LED Panels and Lighting Design: A Powerful Partnership

After attending WFX in Orlando last month… it confirmed for me that we are in a modern day gold rush of LED Video technologies. So many products are hitting the market, and the lowered cost has made integrating LED panels a possibility for many venues that would have never been able to in the past.

There have been some fair questions recently raised about how using LED inside a venue with controlled ambient lighting is overkill. I do agree that there are organizations that are installing cheap LED Panels when their venues would be better off integrating quality laser projection. Inside my venues that utilize LED – we do run the brightness of the panels at only 15-20% brightness, so why use LED when you are only utilizing a fifth of the potential output?

The answer: Negative Space

In lighting design… I heavily lean on the use of negative space in creating my most dynamic looks and it helps create depth and adds flexibility to the stage.

In recent years we’ve been alternating the look of our Christmas stages. We’ve been alternating between whimsical Christmas looks and more natural and abstract Christmas looks.

Here is 2015 when we recreated the iconic Santa Slide from ‘A Christmas Story’

Using a white cyc as the background to this set allowed for vibrant colors, and the snow allowed for some fun experimentation with texture. However – Programming against such a bright background and positive space really limited the dynamic range of the moving fixtures. That year we didn’t use any LED panels, but in retrospect – if I were to do this today… I would really enjoy blending the practical and digital together.

With this year’s concept being centered around light… I knew that we would want the lighting to have multiple layers and the possibility of contrast and depth.

This shows my favorite purpose of integrating LED into Light Design… LED can totally disappear into the black. Projection requires a screen or reflective surface, and that doesn’t go away when the projection goes to black. So much contrast and flexibility is added with LED, and allows for the lighting designer to not be as limited by traditional displays.

There are plenty of other benefits with LED in terms of color rendering and output. However, I just wanted to highlight my favorite benefit of the new technology.

A few more examples from this year:

Setting the Stage

When you are working with a concrete stage with a basic proscenium stage with no fly system… you have to get creative with your scenic elements. Textures and Lighting are the key driving factors for visual story.

Here is the same space in different settings:

To see some of the stages in action head over to my portfolio here.

8 Things I Learned from My Volunteers

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘It takes a village’ before. Usually that phrase is used in the context of raising kids; but when I hear that phrase… I think of the dozens of volunteers that it takes to make Crossroads happen on a weekly basis. Without these dedicated individuals we could not create the Crossroads Experience.

So in the spirit of recognizing the contribution of volunteers, I wanted to take a second to reflect on a few things that the volunteers who work with me have taught me along my journey.

1 – Discipleship is like training – you do it one step at a time:

We have volunteers who come from all sorts of backgrounds. Some have followed Jesus for decades – others are just beginning their faith journey. No matter where we are at in our walk with Christ – we can all be looking to take our next step in our relationship with Jesus.

2 – Volunteers need to feel needed and appreciated to be retained.

When was the last time you expressed how thankful you are for someone? I make sure to take time out each week to highlight and celebrate what our volunteers have done. Our production volunteers are also on the go much of Sunday morning… to accommodate the rapid pace of Sunday, I have introduced a grab-and-go breakfast area with a Nespresso. Taking care of our volunteers snack and coffee needs is just one small way we say thanks.

3 – Perfection isn’t the goal as much as individual and corporate growth.

I regularly step back and ask how I can help a volunteer grow. Is it a conversation over lunch, or reviewing Sunday morning footage with them? Each individual is different, so the evaluation process must be different and unique as well.

4 – Mistakes happen, but people are valuable.

In the non-stop nature of a weekend experience, it is much too easy to be curt or short when giving feedback. I always try and take a breath and process before giving direct feedback to a volunteer in the moment. This helps me to make sure I’m not coming off as angry or trying to cut them down in front of others.

5 – You never know what baggage someone is carrying around so always seek out ways to encourage and support.

An essential part of this is regularly praying for your volunteers. If God prompts you with a word of encouragement or a compliment… don’t hold that back and go ahead and share it. You never know when that person needs a pick me up.

6 – What’s Celebrated is Repeated

Casting a vision over and over again with tangible stories of how we are moving toward that vision is key to getting volunteers to come along for the ride, especially when you are changing “the way it’s always been done”

7 – Communication is Key

Who and why are more important than what and how. In other words, valuing the individual and communicating the reason for serving is more important than the details of what is being done or how it’s getting done. When you lose the who and the why, the what and the how won’t matter anymore.

8 – Encourage a Biblical model of rest

Faithful volunteers have servants hearts. It is easy to overwork them and under appreciate them. But it is essential for the long term life blood of the church for the servant leaders to also have somewhere they can get nourished to avoid running on empty.

Creating a healthy volunteer culture is a process. It doesn’t just happen overnight. What creative ways have you found to honor your volunteers? Share below in the comments!

GLS Baby!

Okay, remember when I said that we were hoping our baby girl would arrive the first part of August when she was due so she wouldn’t interrupt the Global Leadership Conference? Well, she had other plans.

Instead, our baby girl decided to come at 2:30 in the morning on the second day of the conference. Thankfully I had prepared back up plans and was available to troubleshoot long distance if needed.

Despite things not happening in our timing, we are still overwhelmed to have this little one in our arms and so thankful to Kelsie Hendricks Photography who captured the beautiful experience of Rachel working to bring this little girl into the world for us to treasure.

And a big shout out to the GLS community for recognizing this beautiful interruption to our regularly scheduled programming!

We’re Having a Baby, and It’s a…

So the news of our 2nd pregnancy hasn’t made it to the blog yet. Rachel is 20 weeks and we just had a quiet gender reveal with our parents on a Google Hangout call. But don’t worry, we video taped it so we could share with y’all too!

Click here to see the video on Facebook! 

And here’s a picture from the recent ultrasound of our sweet little one sleeping!

We are so excited of course to be preparing our hearts and our home to meet our baby girl. We expect her to arrive in early August, hopefully before the Global Leadership Conference I have been working so hard to prepare for- but of course I’m making backup arrangements in case!

First Taste of West Texas Life

So we arrived in the desert a little over a month ago and it has already been an adventure! We spent the first month in a corporate apartment living out of suitcases and managing groceries up and down the flight of stairs with a very young toddler. But I have to say that life here in West Texas is unlike life anywhere else we have lived.

Our mall is called ‘Music City Mall’ and there are performance stages located throughout… On a note about Texas culture there’s a full statue of the Ten Commandments in the middle of the mall with 2 rows of chairs beside it so you can contemplate them.

Apparently we moved to the land of jack rabbits… it’s easy to spot these adorable furry critters in the morning or right before dusk. Bodie loves to chase them on our walks. But as a tribute to the adorable indigenous critters, there are tons of these statues all around town.

Of course we expected that culture would be a little different here with almost half the population being Hispanic. But we weren’t prepared for some signage being in Spanish first. I guess we get to teach our little ones to be bilingual!

I know these are just a few things to share and they are sort of trivial, but I wanted to capture just a taste of our adjustment period we are going through. For the first little bit it has felt like a vacation without an end date. But the reality of our move halfway across the country to a land unlike any other is becoming increasingly real to us. We certainly are enjoying it here, but continue to pray for us as we get settled in and find our rhythm of life here.

On the church front, we’ve jumped in head first to Life at Crossroads. I’m helping them bring their vision to life of having a life size replica of the slide from the movie ‘A Christmas Story’ built on stage. In the midst of the major set construction project… I’ve been performing maintenance on our aging fleet of intelligent lights. Getting them ready for our upcoming Christmas Shows.

The Christian Family is headed west!

For the past 9 years I have had the privilege of calling beatiful Greenville, North Carolina home. Eastern North Carolina is a special place. I am reminded daily of why people from all across the country make their way here for vacations every year. The natural beauty and unique coastal living combined with the kind hearted and loving population makes this area so very special.

I do call Greenville ‘home’ because I have lived here longer than anywhere else in my life. It is where I went to college, it’s where I met Rachel, it’s where we adopted Bodie,  it’s where we bought our first house, and it’s where Daniel was born.

Greenville is also close to my family located throughout Eastern, NC – but I have two extended families here as well.

First – My Discovery Church family who adopted me over 8 years ago. We have laughed, cried, and celebrated God’s goodness as we’ve navigated life’s often difficult road. It is almost difficult to even comprehend all of the lives that I have seen impacted by Discovery these past 8 years. Every person who has been a part of the Discovery family over the years has had a significant impact on my life.

Second – My WNCT-TV family. The past few days have reminded me of the unique bond that is created amongst newsers. I think it is something about the crazy hours, extreme work environments, and endless deadlines that forms this special bond. It is a tough industry to work in because of the revolving door of people that pass through as they work to move beyond living under the poverty line by moving up a few markets. Over the past five years I have met some incredible people… many of which are working in top 25 markets having a major impact and are doing big things. I have learned so much over the years from these fine people. From the power of good writing to how to survive standing in the middle of a hurricane… these are all life lessons that I will draw from for the rest of my life.

Over the past few months our family has had an unexpected and exciting opportunity come up. Rachel and I have been talking with a great church in Odessa, Texas called Crossroads Fellowship about an opportunity that would allow me to combine my love of live event production and the local church into a new career.

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After flying down and meeting with the incredible team there… We fell in love with the church and the people of West Texas. So we made the difficult but exciting decision to join the Crossroads Team. I’ll start my new role as Multi-site Broadcast Production Manager on October 1st.

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With that date quickly approaching… our time in Greenville is quickly coming to a close. Mine and Rachel’s last day at work is September 11th, and that next week will start the move out west.

It has been a very emotional period as we have reflected on these great years here in Greenville, but we are trusting as God leads our family to Texas.

We have enlisted the help of our friends at the Homer Tyre Group in helping us make the transition by selling our house here in Greenville. Please share our listing with anyone who may be looking at purchasing a home in the Greenville area!
http://www.bestgreenvillenchomes.com/homes/4142-River-Chase-Drive/Greenville/NC/27858/54787624/