Go Inside 17-Year-Old Programmer’s Dazzling Easter Production

Will Flavin, high schooler and lighting programmer of Flavin Lighting Design, pulls off a one-of-a-kind Easter production at The Simple Church of Louisiana.

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Editor’s note: Will Flavin, 17, is a lighting programmer for Flavin Lighting Design and senior at Caddo Magnet High School in Shreveport, La. See examples of his work on his YouTube channel.

Every church faces challenges when trying to make an Easter production come together. When moving the church to a 15,000 seat arena for two weekends, pulling off the production can be much more difficult.

The Simple Church of Shreveport, LA faces this challenge every year during their Easter production. Taking over the CenturyLink arena, the church rents the majority of the gear for the show from Paxton Sound, INC of Bossier City, LA. The lighting rig is designed and programmed by Flavin Lighting Design, LLC of Shreveport, LA.

Thankfully we had two days before the show to load in. Load-in started early Friday morning. It really takes a lot of time and planning from a lot of different people to pull off something this big and have it load in as smoothly as it did.

The initial designs for the lighting rig started in late January. Sketching different ides on paper of the main looks I wanted ahead of time really helped in the final design. Having designed and programmed the church’s Christmas show in the same venue, I was able to look back at older plots and fix some of the problems.

Related: Will Flavin Transforms Trinity Baptist Church for ‘Epic Weekend’

Production meetings started in early April and I was given the finalized plot of how the truss would be laid out. From there I could finalize my light plot. Being that the setup of the show is handled mostly by volunteers with a couple of qualified technicians, I made the light plot in Photoshop just using basic shapes as symbols for the fixtures. I didn’t want to use VectorWorks simply because it would be more of a challenge for volunteers to understand it.

By Friday night everything had been loaded in and was in the air. Finally programming began. I was able to work with Chip Mitchell, the church’s production director, to get all of the the information I needed on what they were looking for in the design of the show. The church rented a studio broadcast camera and lens to add on to the existing video gear.

Watch the video of the final show:

Accounting for the full HD system was very important for the lighting design. These broadcast lenses pick up incredible detail and are very sensitive with variations in color. So working out how the lighting would mesh with the video elements was critical.

While focusing the front truss we had a Grannie lift available. We were not so fortunate with the mid truss. Pretty much all of the sixteen led par cans had to be focused on the band and kept off of the backdrop which was a 50’ x 40’ Rose Brand projection backdrop. Since the truss was flown directly over mid stage, there was no way to access it with a Grannie. The truss trimmed out around 50 feet so I used a harness and had to ride it up and focus.

Related: A Guide to House of Worship Lighting Design