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Raising the Bar

At the Summit Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, we wanted an amazing stage design but didn’t want to spend a bunch of money just for something cool. So between a year or so of planning and quite a few sketches, I finally settled on the approach I wanted to take. Check out the pictures below. This stage was a result of online shopping, LED technology, do-it-yourself construction, and much experimenting…all for a very cheap cost. I’ve linked up some of the coolest things I discovered while designing the stage that might save you some money too.

The premise of the stage is the central projection screen, where we project all of our lyrics and teaching notes over video backgrounds. The side panels then stretch the color around to give it a more surrounding image. It’s a pretty simple and effective way to provide life on the stage without investing in expensive intelligent lighting and fogging up the room.

Software:
ProPresenter
Freestyler DMX (Free Program)

Technology:
LED Par Cans
LED Panels
DMX Interface (For Freestyler)

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48 responses to Raising the Bar

  1. Great set! Do your Par Cans have 1 watt or 3 watt diodes? I’m thinking of using this design but I want the effect to work in full service lighting.

    • I definitely don’t recommend these for you. I checked out the website and they are 10mm / .06 Watts per LED…probably way too dim for your application.

  2. Awesome set. Love the design. Did you purchase the white side panels? Is so where?

    Thanks

  3. I need help designing my stage but not so big and high send me an email

  4. Can you tell me how you attached the fabric to the panels? We have similar frames at our church that we have used that are currently covered with press board. We want to remove it and use the spandex instead. It looks like you stapled it. Would you recommend that?

    • Hi Beth! At first we tried to duck tape the spandex to the panels…fail.

      Finally we got some strips of wood, and metal-screwed them to the back of the panels (since they were steal), then stapled the spandex. It's pretty ghetto looking from the back…and there are occasional spandex curls that you can see from the front…but that was the best way we knew to attach the spandex. If I had to do it over…I probably would have used coroplast instead of spandex…even though their would be a slight seem where the pieces joined together. The spandex is still see-through even after three layers.

  5. I love this design! Im thinking about doing the same kind of thing at my church and i was wondering, how do you get the panels to stand up straight? did you mount them to the floor or put braces behind them?

  6. This setup looks great. How did you attach the spandex to the frames? Where do you get that much spandex?

  7. Thanks for showing the stage up close!! it really helped. I am so glad that I found this, I was planning to do something very similar and now I know what it will look like and how to set it up. Thanks!!!! I do have one question, what are the sizes of the panels you made?

  8. Jonathan,
    I was wondering if you could send me your stage sketch or anything that breaks down the total equipment you used for your stage design as far as lighting and what other things you need with freestyler. I are going to try a stage design using led lights, boxes and freestyler, but nobody in our church is familiar with lighting. Anything you could email me or help out with to feeds@aroundc3.com would be GREATLY appreciated.

    Thanks

  9. Hey… what kind of spandex did you buy?

  10. How much spandex did you get?

    • Hey Chris. Sorry the long time to respond. We basically got enough spandex to cover each frame twice. The frames are
      3×7, 3×9, 3×11, and 3×13. Then the screen is 16×9.

      We cut the material to those exact dimensions…and that gave us enough to stretch around to the back. Hope that helps!

  11. This site has been so helpful, thanks so much! I am looking at doing this design in our student chapel, and was wondering if wood frames would work? Am sure you had alot of trial and error before you found out what worked best. Also, do you know what the total cost was for the stage design was? Doing some pricing , but want to make sure my quotes are good.

    • Hi Manny! We were thinking of using wooden framed…but because it was a more permanent installation we were worried about the wood warping…especially with something stretched over it. That's why we opted for steel frames.

      I have no idea what the total cost was…but I'm sure if you order from RoseBrand you'll be fine on price. The lights were our largest expenditure.

  12. Did you guys use a USB dongle to control your lights via freestyler? If so, what brand and has it been reliable? Many thanks for your answer!

    Chris

  13. Great stage design. Thats exactly what im trying to do at our church but in a much smaller scale. What type of led can did you use and where did you buy them from? I’m new to this so all the help i can get will be appreciated.

    • Jonathan Malm July 13, 2011 at 7:54 am

      Hey Valentin! We used the par cans linked up at the bottom of the article. I think they’re ColorKey. We used those for every bit of LED lighting. You’re welcome to make a quick trip up to Corpus to tour the place. I’ll give you all the inside scoop. :)

  14. Im over in Laredo. I also saw on your website you guys had some sort of light on the side walls of the church. What did you use there?

  15. Hey, were looking o do a large screen like you have. What size is it? Do you have any projector suggestions to for under $1500 to get the job done? I found one that has a 16:10 AR, but not sure how it will workout with a 16:9 screen. We’d like to just buy the material and build our own screen.

    • Check out some stuff on B&HPhoto. BenQ might be a good option. Not exactly the professional’s choice but they’re inexpensive. :)

  16. Hey i need some help with something i think is very simple for you. I cant find out how to set the dmx control to different channel. Can you send me an e-mail so i can call you.

  17. really great ideas for all…!!!
    they’re really helpful..

  18. nice stage design. I am just wondering if what type of projection screen you used? Is it a rear projection screen or the frontal? because I am looking for a fabric for the rear projection screen and maybe the spandex fabric might works. Thanks a lot.

    • We built the projection screen from Spandex. It is pretty translucent so you could do rear projection…but i wouldn’t recommend it. You’d probably want to get a real rear projection screen.

  19. Thanks Jonathan. I just bought the Enttec USB to DMX interface. Was excited to hook it up to our Chauvet colorstrips tonight at church, but it turns out all I have is 3 pin DMX cables and that box requires 5 pin! Ack. Hopefully guitar center will have the adapter required…

    • Hmmm…I don’t remember if the interface I had was 3 or 5…I think it was 3 pin…I ordered a 3 to 5 pin adapter from a lighting company…I’m sure you can find one.

  20. Hey…looks really good. We have just installed our led lights and I’m curious on how well freestyle dmx works. Have you had any issues? Are you running on win7 ?

    • I love Freestyle DMX. Never had a problem with it. We run it on Vista…I had to do some odd setup things…but other than that it works great. :)

  21. the link to the par cans is no longer valid can you send me a valid link? would LED PAR 38 Cans work of to they need to be Par 56 or 64?

  22. I see that your middle screen has a projector for designs and abstract art. Is it also used to project “live” services?

  23. It’s very effortless to find out any matter on web as compared to books, as I found this post at this website.

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