When the Cypress Lake United Methodist Church wanted to transform its main sanctuary into a modern environment for worship, while retaining its reputation for traditional services too, lighting designer Russell Byas turned to the discreet aesthetics offered by ADJ’s stylish ‘Pearl’ fixtures.

A church congregation knows it’s in safe hands when the pastor has a degree in lighting design! This was the case at the Cypress Lake United Methodist Church in Fort Myers, FL, where the church’s pastor and installer Russel Byas (Creative Sound Solutions) opted for a varied selection of ‘Pearl’ ADJ fixtures in order to bring pure lighting excitement to the main sanctuary.

Wanting to stay in budget while pleasing the experienced pastor – who used to program the lighting for Grand Funk Railroad – Russell found himself leaning towards ADJ’s range of cost-effective but flexible lighting solutions when it came to installing a brand new rig inside the church. Taking into consideration of the sanctuary’s white tiled ceiling, the decision was reached to use white fixtures in order to blend in with the décor and match the light aesthetics and relaxed, airy feel of the room. Luckily, Russell had ADJ’s range of Pearl products to fall back on, which feature the same game-changing technology housed in super-sleek white casing.

Before he could bring in the new, however, Russell needed to strip out the old and see what space he had left to work with: “Beforehand, we’ve actually done it in phases, adding lighting in phases. But when we totally did the first remodel they had some old fixtures hanging, it wasn’t even theatrical lighting, just some square panels,” said Russell. “The only thing they had [worth keeping] was two of the first generation Elation Design Spots, so we painted those white and kept them, adding the new lighting to this.”

This new lighting includes a wide range of fixtures, the most prominent being the Inno Spot Pro Pearl, which utilizes an 80W white LED source, eight colors (plus white), six rotating replaceable GOBOs (plus spot) and a manual zoom (12-17-degree) to produce powerful beams and unique GOBO patterns in striking white and an eclectic array of colors. Russell decided to use ten of these super-powerful moving heads, mounting them above the stage, splayed out, with four on each side behind the speakers, and one exposed fixture on each far side.

“We wanted to mount the Spot Pros horizontally but also still kind of hide them, as the church holds both contemporary and traditional services – they were big on not making it look like a rock show,” explained Russell. “The Spot Pros create stages washes but also shoot across the ceiling; we also used two on the sides above the stage.” Due to this smart layout, the hidden Spot Pros create a unique back-glow effect behind the speakers, helping to generate pure lighting excitement during contemporary services and an ambient atmosphere during prayer.

“When I designed it, I was going to put all ten Inno Spot Pro Pearls on the other side of the façade above the choir, so you could just see the heads sticking out, and they wanted to channel something similar to a Hillsong lighting show,” said Russell. “When they showed me their idea and when we went to hang them, the pastor suggested it wouldn’t work. So, we put our heads together and thought it would look so much cooler if we positioned them in a V-shape.”

Available in a ‘Pearl’ finish, Russell was delighted with how well the Inno Spot Pros blended in with the interior of Cypress Lake, remaining discreet to please traditional members of the church while still being capable of bringing wide par lighting and tighter moving beams when needed. However, no install would be complete without a challenge! Wanting to wash the stage with the plush effects of four Inno Color Beam Z7s, Russell decided to paint the fixtures white in order for them to match the rest of his sleek ‘Pearl’ rig. A minor setback, as they looked awesome mounted on the ceiling along with the Inno Spot Pros!

Thanks to their quick movement, motorized 10-60-degree zoom and high-output RGBW LEDs, Russell was able to use the Z7s both as concise spotlights and far-reaching wash effects, with two mounted either side of the stage to immerse the choir in distinct hues or focus on single speakers. Equipped with seven powerful 10W quad-color LEDs and flexible pan/tilt movement, the Z7s also allow Russell to produce a more energized lightshow when the church needs it, offering versatility in both movement and color creation.

Putting the cherry on top, Russell also brought into 12 Flat Par QA5 par units, mounting them above the choir and washing them beautifully in distinct hues that bring subtle lighting during traditional services and something a little more vibrant when the church embraces its contemporary side!

It wasn’t just ADJ lighting that was vital to Russell’s impressive transformation, however. He also incorporated a range of Elation products – including two Elation Design Spots and nine Elation Opti TRI Whites – allowing him to exciting additional layers to an already well-stocked lighting rig. In terms of control, the whole display inside Cypress Lake was operated via the Elation Opto Branch DMX splitter, which ensures the reliable and uninterrupted transfer of data across the entire lightshow.

Fitted with an impressive new lighting display that harnesses a range of ADJ and Elation effects, the venue now look awesome – especially with the house lights turned off, with just the ADJ fixtures pointed at the stage to illuminate the altar and draw the focus of the congregation during worship. The variation of beam and wash effects, as well as the array of vivid colors offered by the fixtures, creates a special atmosphere for prayer, with the purples, pinks, blues and oranges looking especially effective inside the darkened sanctuary. Clearly, Russell was pleased with the results, but what did the pastor think?

“He was really pleased,” Russell told us. “We gave him a lot of bang for the buck with the ADJ and Elation products we chose. What was especially appealing was being able to build a lighting rig for which all of the fixtures are white! Obviously, we had to paint a few, but having the new fixtures in Pearl was a really big help.”

One pleased pastor, one proud lighting designer, and one awesome all-white lightshow! It was incredible to see the transformation of Cypress Lake United Methodist Church come to life, not only thanks to Russell’s smart design and wise product choice, but also due to the adaptability, effectiveness and ‘Pearl’ white finish of our lighting effects!

Cypress Lake United Methodist Church (Fort Myers, FL)

Lighting Designer:
Russell Byas (Creative Sound Solutions)

Photography & Video:
Arnoldo Offermann

ADJ/Elation product list:
ADJ Inno Spot Pro Pearl (x10)
ADJ Inno Color Beam Z7 (x4)
ADJ Flat Par QA5 (x12)
Elation Design Spot (x2)
Elation Opti TRI White (x9)
Elation Opto Branch (DMX splitter)

Check out these ADJ products in action at Cypress Lake United Methodist: