Michael Pagan designed and specified a new house lighting rig for Orangewood Church in Maitland, Florida, and used Elation’s energy-efficient Colour Pendant downlight to dramatically improve light quality while opening up for a number of new creative options.
The Presbyterian church in Orange County is affiliated with Orangewood Christian School and both church and school share a number of facilities, including a gymnasium, which, on Sundays, doubles as a sanctuary. The space housed an older system of incandescent lights originally designed to light sports and other school activities, a setup that proved increasingly unsatisfactory for the church’s needs.
Pagan, an independent lighting designer, works at the church part time programming lighting for Sunday services and events. He commented: “The coverage from the incandescent lights was really dark and blotchy throughout the house. Our Technical Director, Chris Russell, was approached by the team about what could be done and Chris and I worked on what solutions were available. Once we saw how much power we would save with LED, we knew that was the way to go!”
Thanks to their myriad of design possibilities, colour-changing and white-light-tunable pendant lights have revolutionized house and area lighting. They have particular benefits for a contemporary house of worship, especially when music is a key element of the service. “I wanted the worship experience for the congregation to feel more immersive and bring people into what is happening on stage,” Pagan said.
The lighting designer researched possible solutions and visited churches in the area with dynamic house lighting systems to see the impact first hand. He then contacted PRG and talked with company sales rep Martee Nuruddin. “He helped us look at solutions and demo products. We also did a comparative shootout and in the end the Colour Pendant came out on top.” Nuruddin, who unexpectedly passed away in April, was a great help throughout the whole process, Pagan says.
Thirty Colour Pendant units were installed in the Orangewood Church sanctuary and although the LD was initially concerned that the seat risers might look blotchy with hotspots, the unit’s uniform flat-field output and 41° beam spread (66° field angle) allayed any worries. “I like how smooth the beam is and there is no hotspot whatsoever. It worked out perfectly. I also like the saturation of the colours,” Pagan adds while referencing the fixture’s RGBW colour system. “Usually red is the weakest point on a fixture but the Colour Pendant produces a really nice red. The variable white also looks great for traditional house lighting.”
The colour system also allows the church to complement and colour match what is happening on stage whether it is a church service, musical performance or special event. “I’ve been able to match the house lights to all my other pre-existing colour palettes,” Pagan confirms. “The lighting rig isn’t large so this was also a way to add more colour-changing lighting to the show and gives me more options to play with.” When a dedicated lighting person is not available, church or school personnel can easily bring up a variety of colour and colour temperature looks on a preset panel.
Orangewood Christian School also benefits from the system when putting on plays and other shows. Technical Director Russell oversaw the install and according to Pagan is pleased with how power efficient the Colour Pendant’s are, a low 110W max power consumption per fixture.
Installed last November, the new dynamic house lighting system at Orangewood Church was used in white light only until Christmas services when colour was introduced as an evocative sign of the magic of the season. “Everybody loves them,” Pagan concludes. “The colour really adds to the services and the overall impact has been great. The seating area where the congregation sits was always the darkest and poorest lit area but now they can see their notes and books. The change has literally been night and day.”