Church of the Highlands is a multisite church with headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama, boasting combined weekly attendance of 60,000 members. That’s a lot of worshipers watching the weekly sermon from the main stage in Birmingham simulcast to satellite churches. It’s why it was important for Church of the Highlands’s main Birmingham facility to update its lighting with solutions by Harman Professional Solutions, comprised entirely of Martin fixtures.
Technology plays an integral role in creating meaningful worship experiences for the Church of the Highlands’ thousands of members across separate locations and church leaders wanted to ensure high production standards for the video simulcast, says lighting director Patrick Hentz.
Of course, the picture quality of the video feed relies heavily on key lighting. So Hentz made the decision to upgrade Church of the Highlands’ aging lighting system with a state-of-the-art lighting solution. Hentz selected an extensive range of Martin fixtures to ensure premium image quality for the video simulcast, in addition to providing immersive lighting for high-energy worship events.
“There were many reasons behind the upgrade, but the greatest benefits we gained from the new Martin fixtures are brightness, reliability and versatility,” says Hentz.
“With 80 pecent of our congregation watching the sermon via the video simulcast, it’s very important that we deliver excellent video quality, and that requires powerful and consistent lighting. Our general approach is to create an environment where people can worship free from distractions. The Martin fixtures give us a great deal of balance and control over accenting and highlighting the most important aspects of our weekly services without going over the top or blinding our guests. On the other hand, when we host youth group events and special concerts, the lighting rig enables us to deliver a stunning visual show which enhances the live music experience with excitement and intensity.”
More on Church of the Highlands’ Lighting Solution (from Harman Professional Solutions press release):
The church’s new lighting rig features an array of 12 MAC Encore Wash fixtures which provides excellent key light across the entire stage, resulting in rich color and highly accurate white light on camera. The Encore Wash’s unparalleled 6000k daylight temperature is critical for overcoming challenges posed by the large LED video wall behind the church’s stage. The soft-edge moving head fixtures also enable Hentz and his staff to make quick adjustments when a guest speaker steps off the stage or when an event goes off script.
“A few years ago, we added a 60-feet-by-40-feet LED video wall and that introduced a significant challenge,” says Hentz.
“The video panels have a native color temperature of 56k, and our previous rig just wasn’t bright enough to compete. The new Martin fixtures allowed us to increase our maximum levels from 65 foot-candles to 80 foot-candles, yielding a much greater depth of field and improved color accuracy. Another huge benefit is the flexibility to make lighting changes on the fly. If a guest speaker wanders too far to the side, or goes off script and moves from the stage and onto the floor, we can take advantage of the Martin fixtures’ incredible range of motion to follow them. There was even one recent event in which we lost our conventional spotlights at a key moment due to an equipment failure, but we were able to quickly bring up the MAC Encore Wash fixtures and pick up the slack without missing a beat.”
In addition to the new MAC Encore Wash fixtures, Church of the Highlands’ new rig consists of Viper Profile, Quantum Wash and Quantum Profile fixtures for front wash and spot applications. MAC Aura and RUSH MH6CT fixtures enhance the general wash by adding textural backlight from upstage, and Hentz utilizes MAC 101 fixtures when an engaging crowd wash is desired. Because the lighting rig is in constant use and each fixture fulfills different roles, reliable performance and longevity were among the most important factors considered by Hentz when designing the new system.
“Martin’s build quality is second to none—their fixtures tend to last five times as long as other manufacturers’ products,” adds Hentz.
“When we invest in equipment, we want it to work properly and look great. Before acquiring the Martin rig, we had to run our older fixtures at 100% brightness to achieve the desired output and that was causing a lot of maintenance issues—we were replacing at least five lamps a week! We don’t want to be constantly buying replacements and conducting extensive repairs, so it’s a huge benefit to know our new Martin rig will perform just as well ten years from now. And the Martin team has been extremely helpful when it comes to providing training resources and educating our team about preventative maintenance.”