I have been thinking about shape a lot lately. I am trying to introduce more organic shapes into my design. I was looking at this tall vase full of branches in my living room the other day and was inspired by the lines against the art. I started photographing the branches and came up with a great image that really is inspiring me. I love the shallow depth of field that leaves some branches blurry and some crisp.
What’s inspiring you?
Church Solutions Group recently partnered with Orchard Hill Church in the Pittsburgh, PA area. We just completed a video upgrade in the main auditorium. Orchard Hill has held off upgrading the technology in the room and focused on developing the community areas of their facility. This means no LED fixtures on the main stage… NO LED FIXTURES! You don’t realize how accustom you have become to working with certain type of fixture until you don’t have them. This created several hurdles. first is heat, most of my set designs do not take heat very well. Using conventional fixtures caused us to consider how the heat would affect the set. Next is the ability to change the color of the light. Fortunately Orchard Hill had a healthy collection of color scrollers to for us to use. They do plan on upgrading to LED fixtures soon so we designed with that in mind.
The space is very tall (40’), your eye was naturally drawn up to the top of the space. We needed to design so that your attention was focused in and down. We designed a series of 8 – 4’ wide towers that varied in height. The varied height of the towers creates an arc shape that builds to the top of the center screen (22’). We also used the cross bracing to create a line that builds across the stage to contribute to the arc. This keeps your eye focused down and to the center of the stage. The tallest towers were 18’ tall which seems tall for their purpose of focusing your attention down but the height was necessary to make them translate in the space.
We also wanted to introduce a organic curved pattern into the space. To accomplish this we used PVC pipe behind the coroplast to create the curved patterns. We simply used drywall screws and the tension of the PVC kept the pipe in place.
I had a great experience working with the team at Orchard hills, and look forward to see how they use and transform this set in the future.
I finally made it out to Kearney eFree Church in Kearney, NE to install a set in their new building. I really wanted to explore some different shapes in the design. We stuck to the basic tower design that provides freedom of movement around the stage and easily moves off stage for events where the stage needs to be cleared. I drew the shape in illustrator and then projected it onto the MDF and traced the shapes. We had challenges because we were using a short throw projector that distorted the image. It took way more time to get it positioned correctly than I thought it would. The center tower is 16’ tall by 4’ wide and the side towers are 13’ tall by 4’ wide. To achieve this height the curved sections were created using two sections of MDF. We cut out four matching sections for each leg of the tower and sandwiched 24” sections of 2X4’s between the sheets of MDF to connect the sections together. The large dowel rods were placed to connect the two sections. We weaved the clear coroplast between the dowel rods. We hung 3 bare bulb fixtures from the top piece of dowel. The towers were washed with two LED fixtures one from the front and one from the back. The shapes seem to defy gravity but are very stable. I had a great time working with Kelly Gubser and his team to bring this project to life.
As the rest of the world looks back in memory this weekend, I think back to the many hours preparing memorials over the last decade. The many hours sifting thru footage, having to walk away because I could not take in any more, and sitting in the edit suite with my face in my hands as tears stained your face.
By the time my 9-11 memorial video played and hundreds were wiping tears from their face, I was numb to the effect of the imagery and the sounds. My heart beating fast, I glanced around the darkened room and saw the light from the video screens reflect in the glistening tears on peoples faces. Each processing the moment for themselves.
Years had passed and, unfortunately, a numbness had set in to the disturbing footage. So for the 5th anniversary, I told a story of hope.
This is that video.
Spring lake Wesleyan in Spring Lake, MI brought Church Solutions Group in to upgrade their main auditorium. They are a growing church that is going multi-site. This was extensive remodel of the interior space as well as the technology. This transitioned them form a very traditional space with pews to a modern space that focuses peoples attention on the speaker instead of the space it’s self
After talking to the team about their desired use of the space I designed a pipe grid (usually mounted above the stage or studio space) that was mounted vertically on the back wall. They often used truss placed around the stage to mount lighting, large printed images, and other set elements. The grid provided a versatile structure for them to attach elements to.
I sat down with their worship and tech team and talked thru several design options for their set. We landed on a design that would utilize 2 X 4’s pained gray attached with conduit clamps to the grid. We unwashed the structure with 5 PAR56 LED fixtures with diffusion and 8 PAR36 fixtures without diffusion from the floor. We also used three 6” fresnels mounted at the top of the grid washing the structure from straight above. This provided the versatility to go from a polished look to a very raw look.
It was a great experience working with Chip Bos and his team to make this set come alive.
A collection of set designs
Have you ever had a need to divide a classroom into different sections? Church Solutions Group is working with a church in southern Illinois that had large classrooms that they needed to divide into different sections. We used these bookcases from IKEA to create useful, cost effective dividers in the rooms. The units are anchored to the the wall and to each other to provide stability. There is also a large variety of options in the line so they are very versatile units.
On August 4th 2008 I captured this image of Lightning striking the Sears Tower. That night two major storms rolled thru Chicago this was just before the second wave hit.
Today I ran across this video on Vimeo that Craig Shimala shot the same night. At 1:25 the footage is of the same strike.
Here is another video project I did thru Church Solutions Group for Salem Fields Community Church. This is a series of conversation videos that encourage people just to have conversations with people you encounter on a daily basis. Conversation for the sake of valuing them as a person and not to try to convince them of your view point.
One year ago today we laid my Grandmother to rest.
One year later…
In many ways it feels like the wound of loss is healed.
Yet it is just as fresh as it was one year ago.
Few moments pass that I am not reminded of her.
Her love for her family.
Her love for her friends.
Her love for flowers.
Her love for life.
A couple months ago I was on a train. A few seats ahead of me was a group of older women. They were a group of friends headed to a flower show. They so reminded me of her and her friends, and her love for flowers. I sat on the train with the strangers around me and was unable to hide my emotions. I wiped my eyes and looked out the window. I used all my will power to regain control, but my attempts were futile. I just hid my face the best I could. When I got off the train it only got worse. I was walking in the cold winter air sobbing uncontrollably. The tears felt like they were freezing as they slipped down my cheek. After several failed attempts of trying to reach my wife, I called my mother. After the soft tone of her hello I proceeded to tell her the story through the raw emotion of the moment. Barely able to speak, and with a tear streaked face, I told her the story. I had to tell someone; it seemed the only way to bring the unbridled emotion back into control. I pulled the phone away from my ear and pressed the tear soaked end button. And with that I was able to dry the freezing tears from my face and continue to my office.
There is something comforting knowing that the pain of loosing someone you loved is still so fresh. To me it means their memories are still part of your every day life. It also means that life is even more precious.
My thoughts on processing grief in the moment.