Icon Media Transforms Church Sanctuary Using Elation Fuze Pendants

Audiovisual and lighting integrator Icon Media of Georgia is transforming a sanctuary space at Lighthouse Church in Ventura, California, from everyday to extraordinary and has used dynamic Fuze Pendant downlights from Elation Professional for the first phase of the project.

Wanting to address their sanctuary lighting before Easter, the church initiated a house lighting overhaul as the initial step in a larger refurbishment project that will entail audio, video and lighting. Icon Media, specialists in integrated systems for houses of worship and an Elation dealer, was contacted by church leadership and strategic planning consultant’s GrowMentum to handle the project.

With over 30 years of industry experience and the majority of their projects coming from HoW installations, Icon is uniquely positioned to understand the needs of the worship market. “We have a staff that understands the specific nuances of this market, how it operates and is structured,” states Icon Media President Brian Gore. “The HoW market requires a special approach, specific skills and sensitivities that you need to keep in mind and our experience at Icon has made us one of the front-runners. A lot of churches don’t have a full time technical staff so we help design around that and find a system that’s right for them.”

The company conducted a site survey at Lighthouse Church early in 2021 and consequently came up with a design proposal to modernize and upgrade the facility. The approximate 600-capacity worship space, a converted light industrial building, had a previous house lighting system that consisted of an array of 1000W scoop lights. Charlie Pike, project manager at Icon Media, says the old system was both poor quality and inefficient and that LED was the obvious solution. “Their house lighting was not only costly to run and maintain, the entire room was suffering because of it,” he says. “We modeled the room in design software, created photometric reports and eventually auditioned several house lighting fixtures. We found that the Fuze Pendant not only offered some of the best colors, especially in the white spectrum, but they were a perfect fit for the space while meeting the goals they wanted to achieve.”

Hung from ceiling joists across the room are 21 Fuze Pendants equipped with 50-degree lenses. Pike says they did a before and after comparison to show church leadership what they could expect and the results were telling. “Illuminance went from a previous average of about 9 ft candles to an average of about 50 ft candles across the room,” he says. “And power consumption dropped from about 16,000 watts to under 5000 watts and that’s if the Pendants are at full brightness, which they are not. They run them at about 50% for the walk in look for example, so the savings in power is even greater.” The Fuze Pendant, with its RGBWL LED engine, has a max power consumption of 230W while producing a fraction of the heat of a traditional halogen system. “It was a significant reduction in power consumption, which they are happy about.”

Although the drop in power consumption was something the church was happy about, the quality of the light and even coverage across the room is what really excited them. “When we first turned the system on they were blown away,” Pike shares. “One of the challenges when you commission a new house lighting system is getting the perfect coverage to fit the room and a lot of that credit goes to the Fuze Pendant fixture itself for being very high quality and well-engineered. Combined with the custom design, drafting, previz, etc. on our part, not to mention having the right resources in place, the first phase of the project was a great success.”

Today’s house lights have taken on a more flexible and increasingly important role as an integral part of a broader and more immersive lighting design impression. The fanless Fuze Pendant can colour temperature adjust and the fixture’s RGBWL colour-mixing system allows the church to add a decorative touch to activities or colour match with anything happening onstage. Brian Gore adds, “Lighthouse Church’s sanctuary is a multipurpose room for them and with the Pendant lighting they can easily change the feel and look of the space using warm white or cold white looks or any shade of colour. They don’t have to physically change the room to change the environment or cater to an event.” A variety of colour and colour temperature looks are easily accessed via a convenient wall-mounted touch panel.

On a light note of a different kind, one adverse effect of updating your house lighting can be what Pike calls “suddenly seeing the sins of the past,” meaning that church personnel could immediately see how dirty and worn their carpet had gotten! “As soon as the lights came on they knew it needed to be replaced,” he quips.

The house lighting upgrade at Lighthouse Church was installed by Icon in time for the Easter celebration and, according to Pike, was a smooth process. “The Fuze fixtures were perfect out of the box and needed no special attention. We just plugged them in and addressed them. No bugs and no tuning or colour calibration needed.” Icon worked with Elation manufacturers’ rep firm Freed Sales on the project. Plans for phase 2, also to be handled by Icon, will see an upgrade of the church’s broadcast capabilities, as well as new stage and key lighting.