Deer in the Headlights

Matt Cooper at Barge Heights brings us this stage design for Southland Christian Church in Lexington, KY.

Matt’s a big fan of Jrags (16×16 self-dimming banks of MR-16 lamps)–which are everywhere in lighting design outside the church. Because they couldn’t afford to build enough to have the visual impact he envisioned, he went this route. He added bigger lamps with larger spacing.

For the build, wall sections were drawn and then built offsite using 1/2″ plywood and 1×4″ material to form the exterior of the frame. The faces were routed from 1/2″ MDF. Each face received (3) 8″ hardware store clamp lights and were secured with construction adhesive. Each wall section was installed edge to edge, across a pre-measured line on the stage deck to create the arc.

They lamped each reflector with a 75w mirror lamp to create the radiating circle look. Each lamp base assembly was wired to a terminal block, and then circuited to their self-build low wattage dimmers using zip cord.

To create the dimming capabilities, they used a hobbyist open source circuit board that is popular with DIY Christmas light display folks. Their staff, along with volunteers, soldered components on the board and tested each unit.

They delivered a separate universe of DMX to the mini-dimmers and then patched as a pixel mapped surface within their lighting desk. For programming, they shot video clips across the wall to create waves, wipes and bumps.

They hung clusters of two Source4 pars, a leko and either a Colormerge or BargeHeights 1200 profile on sch40 pipe, positioned at varied elevation to mirror the arc of the clamp light wall. Pars and lekos formed three separate systems of backlight. The flown Colormerge and BH profiles were used for aerials. They also placed a system of moving washes (Mac 600’s) upstage of the clamp light wall.

8 responses to Deer in the Headlights

  1. Very cool! I’ve been wanting to make some of those dimmers for myself, but haven’t found the time or money to do so yet.

    This is an awesome idea and I love the DIY aspect of it!


  2. I love this idea. How much did it cost to create?

  3. I love this look! Can you explain more what “For programming, they shot video clips across the wall…” means? How do you use a video to interface with the dmx signals?

    • Hey Ryan, a lot of lighting consoles have what’s called pixel mapping features. It allows you to load a video file into the console and it will “play” the video on the wall. They basically have a low-res screen (like 10×50 or something like that). The console is what is controlling it via DMX.

      Hope this helps!

  4. Assuming you got this idea from The Sing Off? Cool look!

  5. Love the concept! How long do plan on keeping this set-up in place? How much floor space does does the rig occupy?

  6. Love the idea. Could you post a video on the unit in action. Also, what circuit board did you use.


  7. Hey love the look! Where did you find the bulbs? All I can find is projector bulbs? I’m going with something similar, just on a much smaller scale and using the lamps as blinders..


Leave a Reply

Text formatting is available via select HTML.

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> 


Solve : *
26 − 23 =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.