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A view of the church's new lighting fixtures. Photo courtesy of Altman Lighting.

Lighting Distributor Techni-Lux Oversees Complete Sanctuary Renovation

For Calvary Orlando, a complete lighting and dimming renovation provides a new worship experience.

With a rich history of providing a genuine worship experience to families across the greater Orlando, Fla. area, Calvary Orlando recently set off in a new direction. Operating in a facility that was becoming increasingly challenged by an outdated production design, the church made the decision to renovate its entire worship environment with the desire to better illuminate the sanctuary as part of a complete lighting and dimming upgrade.

“Calvary Orlando is the second largest church in the Orlando area, and it is also used as a special event and live concert facility,” describes Tony Hansen, the Techni-Lux head lighting designer and project specialist who oversaw the project. “We have worked with them for a number of years, and this is a project that has really been in need for some time. The lighting system dated back to its original construction, and it was very antiquated. Additionally, they were having consistent issues with the dimming system, and it was becoming difficult to maintain.”

As Calvary Orlando began the sanctuary renovation process, new lighting fixtures were not originally part of plan, but soon became a design possibility. They wanted to maintain the aesthetics of the facility while still upgrading the lighting experience. Chalice LED downlights from Altman Lighting were chosen because they could be dropped in place without a lot of modification, Hansen explains, considering there were more than 450 house fixtures as high as 65 feet off the ground that needed to be replaced. It also gave the church various lighting options to choose from – level of dimming, color of the LED lights, lens or reflector choices, and range of downlights with different mounting choices. 

They hired both Kevin White of Toolman Electric and Kirk O’Connor of CYA Productions, who would be challenged to complete the project in under one week. With a plan in place for multiple teams to work side-by-side, the luminaires were lifted high into the catwalk, and the transformation was underway. 

The catwalk structure of the church allowed several teams to be able to move around simultaneously, and it also made it easy to replace fixtures by walking right up to them, swapping them out, and running new data cabling. Two different models of the chalice lighting – the 70W and the 150W – were used.

Now ready to establish the control system for the house lighting, the team implemented a design with both a theatrical lighting console and architectural wall stations. With the outdated dimming system removed, the newly installed luminaires could also be wired for public safety modes, allowing the house lights to go into panic mode if needed. Hansen adds that the entire control system also got upgraded with individual DMX control of the house lights for matrixing, movement, and light isolation by way of a theatrical console and wall stations.

With the design, programming and commissioning services complete, Hansen and the rest of the team were excited to show off the venue. Hansen opted for a quick but effective demonstration of the new lighting.

“When we first showed them the new lighting design using the control on the wall stations, we had the house lights at about 70%, and they were commenting how bright it was and how great it looked,” Hansen says. “We then bumped them up to 100% and people were blown away by the light quality in the room.”

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