Color is the New Stained Glass

by | Lighting, Production

In the previous installment, we reviewed Non-Church-Related events, the third benefit of the “Five Benefits of Immersive Color in the House of Worship”. This week we discuss the history of using colored glass to tell stories in churches, and how technology can aid that today.

Stained glass is a classic means of telling a story or depicting a scene. One of the most breathtaking examples is in Barcelona, Spain, at the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia designed by Antoni Gaudi in 1883. On a clear day, sunlight enters the cathedral at varying angles through numerous panes of perfectly placed stained glass, washing the entire Nave in a rich, saturated color for a period of time. As beautiful as stained glass can be, it relies on natural sunlight for illumination, which yields varying results. On clear, bright days when the sun is high in the sky, the colors of the stained glass can be magnificent, but on overcast days and at night, they are less spectacular. Supplementing natural light with artificial backlight ensures that the beauty of the stained glass is always available regardless of environmental conditions. Fixtures like the Chroma-Q Color Force II 12, 48, and 72, and the Chroma-Q Inspire are ideal for washing large surfaces with colored or white light. 

It’s also possible to re-create the look of stained glass without the costly colored glass by using projection and colored gobos. PROLIGHTS EclProfile FS fixtures are available with HQ glass lens tubes in 14ᴼ, 19ᴼ, 26ᴼ, 36ᴼ, and 50ᴼ, and high-resolution dichroic gobos can be inserted in the gate to project beautiful images of stained glass. An EclProfile FS with a 14ᴼ HQ glass lens tube produces a 10-foot image at a throw of about 40 feet, while a fixture with a 50ᴼ HQ glass lens tube produces a 7-foot image with a throw of about 12 feet.

As early as the 19th century and before, artists and architects like Gaudi knew that abstract, immersive color could beautifully tell a story and create an engaging environment in the sanctuary for centuries to come. With today’s LED tools, we can now tell the story using color-changing light and projection at the push of a button. We can create an environment that connects people to the space and to a story using lighting technology that is convenient and effective.

Next: Bi-directional engagement…

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