Nick Chang has been overseeing lighting for services and other events at Church of the City in Nashville since 2020 and again handled lighting programming and direction for five Christmas services this past December. Employing Elation's Artiste Mondrian LED profile FX luminaire on the worship services, Nick hid the multi-functional moving heads behind a blow-through LED wall to create a variety of impactful and unexpectedly striking lighting scenes. Production and lighting design was by Jori Johnson.
Increased production value
Held in a 3000-seat auditorium at Church of the City's main campus in Franklin, Tennessee, this year's services featured an increased production value, including a dedicated producer (Tommee Profitt) and expanded lighting design.
At Nick's disposal were 32 Artiste Mondrian luminaires rented through 4Wall Nashville. "Previous years were more traditional so it was exciting to see that we could do more on this year's production," Nick stated. "I wanted a fixture that could shoot through a blow-through LED wall and not lose any intensity with gobos or when projecting saturated colors like red or blue. The Mondrians did a great job and played the biggest role in the service. The whole church was super impressed and I was too."
Nick knew what he was getting with the Artiste Mondrian as he had used them on Church of the City's 2021 Christmas services as well. "I found then that they were really versatile and did all roles very well," he said. The Artiste Mondrian is a high-impact fixture that produces over 51,000 lumens of power. It houses a full design package that includes two gobo wheels, animation, and Elation's 7-flag SpectraColor color mixing system.
Hidden behind LED wall
Sixteen Mondrians along with strobe lights were positioned upstage on two trusses and hidden behind an 8mm blow-through LED video wall. In front of the large blow-through wall was a large ego riser on which a 40-piece orchestra played. Fronting the riser was another 8mm blow-through wall with strobes behind. Moo TV was the vendor for the video walls. "The Mondrians were completely hidden and super impactful," Nick says. "We used them anywhere from gobos to beams but got different looks every time. They didn't lose intensity at all."
Something new for every song
Nick was very intentional about how he used the Mondrians and changed them up during black outs. He explains how he introduced the audience to the lights. "For the first song, I had them super low with just some color shooting through the wall. Then at the end, when the orchestra really gets playing, I snapped the Mondrians into a beam look, shooting all around the room in blue and white. That was probably the biggest highlight moment because with the fixtures hidden behind the wall, no one saw it coming."
For a slower second song, Nick transitioned the Mondrians to shoot gobos through the wall and out to the audience. "You could always here the 'whoa!' from the crowd when that would happen," he said. "Whenever the Mondrians blew through the wall, because we were doing it differently each time, nobody could tell that it was the same fixture." For the third song, the Mondrians again transitioned, this time zoomed out to its full 45° to wash the audience in color and white light for camera.
"With many other fixtures, you would lose intensity coming through the wall and you'd be able to tell that it was one fixture but the Mondrians, being able to switch up the different features, it really added something new for every single song," Nick stated. The Mondrians played other unique roles as well, such as projecting gobos onto the video wall when it was not running content, or incorporating gobos in with "starry" video content to add even more depth and make the stage pop.
An additional 16 Mondrians worked from out in the house, at 20-foot trims, and were used for audience camera light to more intentional looks. "I was very impressed with how bright they are. Even for camera, I was only running them at 15 - 20 %," Nick said, adding that he also used the house Mondrians to sweep gobos across the audience or splay big beams around the room as during the aforementioned highlight moment.
Nick says that, like last year, he was again impressed with the Mondrian's SpectraColor color mixing, a proprietary 7-flag system that combines CMY with seamlessly adjustable RGB flags and variable CTO. "The saturated blues and reds we got out of them were great. With a lot of fixtures you'll lose some of that color after 40 or 50 feet but not with these." Additional to the lighting package were 10 Elation Artiste Van Gogh framing wash fixtures used as key light, along with other wash and spot fixtures.
Nick reports that the church was thrilled with the larger production and that people came up afterwards to complement the service, some even asking about the lights behind the LED wall. "That was something different than what we're used to in a traditional Sunday service for sure."
Damon Herbert: 4Wall Account Manager
Ryan Hodge: 4Wall Lighting Technician
Tim Reed: 4Wall Video Technician
Photos: Mehgan Heaton