Choosing Your Next Multiscreen Stage Design
There are literally thousands of stage designs in use at churches every single Sunday. From the most basic to the most extensive, each time you need to create a new environment, you have to begin somewhere. Where do you start? How do you choose your next multiscreen stage design? What materials do you need to consider? What tech changes do you need to be aware of or update in your environment? Are you going to utilize the technologies you already own or are you wanting to integrate something new? What’s the budget? What’s the story? What’s the vision?
As many stage design options as there are; there are almost as many questions to ask. Hopefully you don’t have to come up with a new design each week, but it’s more a monthly, quarterly, or yearly update. Regardless of your frequency, you need a system to evaluate, narrow down your options, and create a starting point for your next big idea.
Start with story. We have said it time and again, but your message needs to be stickier than your media. Regardless of the technology you have, budget you receive, or the size of your staff, if you don’t have an end goal in mind, then everything you do will be fruitless and frustrating. Most pastors have a pretty god idea of the sermon series and general flow of their upcoming messages for at least a couple months if not a year or more. I’ve heard of churches with multiple teaching pastors that have an 18 month plan. Crazy! All that to say, their is no excuse to not know where things are going in order for you to craft a stage design that amplifies that message.
Choose your technology. If you are going to be integrating technology into your stage design, regardless of whether you are utilizing multiscreen or not, you need to know what that is at the outset. So, if you are using say, environmental projection, you don’t want to add a bunch of massive scenic elements that block or interfere with that EP setup. However, if you want to highlight LED strip step, then you know you are going to need some type of physical set design to help frame the tape.
Sketching your Vision. I have worked a lot of events. I have seen some amazing ideas and vision that gets thrown out for one simple reason. It doesn’t fit. I mean, physically it won’t fit in the space. You can’t put a 24′ wide LED wall on an 18′ wide stage…physics. There are a ton of great drawing programs for both PC and Mac. Some are free and some have costs associated with them, but start with at least a 2D drawing of your space. Simply knowing how much square footage you have to work with will help you narrow down and focus your ideas within the confines of your space.
Prepare your Materials. There is a preparation step in cooking call mise en place which literally means to “set in place.” This is what chefs do to prepare for the actually cooking of their food. Rather than turning on the pan and chopping vegetables and measuring liquids as each step presents itself, they complete all the prep work and then set out to the task of cooking. If you are using a new technology, this is your opportunity to lay out the pieces and ensure you know how each piece connects. If you are building a physical set, this is when you gather your building materials and prepare your cuts and pieces you need. Make your trips to the hardware store and order what you need on Amazon to get everything together.
Build your Design. Now that you have your story, technology, vision, and drawing you can begin to actually create your next stage design. This is the fun part. This is where your planning effort should come to fruition…or where you will be incredibly frustrated. From experience, there’s really no in-between. This is the part of your stage design process that really shows how your preparation went. Did you accurately plan out your design? Does your drawing reflect the size of the space in relation to the size of your design?
Document your Process. Don’t miss out on this part of the process. Documenting the process as you walk from one step to the next, showcasing your finished product (both behind the scenes and during services) enable you to see the good and the bad and learn from your process. It’s also a great way to build a portfolio that you can recycle in the future. Big budgets won’t always be there, so having ideas to look back on, retool, and recycle can help stretch funds when times are lean.
There you have it, a great process to choose your next multiscreen stage design.