Joy Happens

Feb 9, 2016 // DESIGN, SET DESIGN

This post first appeared on

Paul’s letter to the Philippians; it’s full of contradiction. Paul is in prison yet is writing of joy, contentment, and gladness over and over again. For this set we wanted to have this contradiction play out on stage in a visual way.

The main contrast in this design comes from an order and chaos juxtaposition. We took more of the leftover 2x4s from our Credo set, painted them gray, and used them as our component element for the build. (These 2x4s will have a total of 28 weeks of use after this series wraps – a key feature of making our set design budget stretch further over the course of a year.)

For the full photo set click here.








The chaos in the center of the stage was a unique challenge to tackle. It needed to look organic and fragile, yet able to hold itself up without visible supports. One of our builders happened to have 4″ construction screws with him at the time which proved most helpful in solving this challenge.






Holt Venue


REO Town Venue


Westside Venue


The projection motif for this set is very vibrant and bold, a representation of Paul’s joy and a stark contrast to the struggles he’s going through. We have the text “Joy Happens” in bold letters on the back walls of all our venues as a constant reminder that in all of life’s circumstances, we ought to choose a life of joy.









Dec 19, 2015 // DESIGN, SET DESIGN

This post first appeared on

For the Christmas series at Riverview Church this year, we decided to go with a wintry/Christmasy set rather than literal set tying to the topics being taught.

We wanted to maintain the Christmas feel with this set while also pushing the visual concept of a Christmas tree. On the stage we have two variations of a geometric tree. The first is a freestanding tree made from two flat plains intersecting to give it dimensionality. The second is simply the outline of half a tree on the back wall.

From the Credo set we had many, many extra 2x4s backstage so we repurposed them as the bases for the freestanding trees. Each piece had a trough cut down the middle as well as a cutout for the second 2×4 for fit into. The wooden sheets then slid into each 2×4 and were stapled together along the seam.

For the full photo set click here.

Emmanuel Set Build 01

Emmanuel Set Build 07

Emmanuel Set Build 09

Emmanuel Set Build 13

Emmanuel Set Build 16

Emmanuel Set Build 18

Emmanuel Set Build 24

Emmanuel Set Build 26

Emmanuel Set Build 33

For variety on the stage we made three sizes of the trees. Each template was traced with a projector and then used as the pattern for cutting the rest. All-in-all we build seven large trees, five mediums, and 18 smalls.

The outline on the wall is made from sheets of plywood sliced into eight inch boards and stapled to the wall. It was hit with a soft yellow wash with the projection to highlight the wood grain in contrast to the background imagery.

Holt Venue

Emmanuel Set Build 35

Emmanuel Set Build 37

Emmanuel Set Build 38

MSU Venue

Emmanuel Set Build 39

REO Town Venue

Emmanuel Set Build 42

Westside Venue

Emmanuel Set Build 43

Emmanuel Set Build 46

Emmanuel Set Build 53

Emmanuel Set Build 57

Emmanuel Set Build 63

All My Tears

Nov 14, 2015 // PERFORMANCE, VIDEO

One of Riverview’s bands “Elisha & The Bears” released their debut EP this fall and we released this video to coincide with its release.


Shot using a static Canon 5D with a prime 28mm lens on the lead vocalist. A static Canon 7D with a prime 50mm lens on the secondary vocalist. A Canon T2i with a prim 50mm lens on a slider in the main room. A Canon 60D with a fixed 50mm on a shoulder mount in the main room.

Lit using one 200w soft box lighting the lead vocalist with an Arri 650 pointed at the ceiling in the main room and a second 200w soft box lighting the secondary vocalist. Available light supplemented the environmental lighting.

Audio provided by sound producer.

Recorded in multiple takes with the bulk of the footage pulled from the chosen studio track, supplemented by non-track takes.


Working off a studio track is amazing in that you have super clean audio, but it proves difficult when the track has been edited beyond the live take. To cover up some of the overdubs in this video I had to splice together available footage to create the illusion of being a fully live video.

Video assistance by Ryne Weber.
Audio recorded by Ryan Wert at Elm Street Studios.