Martin Lighting Helps Bring Little Rock First Baptist Church into 21st Century

November 24, 2011

Little Rock First Baptist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, is a tradition-rich congregation with an eye on the future. Built in 1972 and a foundation for the surrounding neighborhood for nearly 40 years, the 1200-capacity church recently sought a rejuvenating update of dynamic light and color.

Up-to-date vision
Worship pastor at Little Rock First Baptist is Jerry Wilson who recently joined the staff with a vision to bring the church up to date with lighting gear that would complement the history of the church yet provide the flexible resources of current technology.

Lighting designer Robert Dicken of Full Focus Inc., lighting vendor on the project, worked closely with Wilson on the lighting renovation. “This was kind of a sensitive install because the church has basically looked the same since 1972,” Dicken explains. “They were concerned that the congregation would be opposed to seeing a new lighting system in the sanctuary so we kept the lighting locations and final look first and foremost in our minds. Jerry was impressed with the Martin line and had asked us to see if we could design the system with Martin products.”

Two lighting locations
It was decided to place the Martin lights at only two positions, upstage and front of house, and use motors and truss since the space has a 65’ trim height. This would also allow them to easily bring the system down for maintenance when needed.

Dicken explains, “We took the hard copy blueprints from 1972 and put them into design software. Once the room was in 3D we started putting different Martin fixtures in to show the client what it would look like with different products and locations. Once a design was decided upon, we ordered the gear and actually had to have new steel put in the building to support the two new locations. Once the gear arrived it was a pretty simple install with hanging the fixtures on the trusses, running power and data, etc.”

Flexible MAC rig
Eight MAC 700 Profiles™ and four MAC 700 Washes™ were placed on the FOH truss with a further four MAC 700 Profiles™ located upstage. Working with the 700 Profiles on the upstage truss are MAC 301 Washes™, which Dicken calls a good combination. MAC 350 Entours™ are used for floor fixtures and are set up with wireless DMX so they can be moved around as needed, depending on what production or event is being worked on.

“The zoom function on all the fixtures plays a huge role in this particular install with such a high trim height,” says Dicken, “It gives us the ability to go from, for example, a podium tight spot to covering the entire stage when they have a choir or full production. We also love using the Martin gear due to the low maintenance.”

Lighting control is from a Martin M1™ lighting console. Teaching Pastor Jonathan Curtis is currently in charge of the new lighting system and has received training provided by Full Focus Inc. on the new M1 desk. “He has picked it up very quickly and is having fun learning more about the capabilities of his new system,” Dicken says.

Full Focus Inc. (Conway, Arkansas) supplied all the lighting gear to the venue and handled the install, completed in June, from start to finish.

“Rob and his team at Full Focus are experts in every respect of the term,” Curtis says of the full service rental house. “Full Focus gave us an incredible bid, incredible product, and backed it up with incredible service. From install to training, Full Focus brings the power and emotion of lighting into our worship center! We were looking to bring the 21st Century into our worship services. Rob and his team have given us the tools to lead our congregation in worship in a whole new way.”

Martin Equipment:
12 x MAC 700 Profile™
4 x MAC 700 Wash™
4 x MAC 350 Entour™
4 x MAC 301 Wash™
1 x Martin M1™