When we were brainstorming for our Candlelight services this past year, we knew we wanted to try to create a starry-night effect for one of our service elements but were stuck on how to do it without using environmental projection. Our top priorities were to make sure the special elements we pulled off for this service were replicable across all of our campuses and in a way that wouldn’t break the bank. We came across this video of a room that used a projector on a group of disco balls to create the effect we wanted. And thus was born our idea of a very disco ball Christmas!
After buying Amazon Prime out of disco balls (but seriously. Amazon could be a proud sponsor of every event we plan), we went into trial and error mode to figure out how to make this work. We played around with the idea of putting them on a motor and spinning them, but we quickly realized that with the way our stage transitions were going to happen, that this would not be realistic time-wise. Another option we considered was hanging them from the ceiling, and that did work really well for some of our campuses. (The picture above demonstrates this so well!) But because of how some of our other auditoriums are structured, it didn’t necessarily give us the starry-night effect we were wanting.
In the end, we decided the best option would be to fasten them to a platform, testing out the different angles and then positioning our moving light sources to create the look we wanted.
Building the Platform
Take a 2x4’ caster bottom and cover it in plywood. (We repurposed an old caster bottom and then painted it and the plywood black so they’d blend into the stage).
Next, drill holes in the plywood, making sure they’re spaced out enough so that the disco balls can sit next to each other easily.
Use a bandsaw to cut some All Thread (⅜ diameter) into 6” and 12” rods. Place the All Thread through the holes that were drilled into the plywood and secure them with ⅜ nuts and washers.
Detach the hanging hook from the top of the disco ball and open up a small hole to insert the All Thread through. Once these holes are the correct size, place the disco balls over the All Thread. This should keep the disco balls pretty secure, but we added an extra measure of security by glueing them together, as well. Rolling disco balls would not be helpful to our dancers, ya know?
Arranging the Lighting
After a lot of trial and error, we ended up positioning the disco ball platform on center stage and using three placed beams of light hanging from the ceiling. Our grid system is approximately 20’ above the stage, so for our beam placement, we went out 10’ from the disco balls and hung a mover, which had approximately a 30 degree angle on it. We went out from each side of the disco balls approximately 12’. The disco balls reflected well with the beams above them.
We played with the lighting for a while to create more of a starry effect across our auditorium instead of the typical disco ball look. We got to see how our campuses pulled this element off, and each one looked stunning and reverent.