Circles … and more Circles

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Stage Design is an often overlooked, but important element to set tone and add to the worship experience. Philosophically at The Crossing, we have moved away from the “themed” stage sets and do more intense sets on a less frequent basis. In other words, we go big and then leave it in place for a longer period of time.

Normally this happens as we head towards big weekends like Easter. That is the case with our current set.

Our process has evolved and become much more complex in all the moving parts.

Basic Stage Set Process (From Concept To Execution)

  1. Idea and Concept Conversation (6-8 weeks prior)
  2. Conceptual Plan Plan Drawn (6 weeks prior)
  3. Tech Leads Contribute and Weigh In (lighting, video, audio, music) 
  4. Plan finalized.
  5. Material List Compiled and Ordered (4 weeks prior)
  6. Pre-work/fabrication (if needed 2-3 weeks prior)
  7. Stage Strike (1 week prior)
  8. On site Fabrication (1-2 weeks prior)
  9. Set Install (Monday- Tuesday week of)
  10. Lighting Install (Wed week of)
  11. Audio / Music Reset (Wed/Thurs week of)

We are currently in projection mode which means we love the ability to use our high lumens center projector to environmentally project on areas of our set. As well our feeling was it was time to go circles. Yes, circles. So that’s where the concept came from.

One Note: Two years ago we were “gifted” two oval wide format screens from a local trade show. We affectionately call it “The Womb” because when hung by motors and lowered to the stage deck it creates a surround video feel. Our decision was again to use this and to be able to motor up and down depending upon elements of the service.

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(This image shows the screen in the down position)

Here are the early concept drawings:

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Explanation:

  • The colors correspond to the surfaces that would be added to each ring. Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 3.16.44 PM.png
  • The white circles were designed for projection to carry our center screen projection onto those outliers via Propresenter and masking. However, you will see in the finished pics that during the install we made the decision to move those rings underneath the screen when it was in the raised position.
  • What we called “Art Piece” are down stage left and right, are constructed with bases and sit on the stage deck.
  • Our lighting team designed a system that used cat5 to run control power from four central brains to each of the circle systems. This allowed separate control of each ring and simplified that cable runs tremendously. Yes, there were still tons of cables but were minimized.

Prefabrication:

  • A “fireman” / welder in our church took on the task of welding each set piece together. This was done over a number of days and then delivered to the church.

rings3.jpg(Stage Art Pieces)

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Once they arrived on site, a large team of volunteers painstakingly began the process of adding both the specific surface as well as the led tape. This was a slow go as the steel did not receive the LED adhesive well. 3-4 days later…mission accomplished. This was completed the week prior to installation and all of the leds were tested while on the ground.

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And then the install began.

We were VERY pleased with the final result.

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KEY THOUGHTS:

  • The larger and more complex the set project, the more time and people you need to execute. Be prepared.
  • We struck our previous stage a week ahead of when we needed access. This gave us margin to finalize our fabrication and begin install immediately the week of without having to navigate the previous set. Small thing… but huge to us.
  • There are people within your church who WANT, NEED, and CAN contribute to projects like this. And most of them have skills that normally will not be used in a church. They may even feel like their gifts are not relevant. Guess what? They are. We used our welding dude and our electrician dude (to solve our LED challenge).
  • Even with foresight, a concept and pre-work, there will be shifts that need to happen on the fly. Be prepared to make those changes as they WILL happen no matter what in order for the set to be most effective.
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“Mom is the Bomb”… Mother’s Day

momcover.jpgAlways a big day on a typical church calendar, it’s essential that we don’t ignore the power of this holiday to leverage the impact. And it’s always a significant thing to honor and celebrate the ladies. Let’s speak to the cynical…

It’s easy to view this weekend and grab hold of the cynical. Do so at your own risk. This is one of those moments that if you “take a stand” or choose to avoid the significance of the day, you will miss an opportunity. So let’s not miss it.

Our theme this year came together rather late in our process. We spotted some inspiration at our local “lush” store and went with the “bomb” branding. All of it came together within a few hours.

  1. My Mom’s The Bomb branding and invites. We wanted to give everyone a heads up to actually use the day to invite mom. So our graphics team quickly developed a look and we went to print in time for the prior Sunday.
  2. Social media channels were all fired up to capture this day and promote leading up.
  3. Our awesome Admin found a bath bomb distributor and within a short time we had 2500 bath bombs with custom labels shipped to us to arrive in prior of time.
  4. Photo areas are not unique. However, we designed signs specific to our theme and choose color schemes to match.

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Bonus: These photos were then quickly turned into a background loop that was used in the performance of the Meghan Trainor song, “Mom is the Bomb”. People loved the photos and loved seeing themselves up on the big screen. Our team definitely had to scramble to create the loop in time for the moment prior to our first service.  It was worth all the effort.

The day was a win overall and all the elements seamlessly worked together.

We see these “big” days as opportunity, not a burden. Lean in and it can build some momentum for your weekends.

 

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