Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Columbia Community Church Adds Lighting Control with Furman – Pt 1

Show 160, Pt. 1

SVC Podcast – Show Notes – Show 160-1

In this edition of the SVC Podcast, SVC Contributing Editor Bennett Liles talks with Bill Burke of Ted Brown Music in Richland, Washington about the sound and lighting upgrades he guided for the Columbia Community Church. Assisted by Grant Howard, the church technical director, Bill installed Furman MP-20Q AC remote controlled AC outlets to allow operation of their LED lighting instruments from the front of house lighting control point.

 For Part 2

Links of interest:

Download Podcast Here:…

From Sound & Video Contractor Magazine, this is the SVC Podcast with Bill Burke of Ted Brown Music. Show notes and equipment links for the podcast are on the web site of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at

Columbia Community Church in Richland, Washington upgraded to LED lighting for the sanctuary but they needed better control on them so they called in Bill Burke with Ted Brown Music to work with church Tech Director Grant Howard on a solution. They installed Furman AC control modules and now it’s literally a turnkey operation. Bill Burke is here to tell us all about it. Coming up on the SVC Podcast.

Bill, I’m glad to have you with us on the SVC Podcast direct from Ted Brown Music in Richland, Washington and we’re going to be talking about lighting upgrades at Columbia Community Church in Richland. Great to have you here.

Well thanks for having us. Thanks for the opportunity.

What sort of place is Columbia Community Church? From what I’ve seen about it, the growth of this church has been absolutely phenomenal and they do have live music.

Yes, they have live music. They actually have four venues in the building. We’ve done work in all the venues, but the primary focus of this work was in the main sanctuary where they do contemporary Christian worship; very, very reasonably loud volume levels contemporary worship, lots of lights, lots of audio. Pretty rock and roll so to speak. [Timestamp: 1:32]

Okay, so I would think they pretty much go for a younger congregation but that’s not to say that the older members don’t like live music.

No. Actually the congregation is pretty diverse in this venue. They have an unplugged venue which is typically a little bit older crowd and then they have a café venue which is contemporary music kind of stripped down, a little bit mellower. But this venue you’ll have teens to retirees; just kind of a broad spectrum. [Timestamp: 1:59]

Well, that’s fine. It sounds as though the church is bringing the members together through the music.


And they had a problem to solve with lighting control? What was the lighting control problem they called your guys in to fix?

They’ve been doing a lot of upgrades as they’ve grown and they’ve gone to some LED fixtures, but they had no way to conveniently turn them off. Of course they could black them out, but the fixture is still powered on. And the only way they could actually turn the electricity off to them was going to the breaker panel and flipping the breakers. So they wanted to come up with a more convenient way to solve that problem as we were doing other upgrades in the room. The conversation started and we were able to come up with a pretty elegant, yet at the same time affordable and more importantly a rock solid option for them. [Timestamp: 2:51]

Okay, this situation had been coming along for a while because I think they actually converted to LED lighting some time back.

Yeah. They had some LED fixtures, a combination of Elation and Chauvet Pro using a Hog software based controller. And like I said just as they continued to grow got a little bit more knowledgeable. They realized it would be nice to be able to completely turn those fixtures off, and then just through conversations we were able to add some moving LED fixtures and some additional fixtures both Elation and Chauvet Pro to kind of update and upgrade as they go. [Timestamp: 3:32]

Well, that’s got to have a big emotional effect during a service when you can enhance it with lighting.

Yeah. The light, as you know, definitely helps the mood, helps create the desired effect that they’re going for. Since they do have multiple venues they can kind of create unique settings for each room and the staff there does a very good job using the tools they have. [Timestamp: 3:53]

And the central job this time was to install better LED lighting power control so you used I believe, the Furman MP-20Q’s?

Yeah. We used the mini ports, the MP-20Q’s, and the CN-20MP’s in a combination with some of their existing Furman products so that they can basically remote on/off all of the fixtures from a centralized location.

