New Creation Church gets new HD lighting system
SINGAPORE: Lighting consultant and trainer Seah Hong Gim Eugene recently completed a project for New Creation Church (NCC) at The Star Theatre, Singapore, which saw the church invest in a brand new HD lighting system for its weekly service and its related programmes.
The management wanted to strive for the best video quality possible as the recorded programmes would be sent to the US and other countries for broadcast to millions of worshippers.
NCC appointed Mr Seah as the lighting consultant for the 5,000 capacity theatre. This was due to his successful lighting upgrade project at the Rock Auditorium at Suntec City. ‘It was quite a shock to me as the project is of huge scale,’ said Mr Seah.
‘Therefore I had a limited time frame for the pre-planning stages. Due to the theatre’s scale, I knew it would be tough for me to work alone,’ he admitted. ‘So I appointed two assistants to help me.’ These were David Creigh from the US, who assisted with planning the moving lights and operating the new MA Lighting MA2 console, and lighting designer Lok Eng Keat, who helped with planning the audience lighting and set focus.
‘Our eyes are able to handle a large contrast ratio, for instance 1000:1, but a TV sensor can normally handle 128:1,’ Mr Seah explained. ‘Hence, TV lighting has to work within a limited contrast range. In TV lighting, the ideal vertical angle for portraiture should be between 20-30 degrees. From the structural drawing, I found that the height of the catwalk was at 21m. If I were to rig the light there, the key light angle would be more than 60 degrees. At that steep angle, the portraiture would be unacceptable.’
In order to rig the light at the appropriate angle, Mr Seah requested a motorised hoist so that the lights could be lowered. ‘My suggestion was welcomed,’ he said. ‘I planned a total of nine hoists to be suspended from catwalk one to catwalk four, which would be used as key lights for the pastor, seven singers and the choir situated at the left and right sides of the stage.’
Owing to the long throw from the hoist to the main subjects, Mr Seah planned for the church to install a total of 33 Arri Group T5 5,000W Fresnels. ‘I used ETC Source 4 (14-19 degrees) luminaries to light other subjects which were within a shorter throw.’
The lights for the pastor are situated 17m away, leading Mr Seah to set the beam to 55 per cent spot mode so as to increase its Lux level. ‘I managed to achieve between 550-630 Lux which was good enough for cameras to operate at F/4,’ he added. ‘At that distance, its beam width was about 4.2m which is wide enough for the pastor to walk within a fixed distance and preach without any noticeable drop in Lux level.’
Set designer Patrick Larsen then suggested using three 29m long by 13m high portals situated at the front, mid and rear of the stage to create the depth needed for TV.
‘Lighting the portals was a big challenge for me,’ said Mr Seah. ‘The traditional tungsten CYC light source has to be 2.5m away but the stage structure did not allow me to have that luxury. I went through many lighting catalogues and finally found an LED model from DTS – the FOS 100 Power RGBW. These units only need a small gap of 30mm and are able to spread the beam evenly.’ In total, 83 units were installed from the trusses and 32 on the floor level. They light the portals evenly and also create various types of effects. ‘I was very pleased with the FOS 100,' said Mr Seah.
Additional TV lighting for the audience was added in the form of 55 ETC Profile Spot Source 4 lights, which were chosen to create high contrast with pools of brightness and darkness. This also increased the illusion of depth for TV. In addition, 50 moving lights from the inventory were utilised, comprised of 25 wash and 25 spot mode fixtures.
‘With good TV lighting, scenic design and 12 HDTV cameras, I am pleased that the video quality of NCC's production is of a high standard,’ enthused Mr Seah. ‘It was a great honour to design the HD lighting for NCC. Now, my work is viewed by millions of worshippers in other parts of the world.’