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Upgrading Church to HD Video and Projection System, Part 1

Mar 4, 2010 3:24 PM, By Bennett Liles

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Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

The AV upgrade at Zion Lutheran Church in Albert Lee, Minn., was a huge job involving new cameras, projection, sound gear, and recording. They called on Graybow Communications Group for the installation, and John Gracyalny and Michael Benedetti are here to give us all the details on how the job went.

SVC: John and Michael, thanks for being with me on the House of Worship podcast. The Graybow Communications did this installation for the Zion Lutheran Church up in Albert Lee, Minn., and this looks like it was a pretty substantial thing with audio and videocameras. But before we get into that, John, what does Graybow Communications do and how long has the company been around?
John Gracyalny: Well, Graybow Communications Group was founded in1996, and really it’s our mission to provide products and services that allow companies to communicate their messages more effectively and more efficiently. We do that by using electronics and presentation and communication technologies. Hopefully these technologies help vendors and employees and customers connect more seamlessly. Really what we do at Graybow is we are committed to adding value by coordination, procurement, and just installation of business and companies in commercial sectored audiovisual equipment. [Timestamp: 1:52]

And when this installation came up, it was the church that wanted to do this, and they called you. And what was their object of doing this upgrade?
Gracyalny: Well, really we had a relationship with Pastor Joel from the church, they had bought, I believe, a projector in the past, and it got to the point where they wanted to install a projector and projection equipment technology into the main church area so that the congregation could view images better from the altar. Sometimes on the sides of the church it was a little bit hard to see that and then also see hymnal references, and just getting the community more involved with the mass that was being sent. So with that, they were doing a little bit of an internal remodel and they had called us to consult on some different technology options, and we started down our process and our process is really to ask the customer what they are looking to get out of technology and then we make a recommendations with what we call a budgetary scope of work. Really what it does is it identifies some potential recommendations that we could do to really enhance what you are looking to get out of audiovisual technology, so we started asking those questions. We went down a path of putting together this general scope of work and things just kind of evolved from there, and then the pastor said that he was really excited to work with us and then one idea led to another and we ended up a wonderful audiovisual installation here. [Timestamp: 3:29]

Yeah, Michael, I noticed that there were some PTZ cameras put in here. That seems to be a kind of a trend among some churches sort of getting into the video. Was this the Vaddio system that you put in?
Michael Benedetti: Yes it was. It was their newest, latest greatest stuff that they just debuted last year, their HD stuff, production view stuff, so the cameras that I opted for were HD-18s. They are high-definition cameras with full pan/tilt/zoom capabilities on them. [Timestamp: 3:59]

OK, and they were going to use those for the services and I guess whatever else they do there. What other events go on there?
Benedetti: Yeah, the idea behind it was to pretty much capture the entire sanctuary or be able to capture it and that would be anything from their regular worship services down to… They occasionally use their sanctuary for social events, children’s recitals; they’ve got Bible study sometime in there that they use the cameras for, and also the idea to be able to actually do stuff like weddings and that sort of thing and be able to project that on the screen. And that would be pretty tough to cover without having the remote capabilities on the cameras to focus in on different areas of the sanctuary. [Timestamp: 4:47]

Yeah, you were talking about the projection system, now do they use that for just graphics or do they do IMAG and all that the kind of fancy stuff?
Benedetti: Well, the main projection system in the sanctuary is used mainly for not so much IMAG—it’s not a terribly large church. I mean they do use it for IMAG to a certain extent, but a lot of what they use it for is for graphics—Sunday bulletin kind of stuff, upcoming events, the hymn lyrics, just general information coming out of what would normally be in the pew books they could now enlarge and put up on the screen so everybody could see it and doesn’t really need to follow along with the book; a lot of computer graphics kind of stuff from PowerPoint onto DVDs. They have inspirational DVDs that they show. They will have like a children’s night or something on a Friday night and show an inspirational DVD, and they do that right there in the sanctuary. [Timestamp: 5:50]

OK, and what kind of projectors are they using for that?
Benedetti: For the projectors in there, I chose the NEC NP4001s and outfitted those with the 10ZL zoom lenses. We opted for front projection on those; those are 4500-ANSI-lumens projectors. We tried desperately to put rear projection in there; that was the initial design. Due to the architectural constraints of that particular house of worship there, it was very difficult to get the projectors where they needed to go in order to successfully do rear projection, so about mid-way through the project we made the decision and we got together with the congregation and the pastor and made the decision to switch it to front projection, which actually worked out pretty well. [Timestamp: 6:44]

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