CRYSTAL LAKE, IL – As one of the lighting designers at a dynamic and active house of worship, Nic Vazquez is accustomed to creating live production designs. It’s something he helps facilitate every week at Willow Crystal Lake. Recently, Vazquez had to dig especially deep into this well of experience, when he had to adopt a different mindset by lighting the church’s first all-acoustic service in its new building.
“We’ve always done more anthemic style experiences, where I build visual momentum around the intensity of the music,” said Vazquez. “However, with the acoustic sets, I didn’t have the same musical builds. Instead I had to center the design around long cue times, gradual color shifts, and more subtle details to allow the lighting to accentuate the music.”
Vasquez met this challenge in flying colors (quite literally) with help from an extensive collection of CHAUVET Professional fixtures. His rig for the acoustic service featured Maverick MK2 Spot, Rogue R3 Wash, Rogue R2 Spot and Next NXT-1 fixtures as well as COLORado par units and COLORado Batten 72 Tours.
Flying four MK2 Spots on the proscenium beam and four on trusses between the side and center screens, he has them fill a variety or roles including back lighting, layering and soft patterned beam effects. Drawing on the gobo capabilities of the 440W LED fixtures, he also relies on them to add depth to the stage.
The Rogue R3 Wash fixtures in his rig were also flown on the proscenium beam. “These fixtures become much more than a wash,” said Vazquez. “Using the macros and “virtual gobos” creates eye-candy and drives momentum during worship. Being able to have a single center LED zone and creating a small shaft of light that can match some of our other fixtures also adds a lot of functionality.”
To make his rig better able to reflect the nuanced moods of acoustic music, Vazquez arranged ten Rogue R2 Spots across the stage deck. Positioned at different heights, the 240W LED movers are used to create a variety of different environments, contributing to a greater sense of intimacy one moment by making the stage seem smaller, then pumping up the excitement level the next with aerial effects.
Also adding energy to the stage are the eight Next NXT-1 fixtures spaced on angled truss on the floor. “The Next NXT-1 fixtures are really fun — and the ways we can use them feel endless,” said Vazquez. “From serving as a wash unit, to creating any pattern in a 5×5 grid, these fixtures have added a different level of creativity to our platform. We love the flexibility and the cohesion of the different looks we can get from them, either on their own or paired with another fixture set, such as the Rogue R2s.”
Vazquez also counts on a mix of 15 COLORado Pars and 16 COLORado Batten 72 Tour fixtures to support his lighting design. He uses ten of the batten units as a fill light behind the performers. The remaining fixtures are placed vertically to provide a similar effect to build intensity and color, creating momentum on stage.
Although it is different from his anthemic style experiences, the new Willow Crystal Lake acoustic service serves the same purpose, according to Vazquez. “Our worship culture or style is typically very driving and anthemic,” he said.. “The acoustic sets create a musical “breath” from our usual style, building on the idea that we’ve taken our congregation on a retreat and everyone is around a campfire. In the end, our design serves the same purpose: to engage worshippers.”