DURHAM – With its crisp, glimmering lines broken up by the occasional geometric pattern, the new Capital Hills main campus of Summit Church looks right at home in North Carolina’s famed “Research Triangle,” which is routinely ranked as one of the most tech-savvy areas in the United States.
The high-tech impression conveyed by the building’s sleek exterior is only the beginning. Once inside the 90,064 square foot house of worship, the visitor is greeted by a welcoming and engaging environment created with help from an advanced AVL system engineered and installed by the CSD Group that features an immersive 360° sound system, massive video walls, and a state-of-the art LED lighting system anchored by close to 100 CHAUVET Professional fixtures and two Net X II nodes.
Opened in 2019, the new building serves as Summit Church’s broadcast center. Services from its 1,800-seat worship area are live streamed to the church’s nine other campus in the Research Triangle. Accurate, precisely controlled key lighting and color temperatures are critical to maintaining high quality broadcast standards for the church’s sophisticated audience, which is why the CSD Group paid careful attention to stage lighting.
“Quality of lighting for video was essential,” said David McCauley of CSD Group. “The church attracts 10,000 worshippers weekly mostly in its satellite campuses. No one wanted to distract from services with lighting that didn’t look absolutely correct on the live steam videos.”
The CSD team positioned 29 Ovation E-160WW ellipsoidal fixtures with 26° lens tubes, 18- Ovation P-56FC par units and 26 Ovation F-915FC full color Fresnels around the stage. “We have most of the ellipsoidals arranged in groups of three across the stage as front lights, then have some stage left and right,” said McCauley. “There are pars across the entire stage for fill ins. We also have Ovation units as top and back lights. They’re used to colorize the stage. The realistic, deeply saturated colors that they produce come off very well on video.”
Playing a critical role in the Summit Church lighting system are 12 Maverick MK1 Spot and 10- Maverick MK2 Wash fixtures. These moving fixtures perform a variety of functions at the church, from contributing to stage lighting, to creating aerial effects and specials for concerts and events.
“The Maverick Spots serve a dual purpose,” said McCauley. “We have some on the front bars for spots and specials, particularly with their gobos. Then we have some on the floor for uplight effects. Our Maverick Wash fixtures work great as general top and back lighting, as well as for specials.”
Not long ago, it was unusual to have 22 moving fixtures in a house of worship, but McCauley notes that movers have assumed a more important role in contemporary church lighting systems. “More and More we are seeing the value of movers in opening new possibilities by giving us the ability to change positions on the fly, and to catch specials without having to get the lift out and re- focus a section of lights,” he said. “This balance of moving and static lighting gives us many more options. They make the lighting process less confining.”
Expanding options and removing design restrictions are critical to helping church lighting reach its full potential, according to McCauley. For proof, one needn’t look any further than the versatile contemporary system that CSD Group has created in the heart of the Research Triangle.