at Digital Projection hooked them up with a Titan 930 Projector to cover the entire stage area and AC Lighting got them an Arkaos Studio Server. The two worked like a charm together. The projector was setup above their camera and lighting booth (75ish feet front the back of the stage). The server was setup by the lighting console, surfaces were mapped and setup in Media Master, and the server was triggered from the Jands through Artnet. The projection surfaces included their current center screen but they also added 6 more surfaces to project onto. They used Sintra board as the projection surface and built 4 rectangular and 2 triangular wooden frames for the material. Rectangular Sintra pieces were attached to pre-built wooden rectangle shapes using heavy duty velcro and the rectangle frames were attached to the Sintra with a staple gun.
The week leading up to Easter, they built the stage frame for the LEDs using some old metal vertical pieces from a previous set and built two rows about 3 feet from the top and bottom out of 1x4s which were screwed into the metal vertical pieces. They attached the LEDs to thin 10ft 1x1s using the adhesive but also zip tied every few feet (trying not to cover any LEDs) for added security. Each LED wire after being stripped at the end was hooked up to a terminal block. Each terminal block connected to the LED decoder using thermostat wire (not using the yellow wire, they kept it simple and used the R G B and White wires to match the LEDs…this helped in troubleshooting later when one was accidentally wired backwards but was easy to spot and easy to fix). Each 16ft LED strip can be cut to the length you want at certain points in the strip (roughly every 7in) so they cut it to make the LEDs look like they were overlapping to give the “mountain range” depth.
Finally they filled in the floor with some LED washes and a row of LED bar lights they already owned.
The biggest factor for this quick stage flip, besides a dedicated production crew who spent 4 solid days on this build, was planning and figuring out the kinks before the install. For example, for their first LED strip test they were using a 24v power supply that almost melted their test LEDs. They were able to get the correct ones (12v) ordered with plenty of time to retest before their build week. Also having backups of things that can fail never hurts.
Lighting and projection setup for Easter:
- 16 – LEDs strips
- 16 – Terminal blocks
- 2 – 16 ch LED DMX decoders
- 4 – LED decoder power supplies
- 1 – 250ft of Thermostat Wire
- 4 – 4ft x 10ft white rectangle Sintra “screen” surfaces
- 2 – 5ft tall white Sintra triangle “screen” surfaces
- 1 – Titan 930 Digital Projection Projector
- 1 – Arkaos Studio Media Server
Other lighting used:
- 8 – Rogue R1’s
- 10 – OMEZ LED Washes (6 on stage, 4 hung in center of the auditorium)
- 4 – Mech 6’s
- 4 – Arena Zooms
- 12 – LED Bars
- Jands Vista I3 Console