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Tips for Smart Portable Lighting – Part 3
June 21, 2019

How to find success with lighting in your portable church worship room.

How does lighting apply to you and your church and what’s important to think about? Because you need audio and video before you need lighting, it doesn’t always get the credit it deserves. Lighting often gets put on the back burner and is not considered a necessity. But when it is needed, it can be a very big deal! Here are a few things to consider when picking out the right lighting for your worship environment. 


Lighting, in general, is made up of a lot of little pieces put together. From clamps to cables to individual lights placed in very specific locations. One thing that can frustrate volunteers is not knowing what is what and where things go. This means a volunteer plan/blueprint of where everything goes is extremely helpful to streamline the package for your volunteers. 


We’ve mentioned this already in this series, but it really can’t be emphasized enough. Anything can be cool and exciting to do one time, but the key to having a successful portable ministry is having a system that is built to be put up and taken down every single week. If you have the greatest grandest lighting of any church ever, that’s awesome, but how long can you realistically keep it up? A difficult system creates frustrated volunteers which will hurt the church growth and overall sustainability. The best way to avoid that frustrating volunteer outcome is to plan and prepare a system for your least experienced tech volunteer. That doesn’t mean you have to have a boring system it just means having a simplified system, which is possible! And we are here to help you with that. 


How are you going to use different lights? Why types of lighting fixtures and the amount of them can also play a big role in the setup and take down experience. This is one of those areas where spending a little more money on the front side can drastically change the experience on the backside. For example, key lighting (the lights that light up the pastor on the front of the stage) is one that you might have rigged to a truss and something that has to be refocused and re-aimed on a weekly basis. And once that truss is flying it’s very difficult to refocus those fixtures in a portable environment. The same is true when it comes to house lighting.  Figuring out if you have access to it, do you need it, what is it like, or do you have ambient lighting, and how do you supplement what is already there? Stage lighting is another element that can add to things on and around your stage. Understanding all these factors and how they are used is key to getting the right equipment. And the more engineering you do on the front end, the more efficient your lighting will be.


A factor that many people forget until it’s too late is the storage solution process for every piece of the lighting rig. Storage is important to make sure your gear doesn’t get broken but also to allow any new volunteer to walk up to a case and identify what is in it, how to use it, and where it goes. Through our many years of experience with this we’ve been able to, and continue to, design, engineer, and field-test the most efficient and volunteer-friendly solutions when it comes to storing and deploying a lighting rig.

Lastly, be aware of “gotchas”

While this is not an exhaustive list, here are some other things that are important when it comes to designing your lighting.

  • Wireless lighting isn’t a great experience. It can be glitchy, and you don’t want to have to worry about that during a service.
  • Consider your power needs for different lights. You don’t want to accidentally blow a circuit in the facility you’re renting.
  • If you get the wrong type of hazer it could mess with the sprinkler system in your facility – make sure you check that first!
  • Cheap lighting is usually built cheap. So make sure you know what value you are getting out of things before you buy. 

We hope this series has helped your overall understanding of portable church audio, video, and lighting. If you have more questions feel free to call us at 800.939.7722. We’d be happy to help talk about how your church can thrive more through your AVL.

Go here to read about Smart Portable VideoGo here to read about Smart Portable Audio