“…But all big stages all have colored lights”, said the worship pastor of the small church. “So we must need some colored lights too!”
I listened to his question, and then dug deeper. If you’ve been reading this website for any amount of time, you’ll know that I am a huge advocate of being intentional to figure out your lighting needs before going out and buying gear just for the sake following a whim.
I am the biggest fan of colored lighting, moving lights and great set designs.
After all, I am a lighting designer, and so my job depends on making lighting that looks great. However, it is not always what is wanted or needed. Before running out and just buying colored lights, you need to ask the big question – “Why?”.
I recently lit a black-tie awards show in just white, simple lighting.
Why did I do that, when I had moving lights, LED’s and conventionals to use?
Because it matched the theme of the event, and it’s exactly what my client wanted.
How does colored lighting, or any new lighting, fit into the plan that you have for your ministry or venue? What are you trying to communicate that this will accomplish?
Are you trying to remove distractions by dimming the house and stage lighting? Are you desiring to use color to communicate the emotion of the song that the band is playing?
Does this fit the overall vision that your church has for their ministry?
If the answers to these questions lead to you desiring to purchase new lighting- go ahead and explore your options! Be sure to be intentional with comparing products, arranging demos or rentals, and figuring out how to interface new equipment with your current system.
However, if you can’t directly correlate your lighting wants into the overall vision of your ministry, I urge you to reconsider your plans, and make sure that the focus of your ministry or venue is staying on the vision laid out by your leadership, so that you don’t regret it later!
I’m not trying to talk you out of creating interesting lighting, I just want to make sure you have a reason before you buy. If you simply add colored lights without a focused reason, it’s not going to do a lot for your lighting!
How Do I add Colored Lights?
Depending on your current setup, adding colored lights may be simple, or require the advice and help of a installation company. However, there are many colored lighting improvements that you can make on your own, without touching rigging or high-voltage power.
If you have extra fixtures above or on your stage, you can buy colored gel for your lights and simply install it in the front gel frame. This is the cheapest way to add color to your stage.
If you don’t have extra fixtures, I would suggest investing in inexpensive, quality LED lighting fixtures.
In the long run, these will cost considerably less than conventional fixtures after factoring in heat output, flexibility and the cost of replacing gels. Read more in my LED buying guide here if you’re interested. These units are also very flexible in that they have feet for floor standing and holes for clamp hanging.
Once you do get some colored lights into your system – here’s my complete guide to using color in your lighting!