Okay and that works by either dry contact or low voltage line run down to where the lighting control is, I think.

Yeah. They have the key, if you will, the RS-1 from Furman key that controls the whole system at front of house and then control cable is extended to the various Furman units. So they turn the key and within 5-10 seconds all of the fixtures that are controlled are actually powered up. And then of course they take control with their Hog software and controller. [Timestamp: 4:48]

That combines some good things for volunteers. It’s simple, just a key switch, but also secure.

Yeah, and convenient. Before I mean they had to go to the breaker panel, go to the stage and go to front of house so now it’s all controlled at one location. It saves them steps. [Timestamp: 5:06]

Yeah, really! And when you’re working with volunteers on all the services, and you’re doing a live show there, simpler is always better.

Yes. Yes.

I saw some pictures of this stage on various online sources and it looked to me like they have one or more projectors mounted somewhere over the stage.

The space has three projectors. They are used. Typically the left and the right projector are the same content and the center projector is independent content, but they do at times actually run content on all three screens simultaneously – one large image. [Timestamp: 5:40]

Is that going to be IMAG or hymn lyrics, something like that?

Both. They have a camera in the sanctuary, but it’s typically lyrics or background photos, pictures. Anything from the typical pre-service announcements – I call them the commercials – to the actual content during service. [Timestamp: 5:58]

So you mapped out a time for access to keep out of the way and what did you do when you got in? You had to get the Furman power units close to where the lighting instruments are hung.

Yeah. Basically with the Furman units we replaced existing power receptacles and so I got a snorkel lift in above the stage and changed out all the receptacles above the space and then also ran the control wire to each outlet. The first thing we did, obviously, was scheduling and then we had to clear workspace, clear parts of the sanctuary to bring the lift in and then of course ensure that the power was down and change everything out, wire the contact control cables in and then test. And then we were able to hang the new fixtures and of course aim them with help from church staff to kind of get them roughed in where they wanted them. [Timestamp: 6:50]

And these are multi Furman units operating in parallel on low voltage lines?

The controls are, yes. The Furman units themselves actually is a receptacle basically replacing electrical outlets. But the control, the on/off of each receptacle, is controlled with control cable. [Timestamp: 7:09]

And they’re all just connected together, it’s all on and all off.

Yes. Yep.

It looks as though there was some real work and consideration into how they light this stage so is it very different working with the LED lighting since that’s been in there? I know it’s far less power draw but how about the lighting technique itself?

It’s considerably more efficient, obviously, with LED versus conventional but more importantly they have more options. They have a lot larger palette to deal with. It’s more efficient for them to have multiple scenes, obviously not dealing with conventionals and gels and that type of stuff. It gives them more of an opportunity to showcase different worship emotions, if you will. And obviously the color palette is such an increase in choices and the colors are so rich and so dynamic. [Timestamp: 7:58]

I know that some churches like to have one part of their service lit in one color theme and then change the theme for another part. Do they use the moving fixtures quite a lot? Why did they want those?

Primarily for worship right now. We have a couple of moving fixtures actually on the platform and then we have several moving fixtures basically located above the congregation. It’s really just for worship. During the actual sermon it’s pretty tame. [Timestamp: 8:25]

Yeah, I guess they wouldn’t want it to get to the point of being a distraction but the live music probably gives the lights a workout.

Yeah. Yeah.

Okay. In Part 2 we’ll get into some more on the DiGiCo mixer and more on the projection but I wanted to get the lighting in first. Thanks, Bill. It’s Bill Burke from Ted Brown Music and the Columbia Community Church in Richland, Washington and new power control for the LED lighting system, making things easier for the crew there.

Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

It was great to have you here with us for the SVC Podcast with Bill Burke. Show notes and equipment links are on the website of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at Next week Bill will tell us about the DiGiCo mixer, the stage monitoring and lighting for the big three projection screens at Columbia Community Church. That’s on the next SVC Podcast.

Featured Articles